Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara

After a long time, Bollywood has seen fit to produce a movie based on that much-neglected theme: male bonding. No, not the Dostana style bonding but the Dil Chahta Hai style. I can’t recall the last movie I saw based on this theme. Even Dil Chahta Hai, great though it was, had to resort to the boy-meets-girl motif for the better part of the movie. Rock On comes to mind but personally, I really hated that movie. I could neither empathize nor sympathize with those moping 30 year olds.

Before watching it, I had no idea what Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara was about nor did I know who was in the movie. Based purely on a couple of positive recommendations and the better half’s insistence, I booked the tickets. Like they say, paisa wasool bheedu!

I don’t want to describe the plot in detail; just know that it is the quintessential road trip movie and by the time the trip ends, the three protagonists have overcome their differences, cemented their friendship, found love and discovered new beginnings. The movie is paced well with plenty of laughs along the way. None of the jokes seem forced and as befits the theme, emotions are kept on a tight leash. Incidentally, this is something that I hate in the typical Shahrukh movie: he bloody well has to cry! It is said that for every tear that he sheds in a film, the box office receipts go up by a crore.

The performances by the three men are great and really hold the film together. Katrina gets her usual back story of ‘mixed parentage’ to justify her accent. Come to think of it, none of the main women in the movie can speak Hindi fluently!

Zoya Akhtar is clearly very good at what she does; this definitely does not feel like just the second movie that she’s directed. Technically too, the film is very well produced with excellent cinematography, sound, editing, etc. The only way to improve on it would be to add some transformer bots. Kidding!

The music is a weak point for the film. I couldn’t recall any tune after I left the theatre. Movies that stay with us for ages typically have great hummable music. Not so in this case.

I found one minor irritant in the movie, viz. the product placements. No, I am not talking about the long, long advertisement for Spain which, IMHO, the Spanish tourism ministry will be quite pleased with over the coming years. I am talking about product placements which break any sense of realism. For instance, a Royal Enfield shows up in some small Spanish town. That, I can just about digest. But catching a Vodafone India signal in the middle of Spain is taking us into the realm of science fiction!

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie and it brought back great memories of trips taken with friends. I would rate is a solid 4/5.