Movie Review – Kahaani (2012)

Year of Release: 2012

*ing: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Verdict: 3/5

When the biggest star of 2011 asks you to go watch a movie, you don’t question, you just do. That’s the effect Vidya Balan has on people these days. But in Bollywood you are only as good as your last movie, so let’s check out where does Kahaani leave her on the star-o-meter.

The film opens with a sequence where a toxic gas that’s released ends up killing people in a Kolkata Metro train. Wait, did you come to the right screening? Well your ruminations are put to rest when right in the next scene (which is 2 years later in the movie) a heavily pregnant Vidya (or Bidya as they would say in Kolkata) emerges from the Kolkata International Airport only to get hassled by the taxi guys haggling over getting her to take their taxi. The subtle yet powerful acting by Vidya in this small scene gets you glued already.

So Vidya has flown all the way from London to find her missing husband – Arnab Bagchi. Armed with her suitcase & a 2 kg. belly she heads to the police station to get an FIR filed. Thus begins her journey, through the sultry by-lanes of Kolkata, to find her missing husband. Spurned by the Police, she finds support & empathy in a rather naive but idealistic cop Rana (Parambrata Chattopadhyay). With very little information and not much help she sets out on a task that is a rather difficult one. During this expedition we get embroiled in government politics, secret agencies, underground network, contract killing; with each scene and link providing bits and pieces of information so as to keep us guessing the storyline further.

It’d be best not to give too much of the story away since the film’s a thriller where you are constantly discovering details and guessing how the movie will turn out and what the climax would be like. But no matter how much you rack your brains throughout the movie, you would never be able to imagine what turn the story actually takes. Yes! The twist in the story is THAT wild (in fact bordering a little on absurd)!

The performances by all the characters are commendable. But special mention should go to Nawazuddin Siddiqui for portraying the uncouth, bad-mouthing, stern government agent. He is a treat to watch and his bad-ass performance will find it’s own sweet corner in your heart. Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Rana is quite adorable in the role of a naive, idealistic cop who is yet to be corrupted by the system. You will give in to his simple charm. Saswata Chatterjee in the role of a weirdly funny psycho contract killer is good too.

Vidya Balan as always has done a lot of work and fits the bill perfectly of a pregnant woman – in terms of mannerisms, body language etc. Her dialogue delivery is subtle yet still packs punch.

But despite all the above things working for the movie, it lacks that zing, that special wow-factor. At the end of the movie you feel that it could’ve definitely been better although you can’t really place a finger on how or what. The pace could’ve been more slick.

Well, the movie works if you keep some of your logic aside and do not go with a lot of unnecessarily high expectations (which I made the mistake of doing). Kahaani with all it’s wonderful ingredients is a heavily pregnant movie which somehow fails to deliver (quite literally / pun intended)!

Trivia:

  • Vidya Balan’s pregnant tummy was made of rubber weighing 2 Kgs.
  • Vidya Balan made her debut in a Bengali movie, Bhalo Theko, which also starred Parambrata, her co-star in Kahaani.
  • Kahaani was shot in real time, during Durga Puja in Kolkata with real people who had no idea what was going on.
  • While filming a scene for Kahaani, Vidya almost fell onto the tracks of the Kolkata’s metro rail, but was saved by her director Sujoy Ghosh.
  • To promote Kahaani, Vidya embarked on a promotional tour with a pregnancy bump. She was seeing promoting the movie at public places like railway stations and buses in her character.
  • Amitabh Bachchan has lent his classic baritone voice to Rabindranath Tagore‘s epic song ‘Ekla Cholo Re‘ in the movie.

Movie Review – Everybody’s Fine (2009)


Year of Release: 2009

Stars:   Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale, Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell

Verdict: 3.5/5

The movie opens with the scene showing Robert De’Niro (Frank), who plays a retired widower, shopping and preparing for his kids’ visit. The  opening scene itself sets the tone of the movie. You can sense the retired man’s loneliness and see him dragging on with the daily chores around the empty house and his excitement over his kids’ visit after his wife’s death.

But all of kids cancel their visit citing different reasons. So he decides to surprise each of his kids by visiting them, despite his doctor telling him not to travel so much due to his lung condition.

Frank’s visit to the 1st (and his favorite) child David in New York ends up in disappointment. When he fails to turn up for 2 days, the father quietly slips in the letter he prepared for each child beneath the door.

Frank’s 2nd visit takes him to Chicago to meet his ad agency honcho daughter, only to discover that she had lied about the reason for not making it home for the get together. He senses something is off when she makes excuses about not letting him stay for another day or two, but decides not to pursue it.

The 3rd visit is to the son who had lied about him being a conductor while just being a percussionist in the orchestra. He is saddened by the fact that his son does not have ambitions to grow beyond playing the percussion.

Lastly he goes to meet his daughter in Las Vegas who claims to be an extremely successful ballerina but really isn’t.

All his kids had lied to him about something or the other as he had always pushed them to be perfect and they didn’t want to disappoint him by telling the truth about their actual professions. Due to this reason, the kids always talked to their mother and when she died, Frank felt really disconnected with his kids and undertakes the trip to reconnect with them and their lives.

Since Frank used to work in a telephone wire factory, the telephone conversations in the background as he travels from one destination to another, is a nice little touch. It also shows how much Frank’s work meant to him and how hollow he feels after retiring.

Towards the end of the movie all the lies and secrets are unraveled.

Everybody’s heart will definitely go out to Frank. Robert De’Niro has superbly portrayed the character of a retired widower and has wonderfully shown what the lonely existence, pain and a life that suddenly has stopped having any meaning, feels like.

It gives us an underlying message that being happy really, is all there is and should be to life. As long as everybody’s happy in their chosen paths, everybody’s truly fine.

A simplistically emotional movie!

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.2/10
  • During the film, the character of Frank, who made his livelihood in telephone wire, uses land-line telephones (payphones, etc). The children all use mobile (wireless) telephones.
  • Bradley Cooper put himself on tape to audition for a role as Robert De Niro‘s son (with his own mother playing the part of De Niro). He lost out to Sam Rockwell.
  • The movie was nominated for the Golden Globe.

Movie Review – The Dirty Picture (2012)

Year of Release: 2011

Stars: Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Haashmi, Tusshar Kapoor

Verdict: 3.25/5

Agar daag lagne se kuch accha hota hai toh daag acche hain“. And ‘Dirty’ picture is one of those ‘acche daags’ that have splashed Bollywood in quite a while. Unlike a lot of the recent movies, this one isn’t trying to hitchhike on the back of star cast (Rascals, Desi Boys et al) or incessant promotions (read Ra.one). It has a good story, power-packed performances and of course a lot of sleaze, titillation & double entendres.

The movie takes you through the rise and fall of a starlet whose sole claim to fame is her unapologetic display of sexuality both on and off screen. She knows what men want and uses that to achieve what she wants. Her motto in life is ‘You get only one life, so why think twice before living it’. But whatever goes up, has to come down sooner or later but it’s the journey that makes everybody’s trajectory different.

As Chanakya said, “There is no bigger power in the world than the youth and beauty of a woman”. Silk knows it and uses it to get a break in the Tamil movie industry. She realizes that in a male dominated industry she will need a godfather and uses the biggest star’s (Suryakant) lust for her to get ahead. Naseeruddin Shah as Suryakant, the aging but extremely narcissistic & egoistic super star, has delivered a good performance and is responsible for generating quite a few laughs in an otherwise serious movie.

The other man who comes in Silk’s life is Ramakant (Tusshar Kapoor), Suryakant’s introvert younger brother. He loves Silk but buckles under pressure when needed to stand for her. Tusshar is redundant in the movie and wouldn’t have been missed had he not been in it.

Abraham (Emraan Haashmi) is the guy who incessantly abhors Silk for what she does but is the one who stands up for her in the end. Emraan has also done justice to his role.

But if there is a ‘hero’ in the movie, it definitely has to be Vidya Balan. Her ‘bebaak’ & ‘bindaas’ avatar will make you see a side (or front, pun intended) of her that you haven’t seen earlier. She has totally embodied the character & in the age of svelte Sheilas & Munnis, she has proudly and unashamedly filled the screen with her rather fuller version. She has comfortably flaunted the paunch, the flab or anything else that isn’t contained in her itsy bitsy clothes. But it doesn’t look vulgar as the role justifies such portrayal of her.

The movie isn’t for the prissy & faint hearted with its bold scenes and even bolder dialogues. Although some of the double meaning scenes and dialogues could’ve been definitely avoided.

The 2nd half of the movie fails to pack as much punch as the 1st one and the movie loses its pace. Also the narration throughout the movie should have been a little more crisp than it was.

It definitely isn’t a path-breaking movie but Ekta Kapoor sure has got a hit in her hands.

Trivia:

  • The film is based on the life of popular softcore film actress Silk Smitha.
  • The song Ishq Sufiyana was shot at Golkonda fort in old Hyderabad.
  • Vidya Balan was initially skeptical about taking up the role, as she was uncomfortable with the kind of dresses she needed to wear for the film. It was producer Ekta Kapoor who persuaded hard to get her approval.
  • The first phase of the filming was done in Mumbai‘s Filmcity, where a set was made re-creating the Chennai of the 80’s. The next phase of shooting was done at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.
  • In a scene, where Vidya and Emraan had to insult each other, was shot in promptu as the actors never rehearsed the scene before, and didn’t have any prior knowledge about the scene. Director Mithun Luthria later said that he wanted to catch the discomfort and awkwardness between them on screen, hence never disclosed about it before.
  • Producers of the film launched the trailer in a single screen (Galaxy theater) at Bandra in Mumbai. The theater was decorated to bring back the retro look of the 80s.
  • Vidya Balan had started her career with Balaji in TV serial Huma Paanch.
  • Vidya Balan watched movies like Chicago, Burlesque to prepare for the role and also took Salsa lessons.
  • Naseeruddin Shah has a dance number in this movie. Before this, he had danced in the song, Tirchi Topiwale from Tridev (1989).

Movie Review – Rockstar (2011)

Year of Release: 2011

Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri

Verdict: 3/5

Star, Yes; Rock, Not so much!

This, in a nutshell, is what Rockstar actually is. It is an out and out Ranbir Kapoor’s movie; his finest yet. The movie isn’t that much about the journey of a rock sensation than about his tragic love story.

The first half starts with our awkwardly cute Jaat, Janardhan Jaakhad (JJ). His typical antics and accented dialogues will surely elicit a good laugh out of you and make you adore him. Janardhan is fascinated with music and dreams of becoming a huge Rock icon on the lines of Jim Morrison. The only issue being that he doesn’t have the right ‘attitude’ one needs to become that kind of a star. Steps in our friendly college canteen owner. Talk about a better guy suited to teach the right attitude to a wannabe rock star. He tells him that in order to become what he wants to become he needs to undergo pain, a common thread that binds all the great artists. So JJ comes up with the idea of pursuing a Stephens hottie who is sure to reject him thus giving him ample pain and suffering to become a successful artist.

Enter Nargis Fakhri a.k.a. Heer. After initially ‘burger-ing’ JJ off, she finally decides to see Junglee Jawani with him. Rockstar has thus given hope to tons of Jaats and roadside romeos that if a guy as uncouth and uncool as JJ can score a ‘hot & cool’ Heer, then even they can try; and it can be safely assumed that they will.

Thus unfolds the same story about a girl wanting to unleash her inner demons and live her life fully before she gets married to some perfectly handsome and decent guy. The only thing that sets this oft-repeated story apart from others is its treatment, dialogues, breathtaking locales  and of course Ranbir’s portrayal of JJ. Leaving Nargis‘ “brilliant” acting aside for a moment, all this makes the first half really enjoyable and engrossing.

So armed with popcorns et al, we return with high expectations for the 2nd half. And our expectations fall to the ground with a thud! Or more appropriately fall in slow motion towards the ground with a thuuuddd…because the 2nd half just drags and drags and drags a little more.

In the latter part of the movie we are treated with our lead pair reuniting, rekindling their romance and finally the tragedy that ensues.

The movie spoils in the 2nd half what it set up to deliver in the 1st half. It could’ve been much better had it been a little more short and crisp and with a little more of rock than tragic romantic drama. Ranbir has shown his acting prowess which is evident even when he’s lip synching to the melodious voice of Mohit Chauhan. AR Rahman’s music as always is a class apart. JJ’s boss’ comic timing is good. Aditi Rao is wasted in the movie, seems like she is content being the ‘forever kissing’  lass.

The only thing that really really spoils the movie is Nargis Fakhri. She cannot act for nuts and is forever shouting in the movie and personally, she literally irritated the hell out of me. She seems awkward with her dialogue delivery as well as with her enactment of Heer. Katrina Kaif has given hope to all the ‘gori mems’ but then you need a little bit of inner talent to go with that outer beauty. Thankfully Ranbir has carried the movie through.

It goes without saying that Imtiaz Ali has not been able to repeat the magic he created with Jab We Met. Well there’s always next time. But despite all the loopholes, it is a good movie that has come in a really long time and seems like a masterpiece when compared to some of the recent movies like Bodyguard, Ra.one, Rascals, Singham…well you get my drift there…

A pleasant watch after quite a while.

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.6/10
  • When Imtiaz Ali was putting together the script for his film Rockstar, he knew that the music will be an integral part of the film. He wanted a rock music score which was not  copy of Western Rock but stuck to the basic principles of rock and originated from our land. Imtiaz wanted the music to be organic to the character and yet have a universal appeal that could go beyond the boundaries of our land. Hence, the only name that came to Imtiaz’s mind to score the music was none other than A. R. Rahman.
  • When A. R. Rahman met Imtiaz Ali for the first time, he had not seen any of Imtaiz’s earlier films. Later Rahman watched Love Aaj Kal and really liked the film.
  • Nargis Fakhri was put under house arrest by director Imtiaz Ali to retain the mystery surrounding her as a part of the film’s promotion.
  • The song ‘Faya kun’ was shot in the Nizamuddin Dargah, New Delhi over 4 days and the shooting used to take place between 11pm to 10am, to not cause any inconvenience to visitors.
  • Director Imtiaz Ali, who loved Kareena Kapoor’s performance in his Jab We Met wanted to cast her in Rockstar. However, the script in Rockstar required some romantic scenes between the romantic leads. As Ranbir and Kareena happened to be cousins, this would have been a problem. She was replaced by Nargis Fakhri.
  • When Imtiaz Ali decided to get A. R. Rahman on board for the music, a lot of people warned him that he does not give the tracks on time. But Imtiaz Ali was very surprised when he got all the tracks much before time. Imtaiz wanted 9 songs for the film and eventually he got 14 tracks which are on the audio CD and around 6 extra pieces which are in the film.
  • Ranbir Kapoor plays Janardhan, a Jat boy in ‘Rockstar’ and to get into the skin of the character, Ranbir along with Imtiaz Ali actually went down to Punjab  and stayed with a Jat family to learn their mannerisms, gestures and how they interacted with their families.
  • For the song, ‘Sheher mein’, AR Rahman was asked to compose a mediocre number, probably a first for him as this track is an average music video, that Ranbir is forced to sing in the movie. The music maestro, Rahman took longer than an average song to come up with this ‘mediocre’ number.
  • For the song ‘Naadan Parinde’ , Ranbir tried different looks and almost 2 dozen wigs.
  • The film was shot in reverse as the crew didn’t want to break the continuity of Ranbir Kapoor‘s hairstyle. So the climax with long hair was shot first.
  • In the film Rockstar, Ranbir Kapoor who plays the character of Jordon, had to learn to play guitar. Ranbir spent several nights at A. R. Rahman’s studio learning how to play the guitar so that he could enact the role of Jordan playing the guitar convincingly and had better ownership of the music while shooting on stage for the film and didn’t had to pretend to play the music.
  • Ranbir Kapoor shared the screen with his grand-uncle Shammi Kapoor for the first and last time in the movie, which will also be Shammi Kapoor’s last appearance on the silver screen.
  • The film was to be launched in 2006 with John Abraham, and was to be produced by UTV. Rockstar was meant to be Imtiaz’s second venture after his directorial debut Socha Na Tha. However, logistics failed to work and the project was immediately shelved. In the interim Jab We Met happened, and after multiple attempts, Imtiaz decided to revive Rockstar with Ashtavinayak. Before signing on Ranbir, Saif was in consideration for the movie owing to his known talent of playing the guitar and performing live with his band ‘Parikrama’.
  • To make his character look more convincing, Ranbir Kapoor, who plays a ‘Rockstar’ in the film, took  guitar classes two month before the film started. He  made sure that he was present at the recording of all the eight tracks of the film and also used to focus on the guitar and the chords that A.R Rahman would play.

Movie Review – 25th Hour (2002)

Year of Release: 2002

Stars:  Edward NortonBarry Pepper and Philip Seymour Hoffman

Verdict: 2.75/5

Although nominated for Golden Globe and recipient of a lot of critical acclaim, I personally think the movie is a wee bit over-rated.

It’s about a guy called Monty (Edward Norton) who has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for drug peddling and his last 24 hours of freedom and what he does with that.

The opening scene shows Monty saving an injured dog (Doyle) who later becomes an inseparable part of his life. There are overtones of this first scene throughout the movie. Monty saves the dog and gives him another chance at life. Later in the movie Monty fondly recalls that saving the dog was the best thing he did in his life. In a way Doyle’s life symbolizes Monty’s.

During the last 24 hours he meets with all the people who matter in his life – his girlfriend Naturelle, his father who thinks he is to blame for his son’s life turning out the way it did and his 2 best friends; a teacher who is infatuated with one of his students & an investment banker who is overconfident, brash & a loud mouth.

The movie moves on showing how each person is grappling with their own issues in life; Monty predictably with his impending jail term & his suspicion on his girlfriend for outing him out to the cops, Philip with his own moral issues about being attracted to one of his students, Monty’s father with his guilt pangs etc.

Over the whole story Monty comes to realize how he himself is responsible for screwing up his life since he had everything going for him – a scholarship from a reputed private school, good looks, an amazing girlfriend and how he blew everything away.

The best two scenes for me in the movie have to be, one where Monty gives a F*** You speech in front of the bathroom mirror and two, where Monty begs Barry to beat and thrash him early in the morning so that he looks rugged enough for jail. Barry’s denial to do it, Monty’s instigation, everything has been beautifully portrayed.

The ending though profound & beautiful, is very open-ended and might confuse a lot of people.

The movie makes one wonder as to how many opportunities we get and turn away from them in lieu of other easy looking and exciting pursuits which turn out to be everything but that in the end. Maybe shortcuts to success aren’t really all that worth it in the end.

Edward Norton as always is brilliant. Definitely don’t watch if you’re looking for a cheerful movie.

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7.9/10
  • Edward Norton says the word “fuck” 40 times in about five minutes during his monologue in the bathroom. The phrase “Fuck you” is on the mirror in the bathroom.
  • Tobey Maguire bought the rights to the original novel with the intent of starring. He later decided to do Spider-Man, although he did stay on this film as a producer.
  • During his speech in the bathroom, Edward Norton says, “Slavery ended 137 years ago. Move the fuck on!” This is a reference to American History X, where he says, “Slavery ended like a hundred and thirty years ago, how long does it take to get your act together?”
  • Edward Norton‘s character mentions about wanting to be the “girl in ‘X-Men’, the one that can walk through walls”. Co-stars Anna PaquinBrian CoxAaron Stanford and Dania Ramirez have all starred in the X-Men movies, as Rogue, General Stryker, Pyro, and Callisto respectively. The girl who can walk through walls is called Shadowcat.
  • ‘Alicia Keys ‘ was considered for the role of Naturelle.
  • Edward Norton says he took every penny he made from Red Dragon to finance this film.
  • Monty’s line, “Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends,” is a Francis Bacon quote.

Movie Review – Whip It (2009)

Year of Release: 2009

Stars:  Ellen PageDrew Barrymore and Kristen Wiig

Verdict: 3/5

 

Be your own hero! What an apt tag-line for the movie.

This movie is based on a book by the same name and marks the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore. And unexpectedly she has done a pretty good job of it.

It is a story of a small town average girl Bliss (Ellen Page) with a pretty boring life. She works as a part-time waitress along with her best friend Pash. Both of them feel stuck up in the in the small town and want to break free, experience the big city life and do exciting things. But there obviously are hurdles in their fairy tale.

Bliss is enduring the weight of her mothers’ dreams & aspirations. Her mother wants her to participate in and win beauty pageants and participate in society galas just as she did when she was younger. She thinks that that is a perfect path for her girls to follow. While Bliss’s younger sister is happy living the dream, Bliss is different. She wants more out of live than winning boring beauty pageants where one is at their impeccable best. She goes along with the drudgery until one day she stumbles upon something very exciting.

She gets to know about a Roller Derby league in the nearby city, Austin. She’s fascinated and decides to try it out. As it turns out she is excellent in it and for the first time in her life finds something she is truly passionate about.

Now the real trouble begins. She lies about her age, the reasons for her absence from home twice a week etc. etc.

In between all the lying, she falls for a guy for the first time in her life, enjoys and lives her life to the fullest, gets to live her passion, rise to the top of the game and basically be happy.

Trouble brews when her team reaches the finals for the 1st time. The tournament and her mother’s dream beauty pageant are on the same day. It’s a roller coaster ride thereafter. With the cat out of the bag, she struggles with the explanations and expectations of her parents and her team mates.

Ellen Page as always is brilliant and carries the movie on her tender shoulders. We could’ve done away with Drew Barrymore’s character though. All the other actors have also played their part well, especially Bliss’s best friend Pasha.

It isn’t a classic like other sports dramas like Coach Carter, The Fighter etc. but none the less a feel good motivating movie.

Trivia:

  • IMDB Rating – 7/10
  • Ellen Page dropped out of Drag Me to Hell to be in this film.
  • “Whip It” was written by Shauna Cross, a former Roller Derby skater with the Los Angeles Derby Dolls. Cross skated under the name Maggie Mayhem with a team of rouge cops called the Sirens. Many of the teams, skaters, names and plot lines were inspired by Cross’ time with the Derby Dolls.
  • The fictional TXRD team ‘Hurl Scouts’ were based on the ‘Tough Cookies’ from Los Angeles: both teams share a green uniform and theme based on the Girl Scouts of America.
  • Despite acting in feature films since the age of 5, this film is Drew Barrymore‘s feature film directorial debut.
  • The track used in the movie was built and lent to be used in the movie by a banked track roller derby league from Oklahoma City called Red Dirt Rebellion Rollergirls.
  • At one point in the film, Bliss Cavendar lies about her age being 22 (instead of 17), which is the actual age of Ellen Page, who plays her.
  • Filmed in Detroit, Michigan and many of the skaters in the movie are on Detroit’s Derby team.
  • When Bliss is getting ready for her first big match, Maggie Mayhem tells her that you can never have enough Lash Blast. Lash Blast mascara is a Cover Girl product. Drew Barrymore is a Cover Girl spokesperson.
  • When Iron Maven / Juliette Lewis tells Bliss Ellen Page that she’s 36 years old, that’s Juliette Lewis’ actual age at the time the movie was released.
  • Of the teams featured, only the Holy Rollers are an actual TXRD team.

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.

Trivia:

  • 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.