One Hundred Fifty Minutes of an Emotional Road Trip: A Review of the Bollywood Movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’

A film that emphasizes the value of friendship.


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Here is a location shot taken in Spain, one that the friends in ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ drove by, during the trip that transformed their lives.

Two hours and thirty-three minutes. That’s how long it takes to watch the Bollywood movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,’ and to see the story of Imraan, Kabir, and Arjun. Within that time, the director Zoya Akther manages to tell a true story of brotherhood and friendship through the characters and their trip to Spain.

‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ was released in India in 2011. Today, you can watch the movie on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Apple TV (subscription required) in order to experience views of Spain and takes on friendship through the eyes of the movie’s writers, Farhan Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar, and Reema Kagti.

‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ in Hindi translates to “we’ll never get to live life again.” In other words, it means that you’ll never get the opportunity to live life after this very moment. Right now, you have decided to read this article. Five minutes ago you may have taken the biggest risk of your life, and two hours ago you may have just finished working through a task that was both physically and emotionally draining. This movie shows all of these moments in the lives of Arjun, Kabir, and Imran and what they do to transform their lives to let go of their suffering.

 Lean back and relax because you’re in for an adventure when you begin watching this movie. Set mainly in Spain, it depicts the ups and downs of a friendship between three childhood friends — Kabir, Arjun, and Imran. The film opens with Kabir proposing to Natasha and her replying with a yes. The film quickly moves to the story of the friendship of three individuals. Fast forward to them visiting Spain, where no one is ready for what awaits them at the end of three weeks. The movie is a story of how a road trip through Spain transforms the lives of the three friends for the better. At the end of the day, according to  Sirajum Munira ’24, “the friendship between the characters, Kabir, Arjun, and Imraan” is what this movie is about, and I couldn’t agree more.

The movie is designed to show the different lives in ways that are calmer in the first half of the movie and then reveal the drama that ensues once they all return to being friends. Zoya Akther manages to transform the film in the second part where she elaborates on all of the storylines that were vaguely alluded to in the first part. Kabir was characterized as a man who will do quite anything to please his fiance. But this trip transforms him and allows him to believe that all the relationship is doing is to harm him, and to prevent him from being himself.

When he confesses to his friends that he is unsure about the relationship and didn’t even want to propose in the first place, they decide to hold a competition. The competition will be a release of the identities of three friends. Imraan will finally become the poet that he has managed to hide for so many years. Arjun will become the free-spirited adventurer who leaves behind a rigid lifestyle. Kabir will regain his identity as a free spirit and stop feeling guilty and a burden of false relationships. 

A scene from the movie, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, where the friends really understand the importance of their friendship. Photo Credit: Niha Roy

The film’s continuous spontaneity is beautifully demonstrated by the actors. Farhan Akhtar, one of the scriptwriters, who also plays Kabir in the movie, manages to write simple dialogue. There isn’t much depth to the dialogue except when it comes to the more emotional parts.

During their verbal fights, all they do is point out the past. There isn’t much room for emotion in the dialogue. However, the actors manage to display the emotion that their words lack in so many different ways. The agitated and confused expressions worn by the actors in many of the scenes manage to tell the tale of their friendship, one that includes a lot of ups and downs, but one that is built upon a lot of love and respect for each other.

Muntaha Rashid ’23, president of the Bronx Science Hindi Cinema Club, says the movie succeeds because of its memorable characters. “My personal favorite is Arjun and his journey about cherishing the little moments in life, instead of planning for the future. It shows the value of true friendship and how our lives are meant to be filled with adventures and fun memories,” Rashid said. The ways in which the actor Zoya Akther managed to shape the character of Arjun is something that defines the film. The characters of Imraan and Kabir were beautifully written, but Arjun’s character development truly made the movie.

The characters are what made this movie special, and they are what makes one keep watching it. ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ is truly a feel-good movie and is just what is needed when you want to experience a friendship that we all wish we had.   

“My personal favorite is Arjun and his journey about cherishing the moments in life, instead of planning for the future. It shows the value of true friendship and how our lives are meant to be filled with adventures and fun memories,” said Muntaha Rashid ’23, president of the Bronx Science Hindi Cinema Club.