Starring Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, and Katrina Kaif. In Hindi and Spanish with English subtitles. Rated PG. Now playing
Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is the perfect summer film—supplied as it is with pretty people travelling through an even prettier locale. The trip we take with them is enjoyably pleasant but not much more.
The film follows three friends, now 10 years past university, as they reunite for a road trip across Spain. Kabir (Abhay Deol) is getting married to Natasha (Kalki Koechlin), and this trip with his friends, Arjun (Hrithik Roshan) and Imraan (Farhan Akhtar), is the last gasp of his bachelorhood.
However, this is no cheap and cheerful backpacking vacation. These guys travel in style and stay in places that act as a feature-length ad for Spanish tourism.
Along the way, they meet Laila (Katrina Kaif) and take on various adventure sports, which give us extended and surprisingly realistic footage of the actors scuba diving, skydiving, and running with the bulls.
There are the requisite subplots of unresolved conflict between the friends, doubts about the suitability of the upcoming nuptials, a potential new romantic connection, and a search for a long-lost relative. This is a formulaic plot where one fully expects these characters to bond, be transformed through their travels, and to reclaim their lost passion for living.
The dialogue in this film was penned by the brilliantly versatile Farhan Akhtar, who also wrote the benchmark film Dil Chahta Hai. Both films feature Indians with urbane cosmopolitan subjectivities who move effortlessly across borders and through cultures.
Here they sing, play, and banter their way across the sun-drenched Spanish landscape. They even manage a fusion flamenco musical number in which the actors themselves sing the Spanish and Hindi lyrics.
This is all great fun, but there is a lack of dramatic urgency in this film that keeps it from being truly compelling.