‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, Does Not Live up to Expectations

A risky road adventure:

One last bachelor bash, three best friends and a road trip they will never forget. We’ve seen it before, but these best friends, Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol, the “three musketeers made a pact. Each of them gets to choose one sporting adventure during the course of this trip, in which all of them must participate together.
So when “Hangover” meets “Dil Chahata Hai” in Zoya Akhtar’s “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,” released in July 2011, it makes for a risky road adventure. The movie is set in Spain, which is a beautiful backdrop for the story which unfolds behind scenic landscapes, which often involve the usual song and dance. But you can’t complain when you have Shankar Ehsaaan Loy’s music and Hrihik’s moves.

Arjun, (Hrithik Roshan) for the most part is the suave financial broker in London who makes the big bucks but often forgets how to have fun. He’s always on his laptop or phone, skyping with Japanese clients (in fluent Japanese) and scheduling conference calls. He’s your typical workaholic.

Imran, (Farhan Akhtar) is the fun-loving artsy guy who writes ads for a living but lives of having fun and can hardly take anything very seriously, much to the annoyance of the uptight Arjun, till we learn that there is some unresolved tension between these two from the past.

This often puts Kabir (Abhay Deol) the one getting married, in a difficult spot as he is caught in the middle and faced with the challenging task of trying to pacify the tension. But you love him because he’s the sweet and sometimes helpless one, hopelessly in love and for the most part pretty sensible.

A day at sea changes all:

The first half of the movie is filled with light hearted humour where we slowly see each character unravel. Imran, who narrates the story through the Javed Akhtar’s lyrical poetry, which sometimes gets a little too sentimental, but you’re always in splits when Imran’s around. His witty sense of humour is charming. And his smile is adorable.

As the road trip kicks off in Spain, the three conveniently bump into Laila (Katrina Kaif) the half-Indian N.R.I. based in London who speaks Hindi, and this time her affected accent is perfectly suited for her part, but the bigger coincidence is that Laila is a professional deep-sea diver. No prizes for guessing the first sports that the boys choose.

What you may imagine to be a simple day at sea however, turns into a complex soul-searching experience for Arjun — or a day of finding your his soulmate, because the scene is really some flirtatious moments underwater. But this is the turning point in Arjun’s life, as well as for the movie. Enter the phase of character metamorphoses.

This is when it becomes a little predictable. Arjun begins to wonder whether he should spend all his time chasing money and rather find “real” happiness. Spending a day with Laila in a wetsuit probably did it. This is supposed to be one of those “Zindagi na milegi doobara,” moments.

Great acting, average story:

It’s not the acting which is the problem. In fact each of the musketeers- even Abhay Deol who doesn’t appear on screen too often, plays his part pretty well. As for Hrithik and Farhan, apart from great acting you also get to see them shirtless.

It’s the storyline that ends up being disappointing. And frankly you just expect more from Zoya Akhtar after Luck by Chance, which had an original story line and was a great piece of work overall.

Arjun’s epiphany thanks to Laila, the free-spirited diver who after all her convincing him to “seize the day” and enjoy each moment is the one who ends up jumping on a bike to follow him after he departs the next day to embrace him in an all-too-dramatic goodbye kiss.

And you’re left questioning: why was that dramatic outburst was necessary? Maybe nothing in Bollywood can be a one-night stand. Even if it’s message is live for the moment.

Too much emotion, too little time:

Sadly, what starts out as a simple fun-filled journey of the lives of three best friends turns into a complex myriad of family troubles, relationship issues and other problems that continue to emerge along the way.

Conflicts that are not allowed to develop enough in the first half of the movie, can’t help but seem contrived as they all seem to unravel and solve themselves too fast at at a point when you’re expecting loose ends to tie up.

So if you’re going in for a laid-back and light-hearted few hours of comedy, you’re a bit overwhelmed by too much emotional baggage that emerges in too little time. And if this was meant to show that the bonds of friendship ultimately withstand the hardships and struggles of life, you’re just not convinced. Unfortunately the movie does not live up to expectations.

Saanya Gulati