Movie Review – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

ZNMD is what happens when Hangover meets The Bucket List meets Dil Chahta Hai. But doesn’t turn out as excellent as either of the three.

But that does not mean it is any less enjoyable than the other three.

The title of the movie is a giveaway of what the storyline would be like. It is about the ‘bromance’ between 3 guys who set out on a trip to Spain to do the things they always wanted to do and to basically live their life.

Abhay Deol (Kabir) is running away from an accidental proposal, Hrithik Roshan (Arjun) is running away from a heart-break & Farhan Akhtar (Imraan) is running away from his mother in search of his lost father. Kabir convinces his 2 friends to accompany him on a road trip in Spain for his Bachelors. A hangover anyone?!

We meet two extremes in the cases of Arjun & Imraan, one being extremely focused, serious and career oriented and the other absolutely non-serious & callous about life in general. The gap between the two is bridged by the average Kabir.

The movie happens due to a pact made by the trio in college to go to a place and indulge in 3 adventure sports of each one’s choice and the other two would have to comply. As they set out on the trip we realize the awkwardness between the three since they meet after quite a long time but our ‘bwaaays’ slowly get into the groove of road trippin’ with silly pranks interspersed along the way.

When they reach for the 1st adventure sport (Deep Sea Diving), they meet Katrina (Laila) who is a fashion student in London but takes holidays to teach deep sea diving to people. Predictably the 2 bachelors, Arjun & Imraan fall for her with Imraan taking a more humorous route to impress her. But the leading lady falls for Bollywod’s very own Greek God and another female is brought in for our dear bwaaay Imraan.

Laila is a fun-loving, live-in-the-moment kinda girl and her bindaas attitude rubs off on the guys, especially Arjun. She teaches them to seize the day and live life to its fullest since tomorrow might be too late to do so.

The 2nd adventure challenge is to skydive. Imraan’s expressions and body language before sky-diving actually capture the emotions one would feel before taking the plunge. But this portion of the movie has been dealt with rather poorly. For the training part, the trainer along with our actors, is trying too hard to be comical which doesn’t feel natural. Also one can easily make out the fact that they aren’t actually skydiving. And the scene is stretched a bit too much.

Everything’s hunky dory in the first half but things take a little serious turn post interval with Imraan trying to find his real father which is rather tedious. But the way the whole situation is handled in the movie is quite different as opposed to other potboilers. You would expect an emotional drama to ensue after the father-son duo meet. But Naseeruddin Shah who plays Imraan’s real father is quite unapologetic about his decision to live life on his own terms. The movie has shown that parents too have their own needs and desires and every parent doesn’t give up everything for the child.

The 3rd and the last adventure sport is Bull-Riding which is shown in a very non-serious manner. It is a very dangerous sport but it is handled very lightly. But it drives home the message that to live life fully, you need to overcome your fears, the biggest one being the fear of death.

The dialogues of the movie are written by Farhaan Akhtar and have a very normal, day-to-day feel to them. The songs suit the feel of the movie though a few songs like senorita appear out of nowhere (the editing could’ve been better). And the poems that Imraan recites in between are nothing short of brilliance. Javed Akhtar truly has created magic with words.

And whatever happened to that ‘steamy kiss’ between the lead pair. The kiss was anything but steamy. It was sincere yes, but calling it steamy was totally a promotion gimmick.

But however the movie, however the dialogues and however the songs; the thing that truly and exceptionally stands out during the whole 3 hours, is the beauty of Spain. Every single person who saw the movie was totally sold on how beautiful Spain actually is. If I had to plan a holiday right now I would undoubtedly choose the exotic country.

ZNMD is a decent summer flick which can be watched on a nice free afternoon.


  • IMDB Rating – 8.3/10
  • Zoya Akhtar wanted to cast ‘Imran Khan’ and Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role but both declined in favor of acting together in their home production.
  • Katrina Kaif‘s introduction scene on the beach was shot on a nude beach. The production crew had to continually request people to move out of the frame.
  • The La Tomatina festival shown in the movie was re-created in Bunol, Valencia, Spain with almost 16 tons of tomatoes specially flown in from Portugal.
  • Zoya Akhtar wanted to shoot the film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara in Mexico and explore that country as she had never been there, but after the final script, she found Spain to be a better location since the European aesthetics in Spain worked better for a road movie.
  • The actors shot for the entire week with only one day off. That day, Zoya Akhtar and her production team would plan for the next week’s shoot while the actors would sleep the day owing to the laid back attitude the local people would have on a holiday.
  • Zoya Akhtar had an adventurous time and whenever she would have the time, she would dive into the emerald waters and go snorkelling.
  • Katrina Kaif plays a diving instructor in the film and she had to take diving lessons. She took a short diving course on the wild coast of Costa Brava and took to the waters pretty well.
  • The boys would cycle to the sets in Barcelona while shooting for the film and they loved it, because they can’t do it in Mumbai.
  • Abhay Deol had learnt Spanish for his character in the film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and naturally ended up acting as a translator. Whenever the team would go out, Abhay used to help people out with the translation and he became a hit with the ladies.
  • Some of the wine-induced merriment stemmed from the World Cup excitement. Spain won, and the football crazy country gave over into uninhibited and high-spirited celebrations. The film crew of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was lucky to be a part of this celebration. In fact Ritesh Sidhwani, the producer, threw a party on the beach of Valencia to celebrate Spain winning the world cup. The cast and crew tore down the screens, played volleyball, danced and partied till wee hours.

3 thoughts on “Movie Review – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

  1. I didn’t mean who would do better justice to the role, its just that – hritik being the “star”- Farhan must have had to throw sth good on the table (a kiss for example) to get that role 😀

  2. Lol…I don’t agree that Hrithik suited Farhan’s role better…He would’ve have over-acted had he tried to act goofy…and as far as kissing Katrina is concerned i’m sure any guy would’ve loved to be in his shoes 😛

    And yeah i got the suggestion for less revelation from a few people but actually in my earlier posts people asked me to reveal the story more…guess i overdid it 😛 will keep your suggestion in mind for future posts…thanks 🙂

  3. started reading it when I read the words…”when Hangover meet……DCH”, thought, what the hell, but then it says “not as excellent” (and rightly so)

    good movie but I always had this doubt that Hritik and Farhan exchanged places (Hritik bartered his role for that Katrina kiss :D)

    one suggestion…u reveal everything about the movie, maybe avoid that in parts

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