Mayank Shekhar’s magazine: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a male “bromance” that makes the law. Her challenges probably have more to do with overcoming her personal fears or phobias, if you will. Mayank Shekhar writes.
“Hello, it’s me,” says the voice on the phone. You immediately know that only a typical girlfriend, in this case Kabir’s (Abhay Deol) girlfriend, could call herself this pretentious “I”. The only “I” I know is “me”.
For Kabir, it is the girl (Kalki) he is currently engaged to. He is attending a bachelor party. Before he gets married in a few months. She is not sure. Like all brides (why, even the married ones) end up becoming: in possession, as the disadvantage of any kind of love. She gets on a plane and accompanies her fiancé’s friends to their bachelor party through an amazing Spain, boldly photographed (Carlos Catalán) and intensely picturesque. What a disappointment, isn’t it? Yes, but this female intrusion is brief. The fiancée leaves early enough.
The three men, best friends, move on. They have a bet to keep, an old promise to fulfill. Namely, three scary waterfalls, each of which offers to perform together on vacation. “Together till death do us part”? Well, well, well, well. More or less. The film is a tough male “bromance”. But always comic, rather than melodramatic or cheesy. Their challenges probably have more to do with overcoming their personal fears or phobias, if you will.
Of the other two friends, one (Hrithik Roshan) is, as the film says, a “slave” to the company (always loyal to his work), or a “whore” (who only works for money). A beautiful girl (Katrina Kaif) whom he befriends during the journey discovers a wonderful world beyond which he risks missing out. He wants to amass all the wealth and retire at 40 (the ultimate urban mirage). “What if you didn’t live to be 40?” the girl asks him. It’s true.
The other friend (Farhan Akhtar) is an occult poet and daytime editor, a “creative type”, so to speak. He is in his thirties, like his best friends. Between these “three musketeers” is a film that immediately reminds us of the leading actor’s impressive directorial debut. Comparisons, even allusions to a possible sequel, are inevitable.
It has been exactly ten years since the fall of 2001, when Farhan’s “Dil Chahta Hai”, which changed the game for Hindi cinema, introduced us to the rich, carefree and well-groomed man of the Indian metropolitan multiplex. The film also coincided with ten years of open economy which saw, among other things, the Indian cinema audience divided into “classes” (metropolitan, mall-rat) and “masses” (scruffy, single-screen). Dil Shahta Hai was, in journalistic language, as debatable as these terms may be, a film for the “classes”. Probably.