Monday, July 25, 2011

Life, Zindagi And More

Call it male bonding, love and relationships in modern times, friendship or romance, Zoya Akhtar's latest offering 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' (ZNMD) is a film that has all this and more. It is a mainstream film made for the masses, but it manages to strike a chord with the viewers in its own sweet and refreshing way. These days, when the lifespan of a film is very short, it is hard to catch the attention of viewers, let alone make an impression on them. We seem to have forgotten that a normal, commercial film can be meaningful, what with the bevy of inane movies being released every week. ZNMD differs from them in many ways. It is not rollickingly funny, but it has its funny moments. It does not portray stark reality in an unflattering way, but it mirrors contemporary urban Indians very plausibly. It is not preachy, but it gets its message across in a light-hearted manner. In short, Zoya Akhtar has achieved a fine balance. Her film holds you with a firm grip and takes you along on a trip literally and metaphorically. While the literal bit takes place through scenic locales of Spain, the metaphorical journey takes you through the emotional worlds of its characters.

And what an array of wonderful characters brought to life on screen by the talented cast! 'Restraint' seems to be the keyword in making this film. Nothing is larger than life here. The situations and the characters are picked from the upper class urban reality around us. There is no crime, no abusive language, no melodrama, no cheap thrills and no vulgarity. ZNMD has shown that it is possible to make an entertaining film without these staples that usually go into the making of a masala movie. Even Katrina Kaif's appeal is used with a lot of economy, elevating her to the status of an actress than that of a mere glamour doll.

It is Katrina who gets to dispense the premier message of the film: live for the moment, live today as if there is no tomorrow. And she does it not through hollow words, but with her acts. She lives her message while portraying the persona of a free-spirited young woman. And that is why it is so easy for Hrithik Roshan to not only accept it, but to adapt himself to live according to her philosophy. But it is not Hrithik's story alone. The stories of Abhay Deol and Farhan Akhtar are interwoven nicely, making it a homogeneous, free-flowing narrative.

ZNMD has reduced the gulf between small budget, arty, serious cinema and big budget, commercial cinema considerably. Kudos to the Akhtar siblings for presenting a neat package to discerning audiences. A well-written script, good storytelling, superior performances and technical mastery have gone hand in hand to make the film a success. Of course there are some flaws, but they are not major and can be ignored. Moreover, this is not meant to be a review of the film. Umpteen reviews have appeared in the newspapers, magazines and on the net. These are just my impressions of the movie and what I liked about it.

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