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  1. #1
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    Dec 2009

    Default Review: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is fresh

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    There are about thirty plots in drama, what's new are the characters who act differently. This is what Howard Hawks once remarked. Characterising them as master plots, Javed Akhtar [ Images ], in the book Talking Films, scales it down to ten from thirty, emphasising the need for fresh treatment.
    That's precisely what second-time director Zoya Akhtar does with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. She puts together a familiar plot, with recurring themes of friendship, love, coming-of-age and travel as its mainstay, but her invigorating characters pump in fresh energy into a film that could have been strictly mediocre.

    It's the characters and their constant conversations, jabbering oftentimes, that elevate Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara to a higher rank. Looking inward, Zoya and Farhan as the dialogue-writer, borrow liberally from their own life and those around them. When a film or any story for that matter is rooted in true experience, it succeeds in transmitting the feeling easily to another person because in the end, our experiences are the same, we are raised like everyone else with friends to count on, our tiffs are the same and we love no differently.

    Zoya and Farhan's biggest achievement with this film, in all honesty, is that they stay true to what they have often expressed, of how important friends are to them and how their friendships fulfilled the need for other significant relationships a man must have.

    Their primary characters, Kabir, Imran, Arjun, Natasha and Laila, are the people you are or may have seen or may have hung out with. School friends, Kabir (Abhay Deol ), Imran (Farhan Akhtar ) and Arjun (Hrithik Roshan ) had made a pact to try out an adventure sport of their choice when they meet next. With Kabir getting married to Natasha (Kalki Koechlin ), they take off for Spain in the belief that you are blessed with life only once and there won't be another time.

    During the journey, their outer shells are peeled off and their true lives are revealed to one another. Emerging stronger from the experience, they are prepared to live their lives moment by moment, taking pleasure in what they have than bother over what they don't.

    The story doesn't examine their lives in detail, so we are not privy to much information except for maybe Imran's lifelong dream to meet his biological father. Kabir's mom and dad are the standard stereotypes of affluent parents while Arjun mentions his dad passed away quite early. Which is why, he argues with Laila (Katrina Kaif ), he thinks of money as his greatest joy.

    In a life-altering moment, Laila prods him to ask himself if this is what gives him happiness and whether he's missing out on the joys life has in store for him. For Imran, a similar epiphany strikes when his father, throwing his paint-dripped hands up in the air, refuses to accept him. For Kabir, it's whether he's getting married too early -- more importantly, is Natasha the girl he really loves?

    Zoya keeps it straight, as far as the dilemmas of her characters are concerned. But as I point out, the conversations come along easily; they act as fill-in-the-blanks, even as an instrument of smokescreens at junctures where the story appears weak.

    The conversations are laced with real humour, it has a mock-you sense of fun without being derogatory or slight. When they mimic their teacher, hum the Doordarshan tune in drunken abandon or peform the Diamond biscuit parody, they aren't acting -- just going along, being themselves as friends usually do.

    The dialogue are gentle, they won't make you ROFL; they are more like tender dig in the ribs. The real triumph is that the characters are real and life-like.

    If you shut your eyes for a moment, you might see your own self in Kabir, Imran or Laila.
    ...being a human...

  2. #2
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    Dec 2009


    The promising Zoya Akhtar turns this wise dictum on its head and suggests that one only live for one's dreams, and not for anything else.

    Therefore, in the painfully vacuous tourism advert Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, characters are encouraged to forsake reality for adventure. Easier typed than done, that, but the characters in Zoya's film are wealthy enough to not care about the banalities of real life and real relationships, preferring instead to seek succor while on holiday, while the filmmakers try desperately hard to retread genuine greatness achieved in a classic film 10 years ago.

    One basic fact: everyone in Dil Chahta Hai could whack a line of dialogue out of the park. Here, on the other hand, we have Hrithik Roshan , Farhan Akhtar , Katrina Kaif, Abhay Deol and Kalki Koechlin . A fascinating cast of eclectic youngbloods, to be sure, but so marred is each of them -- by either accent or voice -- that the first 20 minutes of the film are spent wincing. Do real people speak like that? Do we sound that painful? No, dear reader, we don't. And the sooner you stop equating the characters of this film with real people the better.

    The boys are men pretending to be boys pretending to be men. The result is a group of actors being embarrassingly juvenile while trying to deal with just how badly miscast they all are. Farhan, at his best scowling, gruff or just intensely stoic, is here the funnyman of the bunch, a disastrous decision as anyone who has had the misfortune of sitting through his standup comedy on television will agree. Here too, he is unfunny, almost patently so. Here too, he laughs at his own jokes the loudest. Ouch.

    Abhay, playing an effete square only around to be warmly amused by the other two, does the straight-man routine in a way that makes that term sound oxymoronic.

    Roshan, an undeniably good looking man who shone scene-stealingly in Zoya's last film, here narrows his mouth as if preparing to resuscitate a dying goldfish and speaks nonchalantly about how much money matters.

    The pretty Kalki's given an impossibly shrewy character but she's awesome enough to rock a singalong moment in a car, and there's only that much blame we can assign to a character when her father is Suhel Seth. There, there.

    Katrina just looks bored and, it must be said, unhot. Which seems like a feat in itself. Maybe it's intentional. Maybe Zoya wants to show us that there's more to Kat than her increasingly smoldering looks, but when we see Katrina Kaif on a beach in a movie where the backdrop matters more than anything else, we want her to stun. She doesn't. And those fake shots of her riding a bike are executed with hilarious amateurishness. Still, there is something luminous about the girl.

    That's why this feels like such a waste. It's a good cast of talented actors, but as each of their directors would tell you, they're a mostly limited bunch. Hrithik and Kalki are histrionically strong enough to manage varied roles, but with the entire cast thrown out of their comfort zone and forced to either sink or swim, well, glub glub glub it is. Sigh.

    Hindi cinema finally seems to have gotten camaraderie right. Pyaar Ka Punchnama, Shaitan, Delhi Belly: none of them quite scratches the surface of greatness but each gives us bonafide bonding between its leads. This one, starring the man who wrote and made Dil Chahta Hai, a film under the shadow of whose coolth we've grown as filmmakers and viewers, tries so hard it never feels warm or real or relatable. These guys wouldn't go anywhere for a piece of cake, they'd just go. And that defeats the purpose entirely.

    The threadbare story is about a bachelor trip in Spain, gorgeously shot by cinematographer Carlos Catalan. Everything happens with template predictability but -- me being the one person on the planet who enjoyed Hangover 2 -- I'm okay with that as long as the gags or the guys are real. They aren't. They're contrived and too desperately young and -- while I didn't want to say this for a second-time filmmaker with immense potential -- sophomoric. I'm sorry, but you'll have to do more than throw in the word 'the' a few extra times and put some sunglasses on a handbag. ZNMD doesn't earn our laughs.

    So fixated is the film on trying to appear 'cool', even 'minty-fresh,' that the emotional connects all seem like afterthoughts. Especially the flashback each boy has, and their subsequent, convenient epiphany. It's all so surfacial and unnecessary, even when well-performed, like the moment between Naseeruddin Shah [ Images ] and Farhan, when the latter is finally allowed to drop the forced grin and cry like he does best.

    At a point in the film, a point where the Top Gun theme ought have been licensed, the speakers suddenly and inexplicably play out Saare Jahan Se Achcha. This makes absolutely no sense, on any level ironic, comedic, obvious or subversive.

    Maybe what Zoya really meant by the title is her attempt to cram absolutely everything into a movie in the case that she never gets to make another one.

    Breathe, Zoya. And do remember what Mr Bond said about never saying never again.

    ...being a human...

  3. #3
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    Dec 2009

    Default 'Zindagi Na...' is light-hearted

    Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif, Kalki Koechlin
    Director: Zoya Akhtar
    There's a moment in Zoya Akhtar's 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' when Arjun, the character played by Hrithik Roshan, sits on a boat with tears in his eyes. It becomes clear that in a strange way, Arjun has been set free by a deep-sea diving experience. The realisation hits him that life is beautiful but you can only savour it when you live it by your own rules, not by what is expected of you.

    Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' takes the light-hearted tone of a fun, all-boys road trip through Spain to give you a deep and heartfelt message on why we should live life by seizing the moment and following our hearts. Director Zoya Akhtar, who proved with her wonderful debut 'Luck By Chance' that she has a perceptive eye for relationships and an assured storytelling style, uses the same tools to tell a new story.
    Three lifelong friends in their thirties decide to take the three-week road trip they always planned when Kabir (played by Abhay Deol) gets engaged to Natasha (played by Kalki Koechlin). Kabir is the binding force between his polar-opposite friends: the free-spirited advertising copywriter Imran (played by Farhan Akhtar), and the uptight Arjun, strait-jacketed by his career. To add excitement, the only rule on this road trip is that all three friends must try out an adventure sport chosen by each of them.
    Boys will be boys and this film catches that note beautifully. You can be in your thirties, but a few minutes with your childhood friends takes you right back to being a teenager, playing the same old pranks, and imitating your college professor's weird accent. You have to love the natural way in which a simmering undercurrent between Arjun and Imran erupts over a silly, childish fight and how they scuffle about as if they were in a schoolyard. Arjun is aggravated by Imran's annoying, not-serious-for-a-moment attitude, but underneath his flip manner, Imran is struggling with a secret of his own. The adventure gets complicated with love when diving instructor Laila (played by Katrina Kaif) enters the equation - she's a young Paulo Coelho in her own sexy way, showing Arjun how to appreciate life's simple pleasures. A jealous, possessive Natasha also stirs up the pot when she lands up unannounced on the group. She's the worst kind of gatecrasher - a fiancee on a bachelor trip.
    There are several scenes in 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' that make you want to pack your bags and gather your pals. Each adventure sport is shot so thrillingly that you feel alive and in-the-moment, even though you're actually watching it all sitting in a dark theatre. Watch that hair-raising skydiving scene - it's such an unusual salute to friendship. A real tone is maintained through the dialogues written by Farhan Akhtar; they have that a casual slice-of-life flavor, and the jokes here are genuinely funny.
    What makes 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' that much more enjoyable are the performances. Katrina Kaif is content to play off the three male leads, yet she brings a charming, lovely touch to her role. Kalki Koechlin, playing what is essentially a caricature, keeps her character grounded in the real; so while you may not particularly like her in the end, you can see why she acts that way.
    The three male stars have that believable vibe of a long friendship. Abhay Deol brings an effortless, comfortable energy to Kabir, while Farhan Akhtar is a revelation. He's so goofy that you burst out laughing several times, yet he shows vulnerability just as easily. Hrithik Roshan once again brings real depth to his character with a spectacular performance. He's shy and restrained, then lets go with such fantastic intensity that you make the inward journey with his character.
    But a quibble I have with this film is that it takes too long to reach its destination and gets sidetracked by a couple of sentimental detours. It lingers too long in certain scenarios, and this sucks some of the fun out of the ride. Yet, I'm going with three-and-a-half out of five for 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara'. It proves that Zoya Akhtar has a unique, compelling voice and unlike many of her contemporaries, she actually respects that a cinema audience can be both intelligent and mature.
    Make sure you take this trip!

    Rating: 3.5 / 5

    ...being a human...

  4. #4
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    Dec 2009


    Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Cast and Crew:

    Cast:Hrithik Roshan,Farhan Akhtar,Abhay Deol,Katrina Kaif,Kalki Koechlin,Ariadna Cabrol

    Director : Zoya Akhtar

    Producer: Ritesh Sidhwani,Farhan Akhtar

    Music Director: Shankar Ehsaan Loy

    Lyrics: Javed Akhtar

    Geners: Drama

    Release Date: 15 July 2011(India)

    Language: Hindi

    Rating: 3.5/5

    Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Trailer

    Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Review

    Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a multi-starrer movie,which includes 3 young men take a holiday that changes their lives forever. Kabir (Abhay Deol) has just met Natasha. 6 months later they are engaged.

    He wants to go on an extended bachelor party. A 3 week road trip with Imraan (Farhan Akhtar) and Arjun (Hrithik Roshan)- his 2 best friends since school. The only problem is Arjun is too tied up with work. After much emotional blackmail and cajoling the boys set off on a journey they were meant to take 4 years ago.

    A fantasy holiday they had planned to take after college but never happened. A road trip where each one gets to do the ultimate sport of his choice and the other 2 just have to do it with him. Whether they want to or not!

    Kabir Imraan and Arjun meet up in Barcelona and set off on an adventure that will not only make them iron out their differences but also face their fears, alter their perception, unravel their fabric, force them to break out of the box and teach them to seize the day.

    In other words a holiday that will change their lives forever.
    ...being a human...



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