Review: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Dir.: Zoya Akhtar; Cast: Abhay Deol, Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar et al.)

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara  is a heartwarming movie from Zoya Akhtar around a road trip of self-discovery of three friends.

After Kabir (Abhay Deol) proposes to his fiancee Natasha (Kalki Koechlin), he goes off to Spain for a long-planned road trip with his long-time friends Imran (Farhan Akhtar) and Arjun (Hrithik Roshan). The road trip which was planned as a series of adventure sports, one chosen by each friend unknown to the others spanning across Spanish cities soon turns into a remarkable trip for each of the three individuals as they confront their inner demons, past ghosts and misunderstood issues in their lives. Zoya Akhtar does nicely, not allowing the moments of self-discovery turn the film into an extended sermon and self-help book and also not letting the fun and frolic seep into the quieter moments. This treatment of duality of life is handled deftly, making the film a pleasing, smooth and thoroughly enjoyable watch. The only plaint I have is that she could have chosen to take a few critical junctures in the story head-on instead of sidestepping those with a hint of what is going to happen.

Farhan’s Imran grows on you. A closet poet who is also a copywriter by day, Imran is also a man masking in his constant jokes and pranks a deep pain he is nursing

(Spoliers) Imran’s first phone call to his biological father was merely glossed over. Having grown to like the character deeply by then, one wished to actually feel and watch him as he took the bold step he had been previously avoiding. To be fair to Zoya, she did not shy away in some of the other instances like Arjun’s moment of epiphany after the underwater dive (/Spoilers).

It is a difficult task to develop and endear two characters in a single film, leave alone three. However, aided by its long running time, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara does manage to do justice to all the three leading characters considerably well. Abhay Deol plays the foil to the other two to perfection, glimmering away quietly whenever the spotlight is on him. Hrithik, in an instance of pitch-perfect casting, impresses with his bravado-veiled vulnerability. Farhan’s Imran grows on you. A closet poet who is also a copywriter by day, Imran is also a man masking in his constant jokes and pranks a deep pain he is nursing. And a bonus is listening to Javed Akhtar’s poetry in Farhan’s voice. Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin are just fine in their bit roles. The magic of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is in the chemistry and camaraderie of the three buddies – and that’s what it deserves to be watched for.

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