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Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (lit. You won't get this life again) is a 2011 Indian comedy-drama road film that was directed by Zoya Akhtar and produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani of Excel Entertainment. The film features an ensemble cast consisting of Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif, and Kalki Koechlin. It was filmed in Spain, India, Egypt and the United Kingdom on a budget of 550 million (US$8.2 million). The music and score were composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy with lyrics by Javed Akhtar.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Five young Indian people stand on grass under a blue sky. From left, a young woman wearing a short black-and-white dress stands with her right leg slightly twisted. A man wearing glasses is jumping with his hands on back of the next person. A third man stares ahead, putting his hands on the shoulders of the fourth man. The fourth male wears a hat and a scarf, with his hands crossed in front. At right is a woman wearing a short dress; her right leg is twisted backwards and she holds 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 Zoya Akhtar
Reema Kagti
Starring Hrithik Roshan
Abhay Deol
Farhan Akhtar
Katrina Kaif
Kalki Koechlin
Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Cinematography Carlos Catalan
Edited by Ritesh Soni
Anand Subaya
Production
company
Distributed by Eros International
Release date
  • 15 July 2011 (2011-07-15)
Running time
153 minutes[1]
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 550 million (US$8.2 million)[2]
Box office 1.53 billion (US$23 million) (India)[3]

The film's 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 compulsion to work. Kabir and his fiancée experience overcome their significant misunderstandings. During their trip, each friend chooses a dangerous sport for the group to partake in.

The release of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was initially planned for 27 May 2011 but technical problems with post-production work led to the release being postponed to 24 June and again to 15 July that year. The film had a worldwide release in 1,800 screens and was a critical and commercial success that grossed 1.53 billion (US$23 million) and received critical acclaim for its performances, story, music, humour and direction. After its theatrical run, the film was nominated for and won several awards, including two National Film Awards.

Contents

PlotEdit

Architect Kabir proposes to his girlfriend Natasha. Their families meet at the engagement party where Natasha learns that Kabir is planning a three-week bachelor road trip to Spain with his school friends — Imran, an advertisement copy writer; and Arjun, a financial broker. Kabir says the three friends have a long-standing pact, and that during the road trip each of them will pick an adventure sport that all three will try together. Initially, Arjun is reluctant to take trip because he does not want to lose his pay for missing work. Imran has an additional secret agenda to find his biological father Salman Habib, an artist who lives in Spain.

The three men fly to Spain separately and meet in Barcelona. They plan to visit Costa Brava, Seville and Pamplona. On the way to Costa Brava, Imran and Kabir are annoyed that Arjun, a workaholic, continues working. Imran throws Arjun's mobile telephone out of their car, causing an argument in which Arjun accuses Imran of having an affair four years prior with Arjun's ex-girlfriend Sonali. Upon reaching their destination, they meet Laila, an Anglo-Indian woman; Imran flirts with her and makes Arjun jealous. Kabir announces 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 to overcome his fears and finish the sport successfully. Laila suggests they attend the La Tomatina festival with her in Buñol and meet her friend Nuria, who falls in love with Imraan. Meanwhile, Natasha becomes suspicious of Kabir's involvement with Laila when she sees them via webcam and crashes his bachelor party trip, much to Kabir's discomfort. Imran spends time with Nuria, and Arjun with Laila. After the men leave, Laila realises she has fallen in love with Arjun and chases them on a bike. She and Arjun kiss passionately.

On their way to Seville, Kabir drops Natasha at the airport. The trio visit Seville for skydiving, Arjun's choice. During the task, Imran is forced to confront his acrophobia and hesitates to take part, but does so. 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; Imran calls Salman, who bails them out and takes them to his home. Salman reveals that he never wanted the responsibility of a married life with children but Imran's mother Rahila did. Imran, heartbroken, realises how his actions must have hurt Arjun four years back. He apologises to Arjun, and Arjun, seeing the genuineness of the apology, forgives him with a hug.

The three men learn of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, which is Imran's choice, baffling Kabir and Arjun. Imran telephones Laila, who joins them. When confronted by his friends, Kabir tells the others he is not yet ready for marriage, and that Natasha had mistaken a ring he had bought for his mother as a birthday present as an engagement ring for herself. On the morning of the bull run, Imran suggests they make a promise if they survive the event: Imran vows to publish the poetry he has written in his diary; Arjun vows to go to Morocco with Laila; and Kabir promises to tell Natasha he does not want to marry her. As they complete the event, the friends gain a renewed sense of their relationships with each other, their families and other friends, and with themselves.

During the credits, Imran, Kabir, Nuria and Natasha are shown at the wedding of Arjun and Laila in Morocco. Natasha has a new boyfriend, Kabir and Natasha are still friends, and Imran has published his poems.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

The scripting of the film, tentatively titled Running with the Bulls,[12] was completed in November 2009 after three months of work.[13] Director-writer Zoya Akhtar and co-writer Reema Kagti incorporated real-life observations and wrote the character of Imraan for Zoya's brother Farhan, who wrote the dialogue for the film.[14] The theme of the film was "three guys on the verge of making commitments in life", according to him.[15] They used father Javed Akhtar's poetry as a voiceover because they felt the poetry added depth to the characters and lent voice to their feelings.[16] A special poem inspired by a fan's poem was written for Katrina Kaif's character after she was cast in the project.[17] The first choice for the location of principal filming was Mexico, but was later changed to Spain because the climax features the running of bulls and Zoya wanted a country that blended history, culture and sports.[16] The film's release date was postponed twice because its original editor Chandan Arora fell ill and they had to re-edit it.[18]

CastingEdit

Initially, the producers wanted Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor to play two of the three leads, but they declined without specifying a reason.[19] Farhan Akhtar had worked with Zoya on her debut film Luck By Chance and also wrote dialogue for the film; Zoya felt he would know exactly what she wanted from the film.[20] He was the first actor to be cast in the film.[21] Farhan Akhtar defined his role as a "fun character" and a "guy who for the longest time takes nothing seriously".[15] Hrithik Roshan was chosen for another lead role because he was one of Zoya's favourite actors.[22] After finalising 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 Deol for the role, as he was her friend and had worked with her before in Kagti's Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.[20]

For the role of Laila, Zoya wanted someone with an accent who would be willing to scuba dive,[22] and was a half-Indian and half-Caucasian woman. A lot of women were auditioned for the part in New York and London. Later, at a party, Zoya met Katrina Kaif and chose her for the role.[23] Her role was described as "a free- spirited girl, a wanderer at heart and a bohemian gypsy by nature".[17] Zoya had wanted to work with Kalki Koechlin ever since seeing her in Dev D and That Girl in Yellow Boots; she felt Koechlin would suit the character of Natasha because she had "the sense of comedy, but not over the top".[24] Spanish actress Ariadna Cabrol was chosen for the role of Nuria because Zoya liked her work in the 2009 Spanish film Eloise.[20] The full cast of the film was confirmed by April 2010.[25]

FilmingEdit

Principal photography began in June 2010 and took place in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Mumbai, and in Spain at Barcelona, Pamplona, Buñol and Andalusia.[26][27] Cinematographer Carlos Catalan, who had worked with Zoya on Luck by Chance, wanted all three lead actors to appear tanned because he "didn't want everything glossed over" and wanted to make the film as realistic as possible.[16]

Kaif's introduction scene was shot on a nudist beach; during the filming, the crew asked beach-goers stay out of the frame to avoid objections from the Central Board of Film Certification.[23] The La Tomatina festival of Buñol was re-created for the song "Ik Junoon"; almost sixteen tons of tomatoes worth 10 million (US$150,000) were flown in from Portugal for the scene.[28] A scene involving a kiss between Roshan and Kaif was filmed despite the couple's reluctance to do so.[29] The filming of the flamenco song "Señorita" took place in Alájar, a town in the province of Huelva. The crew warned local residents about the song's volume because the scene was filmed at night. On the third day of filming, locals dressed in costumes attended and the mayor of Alájar joined them.[23] The climax of the film, which features the Running of the Bulls, was filmed at Pamplona.[30] The final schedules were at Vashi and Alibag in Mumbai in December 2010.[31]

SoundtrackEdit

Composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who had worked with Farhan Akhtar in Rock On!! and Karthik Calling Karthik, composed the soundtrack for the film. The lyrics were written by Javed Akhtar. The composers engaged María del Mar Fernández, a Spanish flamenco singer, to perform the vocals on "Señorita"; her film-singing debut.[32] The song is also the singing debut of Abhay Deol, who sang it with along with the other lead actors Hrithik Roshan and Farhan Akhtar.[33]

MarketingEdit

 
A Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara press conference at Chandigarh.

The trailer of the film was revealed with the prints of Ready,[34] and was released online on 15 May 2011. Excel Entertainment partnered with Aircel to make promotional videos for the film available on mobile phones and the Internet.[35] The trailer was watched over 55 million times within 48 hours of its release.[36] Two more videos—one each for the songs "Ik Junoon" and "Senorita"—were released on 27 May. The music launch and promotion event took place at Nirmal Lifestyle, Mulund, Mumbai.[37] Farhan Akhtar and co-producer Ritesh Sidhwani visited Facebook India to promote the film.[38] A press conference promoting the film was held on 1 July at Chandigarh.[39] Two dialogue promos of the film were released on 3 July. On 7 July the cast and crew embarked on a road trip from Mumbai to Delhi via Surat, Vadodra, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Ajmer and Jaipur that culminated in 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 cast members during the trip.[40] A premier at the 12th IIFA Awards before the worldwide release was planned but was not executed.[41]

The film's marketers released branded promotional items with Mountain Dew,[42] Gillette[43] and ING Vysya Bank.[44] A mobile video game based on Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and the La Tomatina festival was released by Jump Games on 19 July 2011 for popular mobile operating systems.[45] OPIUM Eyewear launched exclusive Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara sunglasses[46] to promote the film.

ReleaseEdit

 
Kaif and Roshan at the first look launch of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

The release of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was initially scheduled for 27 May 2011,[47] but was postponed to 24 June[48] and again to 15 July 2011. It was released in 1,800 screens worldwide.[49] A special screening of the film was held at the residence of Shahrukh Khan on 16 July, the birthday of Katrina Kaif. The event was attended by several celebrities, including the film's cast and crew.[50] The far-right political party Shiv Sena criticised the event because it was held three days after the 2011 Mumbai bombings.[51] The producers of the film donated the collections of the film from around 10 theatres in Mumbai to the Maharashtra government as a mark of charity to the victims of the blasts.[52] On 24 March 2012, ZNMD was screened at Bucks New University in High Wycombe, England.[53]

The film was released on DVD on 30 August 2011.[54] It is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 and stereo formats with English and Arabic subtitles.[55] The film is also available on Blu-ray disc.

Critical receptionEdit

The film garnered mostly positive reviews from critics. Based on ten reviews, review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 100% with an average rating of 7.9/10.[57]

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".[58] In his review for Hindustan Times, Mayank Shekhar gave the film four stars 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."[59] Shivesh Kumar of IndiaWeekly awarded the movie 4 stars.[60] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film 3.5/5, 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".[61] 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".[62]

S. Chatterjee of NDTV, gave the film 3/5 stars and said its philosophy is quite old; he 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".[63] Shaikh Ayaz of Rediff rated the film 3.5/5 stars and wrote 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".[64] Kaveree Bamzai of India Today also praised 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.[65]

Subhash K Jha rated Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara 3.5/5 and wrote; "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".[66] Blessy Chettiar of DNA India praised the music and Farhan Akhtar's acting as highlights of the film, saying, "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", giving it 3 stars.[67] 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 performances, highlighting them as one of the main positives of the film, but also said the film's length "sucks some fun of out of the ride" and gave a rating of 3.5 stars.[56] Raja Sen of Rediff said the film "tried too hard to be cool" and gave it 1.5/5 stars.[11]

Ryan Gilbey of The Guardian was broadly positive about the film; he wrote, "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", and that he found the movie "stubbornly un-macho" for a buddy film.[68] The National reviewer Kaleem Aftab, in his 4-star review wrote; "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".[69]

Box officeEdit

In India, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was released alongside Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. It opened well in the multiplexes; the occupancy ranged from 70 to 100 percent,[70] despite receiving average opening in single-screen cinemas except in the metro cities.[71] The film grossed 525 million (US$7.8 million) in its opening three-day weekend,[72] including 73.9 million (US$1.1 million) on its first day,[73] and a net total of 265 million (US$3.9 million) on the third day.[74] After ten days of worldwide showings it grossed 1.08 billion (US$16 million).[75] In 17 days, it grossed over 700 million (US$10 million) in India.[76] With no significant competition other than Singham, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara remained No. 2 at the box office for four weeks after its release. It was one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of 2011 in India and internationally; it was declared a super-hit in India and in overseas territories.[77]

Outside India, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara grossed 120 million (US$1.8 million) in three days, which made it the biggest opening for an Indian film in 2011.[72] The film reached top-twenty lists in the US and UK.[78] It grossed £896,289 in UK, US$3,103,656 in the US, AU$387,384 in Australia and NZ$136,380 in New Zealand.[79] As of January 2012, the film has grossed $7.25 million overseas.[80]

The film grossed 1.53 billion (US$23 million) worldwide, surpassing the worldwide gross of Hrithik Roshan's Dhoom 2 and becoming the ninth-highest worldwide grossing Bollywood film of all time as of October 2011.[3]

ControversiesEdit

After the release of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) objected to the bull-running scene 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 said, "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."[81] Spanish-American artist Charo sent a letter to Zoya Akhtar on behalf of PETA asking her to remove all of the scenes related to the running of the bulls.[82]

AccoladesEdit

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara won two awards at the 59th National Film Awards in the Best Audiography and Best Choreography categories.[83][84] It also won several awards at regional ceremonies, mainly for the 'Best Film' and 'Best Director'; these include the Filmfare Awards,[85] Stardust Awards,[86] Zee Cine Awards,[87] IIFA Awards,[88] Screen Awards,[89] and the Asian Film Awards.[90]

Potential sequelEdit

Following the film's release, Zoya Akhtar said she had an idea of making a sequel to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara; she said, "You never know, I might or may not make a sequel. It all depends on the right content."[91] It has been reported that the actors are expected to reprise their roles in the sequel if it is officially launched.[92] In an interview with Hindustan Times, Roshan said the plot of the sequel could be set five or six years after the events depicted in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and that the characters would be older and would have a reason to go on another trip.[93] As of August 2011, no official confirmation of a sequel had been announced, despite requests from many viewers.[94] After the IIFA ceremony, Farhan Akhtar said there was "no necessity" for a sequel.[95] Later in 2013, in an interview with Hindustan Times, Zoya Akhtar expressed interest in writing for the sequel after completing the filming of her next project, Dil Dhadakne Do, which was released in June 2015.[96]

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