Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Maggi Noodle Review: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

At first glance it would appear that ZNMD is an updated version of Dil Chahta Hai. After all it does have a Farhan Akhtar connection. I went in with the same impression but came out with a different one.

ZNMD has a superficial resemblance to DCH in that it features 3 friends, a road trip, and a woman at the heart of it. But it is different in that the entire movie is a road trip, the woman at the heart of the movie is not Katrina Kaif, and the resolution is not quite what you'd expect. I will not say more except that the writers play fair and do not cheat you with the ending.

The movie, set in Spain, features three friends who made a pact to go on a road trip where each one picks one dangerous adventure activity for all three to perform. The activity is kept secret from not only the audience but also the other friends, too, until it is time to do it. Of course, at the very beginning of the movie, the characters plan their route on a map of Spain and as they point out the cities they'll visit, the final destination gives away the last feat they have to perform. No sweat. By the time the characters meander their way to the final destination, the three friends have each had a moment of epiphany, frolicked with a romantic partner (at least two of them do), and learnt more about each other than they did in the 20 odd years they had been friends prior to that.

The movie is filmed magnificently, with the landscapes and backdrops captured in breath-taking splendor. Not surprisingly, there is a strong tie-in with the Spain's department of tourism. Apart from being a well-crafted movie, this is also a 2.5 hour long documentary displaying reasons to visit Spain. Almost every Hindi movie I watch seems to be about 30 minutes too long. However, for no discernible reason, I thought this movie's length was exactly right. The pace is unhurried, the camaraderie between the friends (meeting together after a long time with some unresolved history between them) progresses slowly from guarded friendship to open hostility to calmness and resolution of past issues. The conversations between the friends are of the type that you'd expect between folks who have known each other a long time and do not appear forced. I wouldn't be surprised if Hrithik, Abhay, and Farhan are great friends off the screen, too. Or they are great actors. Methinks it is a little bit of both.

I was reminded of numerous road trips I have taken with good friends and for that reason alone, I came out of the theatre with a smile on my face. ZNMD does not ascend to lofty heights but it does not disappoint either. See it on the big screen if you can.

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