Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

July 15, 2011

Singin’ in (the) Spain!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:31 pm

July 15, 2011

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif, Kalki Koechlin

Director: Zoya Akhtar

There’s a moment in Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara when Arjun, the character played by Hrithik Roshan, sits on a boat with tears in his eyes. It becomes clear that in a strange way, Arjun has been set free by a deep-sea diving experience.  The realization hits him that life is beautiful but you can only savour it when you live it by your own rules, not by what is expected of you.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara takes the light-hearted tone of a fun, all-boys road trip through Spain to give you a deep and heartfelt message on why we should live life by seizing the moment and following our hearts. Director Zoya Akhtar, who proved with her wonderful debut Luck By Chance that she has a perceptive eye for relationships and an assured storytelling style, uses the same tools to tell a new story.

Three lifelong friends in their thirties decide to take the three-week road trip they always planned when Kabir (played by Abhay Deol) gets engaged to Natasha (played by Kalki Koechlin). Kabir is the binding force between his polar-opposite friends: the free-spirited advertising copywriter Imran (played by Farhan Akhtar), and the uptight Arjun, strait-jacketed by his career. To add excitement, the only rule on this road trip is that all three friends must try out an adventure sport chosen by each of them.

Boys will be boys and this film catches that note beautifully. You can be in your thirties, but a few minutes with your childhood friends takes you right back to being a teenager, playing the same old pranks, and imitating your college professor’s weird accent. You have to love the natural way in which a simmering undercurrent between Arjun and Imran erupts over a silly, childish fight and how they scuffle about as if they were in a schoolyard. Arjun is aggravated by Imran’s annoying, not-serious-for-a-moment attitude, but underneath his flip manner, Imran is struggling with a secret of his own. The adventure gets complicated with love when diving instructor Laila (played by Katrina Kaif) enters the equation – she’s a young Paulo Coelho in her own sexy way, showing Arjun how to appreciate life’s simple pleasures. A jealous, possessive Natasha also stirs up the pot when she lands up unannounced on the group. She’s the worst kind of gatecrasher – a fianceé on a bachelor trip.

There are several scenes in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara that make you want to pack your bags and gather your pals (Dil Chahta Hai, anyone?) Each adventure sport is shot so thrillingly that you feel alive and in-the-moment, even though you’re actually watching it all sitting in a dark theatre. Watch that hair-raising skydiving scene – it’s such an unusual salute to friendship. A real tone is maintained through the dialogues written by Farhan Akhtar; they have that a casual slice-of-life flavor, and the jokes here are genuinely funny.

What makes Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara that much more enjoyable are the performances. Katrina Kaif is content to play off the three male leads, yet she brings a charming, lovely touch to her role. Kalki Koechlin, playing what is essentially a caricature, keeps her character grounded in the real; so while you may not particularly like her in the end, you can see why she acts that way.

The three male stars have that believable vibe of a long friendship. Abhay Deol brings an effortless, comfortable energy to Kabir, while Farhan Akhtar is a revelation. He’s so goofy that you burst out laughing several times, yet he shows vulnerability just as easily. Hrithik Roshan once again brings real depth to his character with a spectacular performance. He’s shy and restrained, then lets go with such fantastic intensity that you make the inward journey with his character.

But a quibble I have with this film is that it takes too long to reach its destination and gets sidetracked by a couple of sentimental detours. It lingers too long in certain scenarios, and this sucks some of the fun out of the ride. Yet, I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. It proves that Zoya Akhtar has a unique, compelling voice and unlike many of her contemporaries, she actually respects that a cinema audience can be both intelligent and mature.

Make sure you take this trip!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. It’s really a movie of a lifetime & first time any Indian director have done it.The movie is little bit stretched but those people will not complain who can connect themselves with the movie.It’s is not for those who are expecting super drama & comedy..it is a real “life” movie….Connect yourself with the movie & rekindle your life’s lost time & rediscover “”yourself””.

    Comment by S Banerjee — July 15, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

  2. WoOowWwWW….wat a film ZNMD is…!!!
    if nothing else, this sure out to be the freshest movie of the year, r even years.
    Proven actors, prove it yet again…!!
    SimplY, aweSomE..!

    Comment by Mitt — July 15, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

  3. Hats off!!
    What an honest review. Loved it.

    Comment by dipen — July 15, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

  4. Zoya Akthar’s last film was released during 26/11. And now 13/7! very sad

    Comment by Pragna — July 15, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

  5. weel raja sen begs to differ wit u my frnd…

    Comment by lazybull — July 15, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

  6. Saw the movie today and totally loved it… Your review is bang on, to the dot!!

    Comment by aarti — July 15, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

  7. Thankzzz for the review. Was waiting for it desperately. Three and a half star by you means a must watch for every hindi movie buff. \m/

    Comment by Anshuman — July 16, 2011 @ 12:05 am

  8. Masand, you’re awesome. Most of the retards don’t simply get it, and dismiss such a beautiful film as boring. No wonder why they seldom make such movies anymore.

    Oh by the way, did I say you’re awesome? 🙂

    Comment by Kafkapot — July 16, 2011 @ 12:11 am

  9. seems like a lot of dil chahta kinda story into it. will be worth watching this one 🙂

    Comment by Amresh — July 16, 2011 @ 12:38 am

  10. seems like wild hogs…

    Comment by YackAss — July 16, 2011 @ 12:49 am

  11. Loved the movie 😀

    Comment by shreya — July 16, 2011 @ 1:22 am

  12. loved the movie…its poetic…its magic…best movie of year for me

    Comment by abhay gobade — July 16, 2011 @ 2:10 am

  13. Not like the standard of Dil chahta hai but A very good one.
    1st Half= 95 comedy + 5 drama
    2nd half= 95 drama + 5 comedy
    A very Enjoyable Ride

    *Lip-Lock is very good

    Comment by priyabrata — July 16, 2011 @ 2:29 am

  14. OMG!!! Rajeev has given 3.5, I need to go for this….

    Comment by Jagan Ashish — July 16, 2011 @ 6:28 am

  15. sir was this review paid for?

    Comment by rohit chauhan — July 16, 2011 @ 8:42 am

  16. Guess one has to go to Spain or some other foreign destination to find ‘oneself’!!! Will there be a big budget bollywood film completely shot in India??

    Comment by Ranjith — July 16, 2011 @ 8:43 am

  17. oh one of the finest movies of dis yr…………fun and at d same time sensible…….farhan is d show stealer…………

    Comment by praveen — July 16, 2011 @ 10:05 am

  18. Gosh..this really smacks of a ‘Paid’ review..First time Rajeev has really let us down..”Jokes are really funny”..Dude, What were you drinking both prior & during the movie.

    Comment by ritwam — July 16, 2011 @ 10:25 am

  19. 3.5 points for this no bland Movie directed by Ompa. Lompa brained director !! Total waste of time & money. Avoid this tamatar movie that surely will turn your brains into a Ketchup.

    Comment by Asif — July 16, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  20. Surely will take the trip 2day only….was waiting badly for ur review 2 come….will hv watchd this flick newys..but aftr ur lipsmacking review double excited 2 watch it!!!

    Comment by Subhra — July 16, 2011 @ 10:53 am

  21. One time watch movie.. a lil bit boring.. can’t compare with DCH/3Idiots..

    Comment by abhay — July 16, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  22. AWESOME movie!…the ppl who are accusing masand of being ‘paid’ or say that the movie lacked flavour, this is not the place for you..go watch dabbang or any other dumbass rohit shetty’s stupid life-sucking films.

    Comment by vishwanath math — July 16, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  23. U give 3.5 for this and 3 for Tare Zameen Par :S… Its highly confusing , which points you consider to give the star ratings. Also 2.5 hrs on a guide to the places in Spain is not people are looking for. It might have been fun for the actors and production team, but very much boring for the audience.

    Comment by ayyappan — July 16, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  24. Well ZNMD is an awesome movie… the best of 2011 so far n I bet it will remain so till the end of the year.
    I feel, Rajeev, whatever flaw you found out in the movie, has been found just for the sake of saying something negative about the film, just like a true “critic”….

    Comment by Abid — July 16, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  25. I’ve observed that many of Farahan’s movies are about finding yourself. Take Luck by chance, Rock on, DCH and Lakshya. All were inspirational in some way.

    Comment by kamaksh — July 16, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

  26. i dont like the film znmd,because it’s a too big film and people bored .some points in the film are good but overall
    it is boring . It could be better if it makes small film like delhi belly.

    Comment by azhar — July 16, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

  27. I completely agree with you … it was like watching LIFE !!! some moments really made me mesmerized and i could recall the little adventurous trips which i had with friends … i like the movie ( yes i agree too that it got stretched at times , and yours is the same experience which i had, i told the same to my friends ! ). After a long time, we got such a lovely movie which really keeps us abode with the Indian cinema , as to expect such movies out of our cinema world is like hoping for rains in Rajasthan .

    Comment by neetu — July 16, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

  28. i only wait for you and mayank shekhar’s opinion to come,but both of you have fooled me many times.first no one killed jessica, then delhi belly, but not this time.enough.

    Comment by ankush — July 16, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

  29. bang on….ZNMD an awesome movie….ur reviews are best …always…respect 4 u masand sir…..

    Comment by Sahil — July 17, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

  30. Zindagi Na meligi doobara: is a good movie but it was not so good as the media hyped about multi starrer budgeted movie. Farhan Akhtar acting was too good which shadowed Hrithik acting… This movie is a story about the best frnds road trip to Spain… Over all movie was good but felt it was long to keep audience entertain and bit boring some places… My rating is 2.5/5 for the movie 🙂 Not must watch movie though :((

    Comment by Neeladri — July 18, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

  31. Dil Chahta Hai did it earlier and now ZNMD betters it, only this time the look is more urban, more cooler and picturesque. Its for the wonderful script and a terrific screenplay that makes this one stand out taller than any other in the las…t decade. Be it for Farhan’s best performance till date or Hrithik’s terrific emotional scenes, be it the cinematography which makes you wonder why cant Indian films be shot like this, ZNMD is class apart. Zoya Akhtar comes back strongly in her second attempt not to forget her first was good too. Beautiful lyrics, a soothing soundtrack and camaredie between the 3 male leads makes your inner strike and to a large extent makes an impact too.
    Very few movies have gone this way but out of even those only a couple of four may have succeded. An earnest attempt and it works magic, move over masala flicks because a dose like this serves more cinematic and entertaining value.
    5/5 for the best movie of the year and even for a long time to come…..dont miss and a multi talented Farhan Akhtar is the show stealer here, even overshadows Hrithik.

    Comment by RAJAT NARAIN — July 18, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

  32. loved the movie. i had tears in my eyes when the three friends go sky diving. i’ll never forget how it made me feel.

    Comment by amit nagpal — July 18, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

  33. There are some movies where u really want to either write to the director and actors OR meet them personally and tell them how this movie moved you and how much you loved it.. ZNMD is one such movie..
    I really want to appreciate Zoya Akhtar and her entire team. I had a smile through the entire 3hrs 🙂 Amazing movie, amazing acting.. super!

    Comment by Revati — July 19, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  34. First thing first..this is the best Bromance in bollywood’s history.Actually,it was not a movie,it was a 2hours 40minutes poem on celluloid.Its so natural n so touching that i got goosebumps when the three friends hugged each other after the sky diving..and those who r criticising that d movie was boring n waste of time,dudes this movie is out of your league,there r movies like Ready that are being tailor made for u people,watch them..

    Comment by Ashish — July 20, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  35. Fabulous movie and very well reviewed.

    Comment by Jay Jani — July 21, 2011 @ 1:12 am

  36. yes it is………………..a movie of a life time……..for each n every person to watch it……………it simply hv the meaning of life to live …………. ZINDGI SACH ME NA MILEGI DOBARA………….

    Comment by vikash — July 21, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  37. Anks Movie Review: “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” (3.5/5) – Well any movie which is made around theme of friendship, it is delight to watch and same is established by ZNMD. Three friends goes for a bachelor trip and all three had their own issues which got resolved by their togetherness. It was indeed a great journey show.. funny, real and quite a good storyline where everyone can connect to characters shown. The only shortcoming of this movie… it looked bit stretched.. otherwise a good movie to watch. This movie ignite the feelings to get started with a lovely holidays with friends.

    Comment by Ankesh — July 21, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  38. U always publish your comments on saturday , which is too late , be professional and work on time.
    if u give ur reviews on Saturday than there is no use of the same.

    call me every Friday i will give feedback of movies u need not to see the movies


    Comment by rajesh — July 22, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

  39. the movie is unique in its own way…u need not to compare it with any trip or frenship movie…it deals about life,how ppl r and how one change can be brought about!naseeruddin shah was impeccable in his 5 min role,and respect farhan akhtar!!!u r the total stud of hindi movies,true son of ur father,n ur sis proved well it too!!

    Comment by abhishek ranjan — July 23, 2011 @ 1:55 am

  40. it is probably the best movie i have seen in years…still cant get over it…the direction, poetry, music, acting, was amazing. i cant even recall when was the last time i saw an indian movie as good as this ..rang de basanti probably. DCH pales in comparison

    Comment by umair shirazi — July 23, 2011 @ 3:23 am

  41. excel entertainment excels with zindagi na milegi dobara….a fun movie with some brilliant performances..unlike most of the movies of excel entertainment(d.c.h, lakkhya and l.b.c being an exception) which pops up and evaporates this one surely pops up and resonate..an enchantingly optimistic film….two thumbs up for akhtar siblings…..

    Comment by manish tiwari. — July 23, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  42. Loved it…Zoya is one of the most talented filmmakers we have…great work…and btw i couldn’t agree with the review more….

    Comment by sajin — July 24, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

  43. Honest review as usual.
    Zindagi na milegi dobara is an unpretentious movie, reflects the purity of heartfelt emotions, friendship and revelation.
    Atleast audiences got some moments to wait and think that, yes, our lives are beautiful and beautiful are the people who are with us.

    Comment by Salila — July 25, 2011 @ 11:57 am

  44. The director Zoya Akhtar promised a lot by debut film Luck By Chance
    Hope not previous movie was hit on Box Office by “Luck By Chance”
    Direction : Good and unique, long way to go
    Acting: Abhay Deol Farah Akhtar are good in their character
    Hritik Roshan’s talent totally wasted here
    kalki koechlin really cute, promising actor
    Karina Kaif totally waste not only in this movie but in acting profession..why the heck she is learning acting
    on producers money
    Cinematography: EXCELLENT
    Rating: 3/5

    Comment by Kiran — July 25, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

  45. I think, katarina’s talk to hrithik is one of the most influencial scenes. She asks him, that how could he know, how long he’s gonna live, while he’s planning to work hard till his 40 & gonna retire then. She just opens his eyes( & eventually ours)
    The poetry that Imraan recites (penned by Javed Akhtar) is one’s talk with his own inner sense.
    The adventures, the picturesque locations makes one to talk with himself honestly.

    I m extremely impressed with Zoya’s & Farhan’s creation.

    Comment by Dharmesh — July 28, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  46. Brilliant!! Brilliant! best film ever made on indian celluloid…Already saw it twice n wanna go again in 4th week. Aisi film na milegi dobara.ZNMD rocks…Hrithik is d actor best of this Universe.

    Comment by sudipta — July 30, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  47. watch n feel….

    Comment by ankit — July 31, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  48. Thank you Zoya Akhtar for not jumping into the bandwagon to make a mindless movie comprised of gravity-defying actions and over-the-top slapstick comedies just for the sake of making a blockbuster.

    The movie starts with Kabir (Abhay Deol) getting all set to be married with Natasha (Kalki Koechlin). Then, Kabir, along with his school-buddies Arjun (Hrithik) and Farhan (Imran) set off for a trip (after some hiccups), where they all would participate in adventure sports of choice of each one of them. The trip gradually portrays various aspects of each of the character. Along with the adventure sports, all of which are greatly shown, the humor is very subtle and nice.

    Performance of the lead actors is engaging. Farhan Akhtar as Imran is the more lovable one, with most of the funny one-liners, than his friends. He manages to pull off an entertaining performance. Abhay Deol, as always, is very good as the leader of the pack. He portrayed his dilemma regarding his marriage in a very convincing manner. Hrithik’s character has more dark shades than the others, and it was his brilliance that made the character’s transformation look enthralling.
    Amongst the ladies, Kalki is great as the overbearing and possessive fiancee. Katrina looks and also acts well whenever she plays a NRI character. Much like herself.

    The movie’s cinematography is excellent and the music along with the songs and poetry are a treat to ears.

    Comment by Suvo Pyne — July 31, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

  49. loved the movie……….. amazing

    Comment by manjushree — August 1, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

  50. Awesome movie.. dont miss it..

    Comment by vipin — August 6, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress