By Adishi Gupta:Â
It is human nature to forget or forgo some extremely essential elements of life, making it completely devoid of its essence. It is not always intended deliberately, but amidst the hustle bustle, one tends to get lost. These elements are not very difficult to hold on to. When they are introduced in our lives, in some way we never imagined before, they bring a spur of happiness which was hitherto completely alien. The kind of happiness which makes you tear apart and you yearn to be more alive to life, to each and every breath that you breathe, to each and every tear that decides to part from your eyes, to each and every smile that meets your lips, and to every little moment that you thought was insignificant. We seek for such refuge in all sorts of sensory ways like visual: through movies and shows; verbal: through dialogue; and auditory: through music and spoken poems. Movies like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara refreshingly provide you with a readymade dose of elements that constitute our life and make it liveable. It makes sure that the moment it finishes; it fills you up with all sorts of emotions from a weird feeling in your stomach, to a little tear of joy crawling down your eyes.
Be it a workaholic and braggart financial broker or an independent fashion student and diver; the movie has motley of extremely relatable characters who teach you to “just breathe”, alternatively coming out of their own shells towards the end. I’d like to list, in no particular order, each of the prime characters of the movie and everything that inspires me about them, every time I watch it.
1. Arjun (Hrithik Roshan): Arjun is the perfect example of a workaholic, completely enslaved to the extent that he carries his laptop and answers all his official calls on a holiday trip. Tracing back to the early death of his father and the residual debt left by him, Arjun confesses that the only dream in his life is to earn money and retire at the age of forty. He is often seen to be stridently bragging about price tags and comes out as a man completely consumed by his superficial needs, because of which he lost his girlfriend in the past. But later, experiencing the magnificence of the underwater world, he discovers happiness in things beyond work and money, further triggered by Laila’s take on the same. I believe that Arjun undergoes the maximum degree of catharsis over the course of the narrative by completely freeing himself from the web that he had created. C or unconsciously, many of us end up creating for a similar web for ourselves too, missing out on the ‘joy of living’.
He can be seen as a representative of the kind of people we might become if we don’t stop the monstrous takeover of the technological world. Towards the end, he comes to Kabir’s rescue when he senses something wrong in his life, and doesn’t let the love of his life go away, unlike before. His character sets an exalting example for all those who prefer to prioritize work vis-a-vis oneself or loved ones. He’d make you want to apologetically reach to that friend you ignored because of work and never called back again.
2. Kabir Dewan (Abhay Deol): Stuck in an “I-didn’t-even-propose” marriage with Natasha (Kalki Koechlin), Kabir sees it to be the perfect opportunity to get together with his buddies from school (we always crave for excuses for such reunions with our friends, right?) He is often seen to be the peace maker between his two friends who had a hiccup in their bond during the college time and brings them back to the present when they tend to get swayed by their past differences. His confusions about his own love life make his character look all the more realistic.
Dropping playful tricks here and there, Kabir is a fun-loving and a 3:00 a.m. friend you can count on; who would be at your back even when he himself is going through a perplexing time. We all treasure such people, don’t we? He might just inspire you to be one.
3. Imran (Farhan Akhtar): Imran is the one who pokes fun at almost everyone in the group and is an artist in every sense of the word. He initially refrains from confessing the tumultuous truth about his biological father in front of his friends, due to his own turbulent emotions about this recent unravelling and is indifferent towards his mother for hiding the same from him for so many years. But after meeting his biological father, he gathers the reason behind all of it and is more supportive of his mother. Sooner or later, we all realize that our mothers are unfailingly caring about us, come what may. Despite all these disturbances in his life, he never fails to be zestful with his friends. Imran’s character exemplarily motivates you to not let your inner demons consume you, despite the endless number of times life pins you down.
4. Laila (Katrina Kaif): The character of Laila is radiant from her very first appearance and undoubtedly, the most inspiring one because the way she leads her life sans limitations, sans regrets, sans monotony, is something that makes you want to admire her like none else. Her impeccably impressive urge to hold on to her dreams and to all that gives her substantial happiness in life, ends up inspiring even her exact opposite in the movie, Arjun. Laila’s dialogues like “A man should be in a box only when he is dead” are totally awe-inspiring and thought-provoking.
5. Natasha (Kalki Koechlin): Natasha is portrayed as a possessive and insecure girlfriend, who gives up on her dreams just because of her expected marriage with her fiancÃ©, Kabir. She hijacks her finace’s bachelor trip with his friends in order to keep a check on him and is in a habit of making a mountain out of a molehill. All her insecurities land her in a situation where she ends up losing Kabir. Seeing the way things go down with her, you just sit and wonder about all those times you were foolishly insecure about your friend or lover and how all those insecurities made things awkward between you and that person. Also, there are people who lovingly make compromises for their lovers, like Natasha, but end up completely losing themselves in the process. Her character constantly pokes you in the head to know your limits, the next time you do that.
The title of the movie, when semantically translated, somewhat conveys the sense of the latest acronym added to the common parlance of the youth as a style statement, namely YOLO (short for You Only Live Once). But the movie portrays this spirit with a lot more vibrancy using virgin locations of Spain in the backdrop, some feet tapping music, insightful dialogues and poems in a memorably enjoyable way.
A visual treat, verbal excellence and auditory exquisiteness, this movie surprises you in unimaginable ways. Scaling the infinities of the sky and the deep blue ocean and fighting death till the last breath, this movie inspires you to switch off the computer, catch up with that friend from school and plan a holiday. It is the kind of cinema that celebrates life as a whole and has a lot more than words can capture. Yet, Javed Akhtar’s poetic opulence somewhat describes the spirit of the movie:
“Dilon mein tum apni betabiyan leke chal rahe ho.
Toh zinda ho tum!
Nazar mein khwaabon ki bijliyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum!
Hawa ke jhonkon ke jaise aazad rehna seekho
Tum ek dariya ke jaise, leharon mein behna seekho
Har ek lamhe se tum milo khole apni baahein
Har ek pal ek naya samaa dekhiye
Jo apni aankhon mein hairaniyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum!
Dilon mein tum apni betabiyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum!”