Zoya Akhtar knocks it out of the park with her second film. This fresh and full-of-life movie has breathed new zindagi into Hindi cinema much like Dil Chahta Hai did back in 2001. This delicious adventure takes place in Spain and was beautifully filmed in additional locations such as Egypt and India.
The film takes us along on an extended road trip- cum bachelor party with three old friends from school. Kabir (Abhay Deol), an all-around great guy who has just become engaged to Natasha (Kalki Koechlin) the daughter of a rich hotelier, Imraan (Farhan Akhtar), a free-spirited guy who is best friends with his inner child and always has a smooth line for the ladies, and Arjun (Hrithik Roshan), a work-a-holic financial trader who values money and success over all else--who had to be convinced to miss work and go on the trip as promised.
The three friends eventually make it to the starting point in Barcelona, Spain and set off on their journey. They know their route on the map, but none know exactly how the trip will change their lives. Mystery awaits at each destination, as they have all agreed to choose one adventure sport and the others have no idea what the other has chosen. The condition of the pact; no one is allowed to back out, no matter what. Fear has no seat on this road trip.
The film is carried by it's brilliant comedic timing and wonderfully delivered dialogue, particularly in the banter between the three friends. The audience, young and old, was in absolute splits. Much of the witty dialogue was given to Farhan's character, and he did not disappoint. As a member of the audience, I truly felt as though I had been invited along for the ride.
But the film is not all one-liners and the playful execution of college-inspired pranks on unsuspecting Spanish citizens; it teaches the importance of letting go of fear, reservations, personal pain, loss, and above all; to learn to live outside of your comfort zone and truly savor each moment. And of course what Hindi film would be complete without a love story or two? Katrina Kaif plays Laila, a fashion student from London who takes time off every year to be a diving instructor. Laila catches both Imraan's and Arjun's eye, but she has eyes for only one and through her free spirited love for life, she shows him how to be truly free.
The lessons learned about life and living for each of the characters are embedded in and around the adventure sports themselves. A cathartic emotional moment came about for Arjun after the scuba diving trip. The guys then learn to let go and truly fly during a skydiving adventure, and then finally make the choice to always live life with no regrets while running for their lives in Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls Festival.
An extra juicy treat comes when they decide to paint the day red during an improptu trip to the La Tomatina festival in Buñol.
The film would not have the had same appeal without the wonderful soundtrack and background score by Shankar Ehsaan Loy and the lyrics/poems beautifully penned by Javed Akhtar. I was reminded once again of the power of a perfectly suited background score when I was brought to the verge of tears during scenes that would have taken a completely different emotional tone had the score been more upbeat. I love how something so seamlessly integrated into a film can evoke such strong emotions.
Life imitated art for Ehsaan Noorani, one of the music composers for the film. After some encouraging conversations in the recording studio between he and Farhan Akhtar regarding the exhilarating experience of skydiving, Ehsaan decided to give it a go on his recent trip to the United States.
You can view the complete video of his ZNMD inspired skydiving adventure here.
ZNMD is a great entertainer and has been showing to packed houses both in India and abroad. It's definitely worth a watch. Who knows, it may not change your life but it will certainly make you laugh, feel good, and walk out of the theatre wondering; "Am I living my life to the fullest?"
Visit the ZNMD official website here.
Visit the ZNMD Facebook page.
Buy the ZNMD soundtrack at Amazon.
ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Production: Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani, Sunitha Ram
Screenplay: Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar
Cast: Katrina Kaif, Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin
Soundtrack and background score: Shankar Ehsaan Loy