"Jo apni aankhon mein hairaniyaan lekar chal rahe ho, toh zinda ho tum...
Dilon mein tum apni betaabiyaan lekar chal rahe ho, toh zinda ho tum..."
Rarely does the Hindi film industry make a movie that dares to challenge the societal norms woven to live a life. But 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' was an exception to every rule set by Bollywood. For instance, the movie taught its audience to "be alive to each and every moment", and that too, without getting preachy.
Picture this -- three school buddies, a road trip to Spain, three adventure sports, and a lifetime of memories and lessons. ZNMD appealed to its audience in a way no other movie has till now. Everyone has a favourite song, shayari and scene from ZNMD -- that alone speaks of Zoya Akhtar's genius as a filmmaker.
The core concept of the film fused into the sprawling beaches of Spain -- encouraging one to live the short-lived beauty called life. ZNMD taught us to firstly accept our fears, and then outwit them; and to let go of the stuff that hurts because if we pay close attention it really does not matter. You live only once. And that's all to it.
The cathartic experience of ZNMD was enhanced by its stellar cast -- the brooding Arjun (Hrithik Roshan), the effervescent Laila (Katrina Kaif), the layered Imran (Farhan Akhtar), and the confused Kabir (Abhay Deol).
As the film moves towards its climactic sequence, in one scene Arjun and Laila take a stroll along the bylanes of Bunyol, and talk about their lives. Their palpable chemistry translates into one of the high-points of the film. They lay under the stars and converse about life.
"Jeena toh koi tumse seekhey. Main toh jaise eik dibbe mein band hoon," Hrithik's Arjun tells Laila. She then holds his hand and says, "Insaan ko dibbe mein tab band hona chahiye jab woh marr chuka ho." [A person should cage himself in a box only when he is dead].
Of the main characters, Arjun was shown with the most number of layers, and the most number of complexes -- precisely, notions that were holding him back.
Arjun had always wanted to earn a lot of money, costing him a loving relationship. He held a grudge against one of his best friends who bed a girl he was in love with. He was a lost soul, and in search of some respite. And yeah, he was fatally charming, attracting Laila's attention as soon as they met.
Laila made Arjun meet the older version of himself -- the one that truly loved what he did.
"Dude...tumhein kaise pata ki tum 40 tak zinda rahogey? Seize the day, my friend. Pehle iss din ko poori tarah se jiyo; phir 40 ke baare mein sochna..."
Arjun needed a Laila in his life to make him realise what he had been missing all this while. And who better than Hrithik Roshan to play the part!?
His eyes did all the talking, when he was with Laila. And even when he was with Farhan's Imran.
"Sorry tab bolna jab yahaan se nikley," Arjun, in one scene, says to Imran, pointing towards his heart.
Imran does not realise the gravity of the statement when Arjun says it. But feels it only when his biological father shrugs off acountability when asked why he left him and his mother.
It was then when Imran realises the depth of the hurt a human can cause another. It was then when Imran's apology comes from his heart, and Arjun takes no time in forgiving his best friend.
Farhan Akhtar's Imran brought the zingy humour ZNMD needed to not swing into a preachy mode. His antics with a high-range handbag were the highlight.
"Laila, meet Bagwati.. Bagwati.. Laila.. Bagwati keh rahi hai ki tum bahot beautiful ho," Imran says, as he introduces Laila to the handbag decorated with a pair of sunglasses. Bagwati, for the unversed, is a spin on the Indian name 'Bhagwati'.
This conversation happens when the three buddies leave for the Tomatina Festival in Bunyol with Laila, and Imraan tries to initiate a funny conversation with her, to tease Arjun.
"Shaam bhi thhi dhuaan dhuaan, husn bhi thha udaas udaas... Dil ko kaii kahaaniyaan yaad si aakar rah gayi," Imran mouths few lines of Firaaq's poem to impress Laila.
The naturally felt performance by Farhan took the narrative notches higher. He wasn't this funny when he was alone. He had a back-story, a supposed betrayal by his mother, and an assumed loss of identity. He faked up a smile for most part of the movie, and his insecurities only came to the fore in an intimate moment with Laila's friend Nuria.
What Farhan also brought to the table was his dialogues that had the perfect mix of fun and a pertinent message.
"Kya tum mentally challenged ho, my bwoy?"
Farhan, once in an interview, said he had actually appropriated the style of his actual Hindi teacher from his school.
Even Abhay Deol's Kabir wasn't devoid of layers. His 'mistaken' fiancee was sucking the life out of him, and he was going along with the wedding plans because he could not break her heart.
His fiancee, played by Kalki Koechlin, was everything a modern-day woman should not be. And how difficult would it have been for Kalki to play a role that was so unlike her!
The closing sequence of ZNMD summarised what Zoya Akhtar had meant to convey through the entire narrative.
The three buddies are standing at the altar of a sport called 'running with the bulls'. Banned in many countries, the sport stood the chance of getting the three young men killed. Or so they thought.
Arjun decides to go on a vacation with Laila, if he remaines alive; Imran to publish his book of poetry; and Kabir to call off his marriage.
But what if they were dead? They would have never got the chance to live a life of their dreams. Why do we always wait for tomorrow, for living another day? Why not today?
When the three gentlemen realise they cannot be killed by those bulls, and that they will have to adhere to their promises, they keep running. And smiling.
Zoya Akhtar's job was done.
Zindagi na milegi dobara....so live your life now.
The film also is interspersed with verses written by Javed Akhtar, and voiced by Farhan.
"Ek baat hoton tak hai jo aayee nahin,
Bass aankhon se hai jhaankti,
Tumse kabhi, mujhse kabhi,
Kuchh lafz hain woh maangti,
Jinko pehankar hoton tak aa jaaye woh…"
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's award-winning score to the lines penned by Javed Akhtar infused into the film the much needed flavour of romance and adventure.
On Hrithik Roshan and Kalki Koechlin's birthday, a day after Farhan Akhtar's, India TV Recommends 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' for the sheer beauty of Spain, for Zoya Akhtar's genius, and for everything life stands for.
Zindagi -- truly -- na milegi dobara....but can we get a sequel to the movie please? ZNMD, dobara?