Jokes about teachers. Fights over girlfriends. Silly word games. Bare chests. Rippling muscles. Streaked hair. Sigh. Glossy looking and beautifully written. I must confess by the time I finished watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara I was convinced that no one can make a bromance as beautifully as a woman.
The film is gentle, taking time out to look at horses running in the meadows, feel the wind the air, swim with the fish underwater. All that male beauty may be a little manipulative and the plot is a little contrived--three adventure sports to test your courage--but the story keeps you engaged.
A meditative take on growing up, becoming a man, taking responsibility for one's actions, it has the courage to go for long periods with no dialogue. A scene where Hrithik Roshan does a Finding Nemo and another where the boys discover the joys of sky diving is all about just being. Seizing the moment. Living for the day. Yes, yes, cliches all, but shot with such sisterly care that the boys flourish in the female gaze.
Naturally the trip to Spain is not just a trip. It is a journey of the soul. There's Kabir whose family runs a contruction company. There's Imran, a copywriter who is a poet in his spare time (and fortunaely writes Javed Akhtar style poems). And there's Arjun, a stockbroker who lives in London and has trouble with committment. So that'sAbhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar and Hrithik Roshan. And naturally the love of a free spirited good woman Katrina Kaif will cure Hrithik of his permanent state of melancholy.
Lots of manly tears. Even more bare chests on the beach. And many more scenes of drinking wine and tossing back shots (where the women give as good as the men get). It's all very glamorous. And very seductive. Yet the film pulls you in, partly because of the frank, unvarnished performances by its leads. Hrithik is lovely as Arjun, shorn of the pretence that his recent performances have shown. Farhan is sensitive, soulful and perfectly capable of reading out his father's poetry. And Abhay for a change is playing the rich brat who is virtually pressganged into marrying his family friend Kalki Koechlin, giving a perfectly posed performance as a spolit little madam.
My favourite moment of the film? Not the showy moment when Hrithik discovers the meaning of life with one deep sea dive with Katrina Kaif. Or when Farhan confronts his pot smoking ageing painter dad-can't tell you who he is, but it's a lovely piece of casting. Or even when Abhay decides he has to run with the bulls.
It's when the three boys are sitting together on their last day, drinking, singing the Doordarshan theme song.
Lovely. A bromance that has more style and heat than most rubish romcoms. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara? It's a film you will want to watch dobara.