Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

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Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
The poster features five people. From left, a lady wearing miniskirt stands with her right leg slightly twisted. A man wearing glasses is in mid air jumping with the hands on back of the next person. A third man stares with a comical look on his face, putting his hands on the shoulders of the fourth man. The fourth male wears a hat and a scarf, with his hands tied in front. Next to him is a woman, who wears a miniskirt, her right leg twisted backwards, holding her elbow stretched out and her left arm to her right.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Zoya Akhtar
Produced by Farhan Akhtar
Ritesh Sidhwani
Screenplay by Zoya Akhtar
Reema Kagti
Story by Prachi londhe
Reema Kagti
Starring Hrithik Roshan
Abhay Deol
Farhan Akhtar
Katrina kaif
Kalki Koechlin
Ariadna Cabrol
Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Cinematography Carlos Catalan
Edited by Ritesh Soni
Anand Subaya
Production
company
Distributed by Eros International
Release dates
  • 15 July 2011 (2011-07-15)
Running time 153 minutes[1]
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget INR550 million (US$9.0 million)[2]
Box office INR1.53 billion (US$25 million)[3]

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (English: You Only Live Once) is a 2011 Indian coming-of-age comedy-drama road film, directed by Zoya Akhtar and produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment. The film features an ensemble cast including Hrithik Roshan as Arjun, Abhay Deol as Kabir and Farhan Akhtar as Imraan. It also stars Katrina Kaif as Laila, Kalki Koechlin as Natasha, and Ariadna Cabrol as Nuria along with Naseeruddin Shah making a special appearance. Made on a budget of INR550 million (US$9.0 million), the film was shot in Spain, India, Egypt and the UK.

The story follows three friends, Arjun, Kabir, and Imraan who have been inseparable since childhood. They set off to Spain on a bachelor trip and meet Laila, who falls in love with Arjun and helps him overcome his problem of workaholism. Kabir and his fiancée experience significant misunderstanding in the meanwhile, which they soon overcome. After solving the problem, the three friends go to locations in the country where each friend chooses a sport for the group to attempt.

The music and score is composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy with lyrics by Javed Akhtar. Initially expected to hit theatres on 27 May 2011, the release of the film was pushed back to 24 June, and once again to 15 July due to technical glitches in post-production.[4] The film had a worldwide release in 1800 screens and was a critical and commercial success. It grossed INR1.53 billion (US$25 million) worldwide and was adjudged a Super-Hit. After its theatrical run, the film was nominated for several awards in various categories and won many of them.

Plot[edit]

At the beginning of the film, Kabir (Abhay Deol) proposes to Natasha (Kalki Koechlin). Their families meet at the engagement party. At the party, Natasha learns that Kabir is planning a three-week bachelor road trip to Spain with his school friends Imraan (Farhan Akhtar) and Arjun (Hrithik Roshan). Kabir explains that the three have a long-standing pact, and that during the road trip, each of them will have to pick an adventure sport, which all three will try together. Initially, Arjun is reluctant to take part in the trip due to his workaholism and obsession with money. It is later revealed that Arjun's ex-girlfriend left him due to this reason. Imraan has an additional personal agenda on the trip—to find his biological father Salman Habib (Naseeruddin Shah), an artist in Spain.

The trio set off to Spain, where they plan to visit Costa Brava, Seville, and Pamplona. On the way to Costa Brava, Imraan and Kabir find it annoying that Arjun works even during the trip. Imran casually throws Arjun's phone out of their car while in the middle of an important call. This leads to a misunderstanding, which ends up in a violent argument. Arjun, in a fit of rage, accuses Imraan of having an affair, four years back, with Arjun's previous girlfriend (a topic which was very sensitive both to Arjun and Imraan). After being pacified by Kabir and reaching their destination, they meet an Anglo Indian named Laila (Katrina Kaif) on a beach. Imraan flirts with her and makes Arjun jealous. Kabir reveals that he has chosen deep sea diving as their first sport, and they later find that Laila is their diving instructor. Arjun, who cannot swim and is aquaphobic, receives assistance from Laila. She helps him overcome his fears and finish the sport successfully. Upon a request by Laila, they attend the La Tomatina festival held in Buñol with her and meet Nuria (Ariadna Cabrol), who falls in love with Imraan. Meanwhile, Natasha becomes suspicious of Kabir's involvement with Laila and crashes his bachelor party trip, much to Kabir's discomfort in front of his friends. Imraan spends time with Nuria, and Arjun with Laila. After the boys leave, Laila realizes she has fallen in love with Arjun and chases them on a bike, not wanting to regret their partition if they don't meet in future. She and Arjun express their feelings for each other with a passionate kiss.

On the way to Seville, Kabir drops Natasha at the airport, while Arjun and Imraan notice that something is wrong between her and Kabir. The trio visit Seville for sky diving, as per Arjun's choice. During the task, Imraan is forced to confront his acrophobia and hesitates to take part. However, they complete it without any obstacles. After skydiving, the three men go to a bar and get into a fight with a stranger on whom they had tried to pull a prank. They are jailed after the fight. Salman bails them out and takes them to his home. While speaking to Imraan, Salman reveals that he never wanted the responsibility of a married life with kids, while Imraan's mother did, which is why he never contacted Imraan. Imraan, heartbroken, realises how it would have felt when he had hurt Arjun four years back. He earnestly apologises to Arjun, and he readily forgives Imraan.

The trio leave for the bull run in Pamplona, which was Imraan's choice. When confronted by his friends, Kabir confesses to Arjun and Imraan that he is still not ready for a marriage, but could not tell this to Natasha as he did not want to hurt her. On the morning of the bull run, Imraan suggests they make a pact to make a promise if they survive the event. Imraan vows to publish his poetry (he was secretly a poet), Arjun vows to go to Morocco with Laila, and Kabir promises to tell Natasha that he is not ready to marry her. As they complete the event, the friends gain a renewed sense of their relationships with each other, with others they know, and with themselves.

As the credits roll, Imraan, Kabir, Nuria and Natasha are shown attending the wedding of Arjun and Laila in Morocco. Kabir and Natasha did not marry, but remain friends.Indeed, Natasha is seen with another boy, although it is unclear whether they are married or are unmarried lovers.[5]

Cast[edit]

  • Hrithik Roshan as Arjun, a financial trader based in London. His father died when he was 8 years old, leaving his mother a huge debt to settle. Hence, he is heavily influenced by money and plans to save a large amount of it before retiring at 40 years of age. He marries Laila at Morocco after falling in love with her. He dreams of going to Seville for sky diving.
  • Abhay Deol as Kabir, a wealthy young man who works at his father's construction company in Mumbai. Kabir is engaged to Natasha and experiences a strain in his relationship during his road trip and doesn't marry her in the end. He chooses to do deep sea diving in Costa Brava.
  • Farhan Akhtar as Imraan, a copy writer who works for an advertising firm in Delhi. He reveals that he is a poet before entering the running of the bulls. Imraan has never met his biological father Salman and goes to Spain to find him. He eventually falls in love with Nuria. He finishes the trip with the Bull run in Pamplona, along with the other two.
  • Katrina Kaif as Laila, a fashion student living in London who works as a diving instructor in Spain during her vacations. Her father is an Indian while her mother is an American. She is suspected by Natasha of flirting with Kabir. She falls for Arjun and they marry at the end of the film.
  • Kalki Koechlin as Natasha, an interior designer from a rich family. She is engaged to Kabir, though she doesn't marry him in the end.
  • Ariadna Cabrol as Nuria, a friend of Laila. She lives in Spain and falls in love with Imraan during their stay in Buñol.
  • Naseeruddin Shah as Salman Habib, an artist in Spain who is Imraan's biological father. He left Imraan and his mother at a young age because he felt that he was not ready to have a child and wanted to travel the world as a painter.
  • Deepti Naval as Rahila, Imraan's mother, who raised Imraan with her husband Faizal, who agreed to marry her while she was pregnant after she was abandoned by Salman. She is reluctant to let Imraan meet Salman, as she does not want him to know the truth.
  • Anisa Butt as Natasha's Sister

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

"It's a completely fresh offering in terms of Indian cinema. It's a beautiful, humourous (sic) and extremely human road trip film which takes three male friends on the ultimate bachelor party trip across Barcelona. Unbeknownst to them on embarking on the trip, it ends up being a journey of self-discovery for each of them in different ways and forces them to re-evaluate their lives."

—Hrithik Roshan, giving an overview of the film[6]

The scripting of the film, tentatively titled as Running with the bulls,[7] was completed in November 2009 after three months of work.[8] Zoya and Kagti incorporated real life observations, and specially wrote the character of Imraan for her brother Farhan Akhtar. Akhtar wrote the dialogues for the film.[9] The theme of the film was "about three guys on the verge of making commitments in life", according to him.[10] They used Javed Akhtar's poetry as a voice-over because they felt the poetry adds depth to the character and lends voice to their feelings.[11] A special poem was penned down for Katrina's character, after she was cast in the project.[12] The first choice for the location of principal filming was Mexico, but was later changed to Spain since the climax features running with the bulls and Zoya wanted a country that blended history, culture and sports.[11] The release date of the film was rescheduled thrice because the originally selected editor, Chandan Arora, fell ill and they had to redo the editing.[4]

Casting[edit]

Initially, Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor were supposed to play two of the three leads, but they declined because they wished to star together in their own production.[13] Farhan Akhtar, Zoya's brother had worked with her in her debut film Luck By Chance, and was also the dialogue writer of the film, hence Zoya felt that he would know what she exactly wanted from the film.[14] He was the first actor to be cast in the film.[15] He defined his role as a "fun character" and a "guy who for the longest time takes nothing seriously."[10] Hrithik was chosen for another lead role, since he was a favourite actor of hers.[16] After finalizing the two, she needed someone "who could not just fit in with them visually but also bring something new to the table." She sought Abhay for the role, as he was her friend and had worked with her before in Reema Kagti's Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.[14]

For the role of Laila, Zoya wanted someone with an "accent", who would be willing to do scuba diving,[16] and was a half Indian and half Caucasian girl. A lot of girls were auditioned for it in New York and London. Sonam Kapoor was also in the running for the part, however she rejected the role due to unspecified reasons. Later, in a party, she met Katrina Kaif, and chose her.[17] Her role was reportedly described as "a free- spirited girl, a wanderer at heart and a bohemian gypsy by nature."[12] Zoya had wanted to work with Kalki ever since seeing her in Dev D and That Girl in Yellow Boots. She felt that Kalki would fit the bill for the character of Natasha, since she had "the sense of comedy, but not over the top."[18] Ariadna was chosen for the role of Nuria, since she was liked for her work in the 2009 Spanish film Eloise.[14] The full cast of the film was confirmed by April 2010.[19]

Filming[edit]

The principal shooting of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, which began in June 2010, took place in Barcelona, Pamplona, []Buñol], and Andalusia in Spain, the UK, Egypt and Mumbai.[20][21] Cinematographer Carlos Catalan, who had worked with Zoya in Luck By Chance, wanted all three actors to appear tanned because he "didn't want everything glossed over" and wanted to make the film as realistic as possible.[11]

Katrina's introduction scene was shot on a nudist beach. During the filming, they requested that beach-goers stay out of the frame so that the film would not face objections from the Indian censor board.[17] The La Tomatina festival of Buñol was re-created for the song "Ik Junoon". Almost sixteen tons of tomatoes worth INR10 million (US$160,000) were flown in from Portugal for the shoot.[22] A scene involving a kiss between Hrithik and Katrina was shot even though the insiders were reluctant to do so.[23] The filming of the song "Señorita", took place in Alájar, a town in the province of Huelva. The crew warned the locals about the song's volume because the shooting took place at night. In the third day of shooting, the locals came dressed up in costumes, and the mayor of Alájar joined them for the shoot.[17] The climax of the film, which features the Encierro (Running of the bulls), was shot at Pamplona.[24] The final schedules were filmed at Vashi and Alibag in Mumbai in December 2010.[25]

Music and soundtrack[edit]

Composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composed the soundtrack for the film, who had also collaborated with Akhtar in Rock On!! and Karthik Calling Karthik. The lyrics were written by Javed Akhtar. For the vocals of the flamenco song "Señorita", the trio roped in Maria del Mar Fernández, a Spanish flamenco singer, in what was her film singing debut.[26] The song also marked the singing debut of Abhay Deol, who rendered the song along with the other two leads, Hrithik Roshan and Farhan Akhtar.[27] The soundtrack met with positive response following its launch from critics, and garnered a significant notice in the music charts.

Marketing[edit]

ZNMD press conference at Chandigarh
Roshan and Kaif at ZNMD first look launch

The trailer of the film was merged along with the prints of Ready,[28] and released online on 15 May 2011. Excel Entertainment teamed up with Aircel to make promos of the film available on mobile and Internet.[29] The trailer got over 55 million views within 48 hours of its release.[30] Two more promos were released on 27 May, including one for the song Ik Junoon and one for the song Senorita. The music launch and promotion event took place at Nirmal Lifestyle, Mulund, Mumbai.[31] The next week promos of Khaabon Kay Parinday and Dil Dhadakne Do were released. Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani visited Facebook India to promote the movie.[32] A press conference promoting the film was held on 1 July at Chandigarh.[33] Two dialogue promos of the movie were released on 3 July. The cast and crew embarked on a road trip from Mumbai to Delhi on 7 July via Surat, Vadodra, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Ajmer and Jaipur that culminated with a concert at Gurgaon. It is believed that British Auto manufacturer Land Rover, which is now owned by Tata Motors, sponsored the Land Rover Discovery driven by the starring cast members during the trip.[34] A premier at the 12th IIFA Awards was planned before the worldwide release, but it was not executed.[35]

The film's marketers released branded promotions with Mountain Dew,[36] Gillette[37] and ING Vysya Bank.[38]

The official game for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, based on the La Tomatina festival, was released by Jump Games on 19 July 2011. The game is available for all leading mobile platforms.[39]

Release[edit]

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was initially scheduled to release on 27 May,[40] but was postponed to 24 June[41] and further to 15 July 2011. It released in 1800 screens worldwide.[42] A special screening of the film was shown at the residence of Shahrukh Khan on 16 July, the birthday of Katrina Kaif. The event was attended by several celebrities besides the film's cast and crew themselves.[43] However, the Shiv Sena criticized the event as it was held three days after the 2011 Mumbai bombings.[44] The producers of the film donated a cheque containing the collections of the film from around 10 theaters in Mumbai to the Maharashtra government as a mark of charity to the victims of the blasts.[45] On 24 March 2012, ZNMD was screened exclusively at the Bucks New University in High Wycombe, UK.[46]

The DVD of the film was released on 30 August 2011.[47] It is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo formats with English and Arabic subtitles.[48] The Blu-ray disc is also available.

Critical reception[edit]

The film garnered mostly positive reviews from critics. Based on 81 reviews, review aggregate site desimartini.com gave the film the verdict, "A feel good film with a glittering star cast and amazing camera work. Funny dialogues and the chemistry between the three leads make ZNMD an enjoyable experience." The site's average audience rating is 3.5/5.[50]

Pratim D. Gupta of The Telegraph called Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara "a beautifully scripted journey of catharsis" and praised director Zoya Akhtar for being "fearless in the way she shoots".[51] In his review for Hindustan Times, Mayank Shekhar praised the film as "a game-changer for Hindi films since Dil Chahta Hai, and wrote "What you take home are memorable, amusing moments of three truly adventurous amigos we've all grown up with. And will continue to" giving it 4 stars.[52] Shivesh Kumar of IndiaWeekly awarded the movie 4 stars.[53] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film 3.5/5 stars, calling it a film for "a more evolved, mature and cinema-literate audience that's geared up to embrace and support newer genres of cinema."[54] Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India gave the film 3.5/5 stars and lauded its lead performances: "If Abhay is the anchor of the group, Farhan's funster role is full of beans and Hrithik's metamorphosis from uptight, money-minded stock broker to carefree vagabond is a class act."[55]

S Chatterjee of NDTV, gave the film 3/5 stars and maintained that the film's philosophy is quite old and praised Zoya Akhtar's direction, stating "Zoya Akhtar, by investing the tale with a delightful lightness of touch and dollops of gentle wit, brings a degree of freshness to bear upon the plot."[56] Shaikh Ayaz of Rediff rated the film 3.5/5 stars and felt that Zoya Akhtar had put together a familiar plot but the film's fresh energy is entertaining. He wrote, "Akhtar's invigorating characters pump in fresh energy into a film that could have been strictly mediocre".[57] Kaveree Bamzai of India Today, too was full of praise for Akhtar's direction and said "By the time I finished watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara I was convinced that no one can make a romance as beautifully as a woman", giving the film 4 stars.[58]

Film critic Subhash K Jha rated it 3.5/5 and quoted : "Zoya, God bless her aesthetics, sucks us into the beauty of the moment, not giving us any reason to believe that life's most precious truths are swathed in squalor."[59] Blessy Chettiar of DNA India, noted the music of the film and Farhan Akhtar's acting as highlights of the film: "For all this, the storywriters use heavy doses of symbolism. Deep-sea diving at Costa Brava, sky-diving in Sevilla and the San Fermin bull run in Pamplona, not to forget the Tomatina festival in Bunyol, where Arjun finally lets go. Fears are drowned, let open in the sky and finally at the mercy of raging bulls", he wrote, giving it 3 stars.[60] Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN stated, "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara takes the light-hearted tone of a fun, all-boys road trip through Spain to give you a deep and heartfelt message on why we should live life by seizing the moment and following our hearts." He also praised the performance of the cast, highlighting it as one of the main positives of the film, but points out that the film's length "sucks some fun of out of the ride" and gave a rating of 3.5 stars.[49] On the contrary, Raja Sen of Rediff held that the film "tried too hard to be cool" and gave it 1.5/5 stars.[61]

Ryan Gilbey of The Guardian was broadly positive about the film: "It's still playing to full houses, and you can see why. Slick it may be. But tourist board employees representing the various Spanish cities flattered in the movie are not the only ones who will come out grinning.", though he found the movie "stubbornly un-macho" for a buddy film.[62] The National reviewer Kaleem Aftab, in his 4 star review, noted "Throwing together road trip, romcom and buddy-buddy action in a single picture may sound like an ill-conceived masala mash-up, but like any good dish, the ingredients are blended together with affection to create one of the best feel-good movies of the year."[63]

Box office[edit]

In India, the film was released along with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. It opened well in the multiplexes, as the occupancy ranged from 70 to 100 percent,[64] despite receiving average opening in the single screens except in the metro cities.[65] The film grossed INR525 million (US$8.6 million) in its opening three-day weekend,[66] including INR73.9 million (US$1.2 million) its first day,[67] and a net total of INR265 million (US$4.3 million) on the third day.[68] After ten days of worldwide run, it grossed INR1.08 billion (US$18 million).[69] In 17 days, it grossed over INR700 million (US$11 million) in India.[70] With no significant competition other than Singham, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara remained No. 2 at the box office for 4 weeks after its release. It was one of the highest grossing Bollywood films of 2011 in India and internationally. The film was declared a super-hit in India and Overseas territories.[71]

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara grossed INR120 million (US$2.0 million) overseas in three days, which made it the biggest opening for an Indian film in 2011.[66] The film reached top-twenty lists in the US and UK.[72] It grossed £896,289 in UK, $3,103,656 in USA, $387,384 in Australia and $136,380 in New Zealand.[73] As of January 2012, the film has grossed $7.25 million overseas.[74]

The film grossed INR1.53 billion (US$25 million) worldwide, surpassing Hrithik's Dhoom 2 in the worldwide gross, becoming the ninth highest worldwide grosser of all time for a Bollywood film, as of October 2011.[3]

Controversy[edit]

After the release of the film, PETA objected to the bull running scene in the film and sought support from fans via their Twitter page to ban the film. PETA spokesperson Poorva Joshipura spoke about the event and said "We will now be contacting the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Central Board of Film Certification to take action." The film's producer Ritesh Sidhwani, retorted by saying "We had submitted all the papers to the Animal Welfare Board India that stated that none of the animals were injured or hurt in any way and only then, the censor board cleared the movie. We are only showing the culture of Spain."[75] Spanish-American artist Charo sent a letter to Zoya Akhtar on behalf of PETA requesting her to remove all the scenes which related to the running of the bulls.[76]

Accolades[edit]

Post theatrical run, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara won two awards at the 59th National Film Awards in the Best Audiography and Best Choreography categories. Noted regional ceremonies had the film winning several awards, mainly for the 'Best Film' and 'Best Director'. These included the Filmfare Awards, Stardust Awards, Zee Cine Awards, IIFA Awards, NDTV Indian of the Year Awards, Screen Awards, Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards and the Asian Film Awards.

Sequel[edit]

After the film's release, Zoya Akhtar expressed an idea to make a sequel of the film. Speaking about it, she said "You never know, I might or may not make a sequel. It all depends on the right content."[77] It has been reported that the characters are expected to reprise their roles in the sequel, if it is officially launched.[78] In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Hrithik expressed an idea for the basic plot of the sequel. He said that it could be set five years after ZNMD and that the original characters would have grown older, having a reason to go on another trip. It has also been agreed upon that a proper script is required, as it is not a part of the "commercial field" of cinema.[79] However, no official confirmations have been made regarding the sequel, despite requests from many viewers.[80] After the IIFA ceremony, Farhan Akhtar commented that there was "no necessity" for the sequel.[81] Later in 2013, in an interview with HindustanTimes, Zoya expressed interest in scripting for the sequel after finishing her "Dil Dhadakne Do" project which is scheduled to release in June 2015

References[edit]

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