Friday, July 15, 2011

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara 

Three Amigos

A decade ago Farhan Akhtar had made Dil Chahta Hai that proudly portrayed a section of the urban elite. The buddy film was hailedas a trend-setter,  because that kind ofsophistication and humour was new for Hindi cinema. It also had characters who had little or no connect with the ‘other half’- - that is the vast majority outside the purview of upper class India, because the other India didn’t matter any more,  the Diaspora did.

Since then, urban India has prospered even more. The super rich here have lifestyles that match those of their counterparts elsewhere in the world.  The class of people in Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara buy Birkin bags for their women, costing 12,000 Euros (a few lakh rupees), buy enormous apartments in London and travel business class. In the best imitation of the West, they have champagne toasts at engagement parties, not the usual pandit and mangni thing.

This is the lifestyle urban India now aspires to.  The middle class always wanted their movies to be escapist, and how better to ‘escape’ the daily grind punctuated with bomb blasts, than a three-week holiday in lovely Spain.

Kabir (Abhay Deol) is about to be married to rich girl Natasha (Kalki Koechlin), and instead of a bachelor party plans a road trip with his buddies Arjun (Hrithik Roshan) and Imran (Farhan Akhtar). They have ‘issues’ and emotional baggage, but nothing that a deep sea dive, a sky dive or a bull run can’t fix.  While in Spain, why not throw in a tomato fight and a flamenco number too?

Zoya Akhtar must have decided that an easy camaraderie between buddies,  silly pranks and witty dialogue is what it takes to hit the spot with the target audience, plus great Spanish locations. 
The dudes are well dressed, with gym-toned bodies and trendy careers like copywriting, investment broking and construction. They drive ‘hot’ cars and flirt merrily,without a care in the world—at least not the kind that can’t be easily solved.  To a normal person the film is sorely lacking in drama or conflict, but to a person without a care in the world, a friend stealing his girl could appear earth-shattering; a night in jail could be terrifying, and a parent issue could become a deep existential crisis.  To some the dudes would appear shallow, to others, maybe a guy vacillating over marriage denotes emotional depth.

Of the three females in the film, Laila (Katrina Kaif) represents “seize the day” freedom (the kind that comes with money, of course), the rich girl has to be an airhead “chudail” and the foreigner aneasy pick-up.  And the film has been made by a woman!

It is enjoyable, funny, great looking and ‘clean’ as compared to another recent buddy film.  The stars all act well—even Katrina Kaif—and look great.  Add  to the mix good music and a couple of graceful dances and the package all bright and shiny tied with a red ribbon.  You want more out of movies? Are you nuts?


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