It had been eleven years of ZNMD— almost a decade, and the film still has a huge fan following. This Zoya Akhtar’s movie was the perfect blend of a fantastic star cast, an impressive storyline, exotic locations, and a healthy dose of friendship and happily-ever-afters. It is about a trio of friends— Kabir (played by Abhay Deol), Arjun (played by Hrithik Roshan), and Imran (played by Farhan Akhtar) who go on a bachelor road trip to Spain to celebrate Kabir’s wedding. The trip leads them on a journey of self-discovery and results in changing the course of their lives.
Kabir is a family-oriented, classic people-pleaser— but with a soft undertone to him. Imran on the other hand is loud and dramatic and the comic relief to Arjun’s money-minded, unemotional attitude. Despite the different opinions and viewpoints, their friendship is built on trust, honesty, and acceptance, which is a hard thing to find. The movie not only talks about their friendship but also teaches us various valuable life lessons. Let’s have a look at a few of them!
Money can’t buy happiness
We all want to earn money. We all want to buy that latest branded watch, those new Nike shoes, or that fancy car. And well, that’s impossible if you are broke, jobless, and already in debt. Hence earning money should be a priority— but never the topmost. Monetary things (a Hermès Kelly bag like Bagwati, for instance) will give you a temporary dopamine hit. But the thing about a dopamine hit is that it fades too soon, morphing into an addiction for ‘more’.
For instance, Arjun knew that his workaholic tendencies were already causing a strain on his previous relationship. Yet, he chose his work over it and ended up all alone— well, that was until Laila came along. It was when he realized that while money can make your life comfortable, it could never provide you with the happiness you feel surrounded by loved ones. True happiness comes from within, not from possessions that can be bought.
Spare time for yourself
How often do we find ourselves stuck in a loop of waking up, working 9 to 5, eating takeaways, and living the ultimate, depressing bachelor life? If the answer is often, you need a change (and a road trip might not be the answer to that; you should probably start with adopting new daily habits, but that’s a blog for later).
The point here is, that you ought to spare some time for yourself and your hobbies unless you want to be a part of a new episode of twenty-five and depressed. Let’s take the example of Imran— his poetry (perhaps one of the best parts of ZNMD) kept him at bay during tough times, while Arjun, despite loving cooking, never cooked because, according to him, “time kahan hai?” (Where is the time?)
Even though a road trip to Spain might not exactly be something you can afford, taking a break might just be what you need. You can always go and ring up old friends, or pick up the guitar again. Don’t confine yourself to the same routine daily— as Laila says, “Insaan ko dibbe mein sirf tab hona chahiye jab woh mar chuka ho”. (The only time a man should be in a box is when he is dead)
Learn to forgive and forget
ZNMD teaches us a valuable life lesson— that we should always forgive people for their mistakes, especially if it is someone we love. We’re humans, we hurt each other all the time— both intentionally and unintentionally. Why hold onto the grudges when all it does is magnify the pain?
Imran stole Arjun’s girlfriend four years ago and was unapologetic about the entire ordeal. That is until he meets his birth father— who abandoned him and his mother, and gets a half-hearted apology. It is when he realizes that a sincere apology must come from the heart. So, he apologizes again, and Arjun just smiles— perhaps because he was already forgiven.
Face your fears
In ZNMD, Hrithik’s character was scared of water, and Farhan Akhtar’s character was acrophobic, and all three of them feared death— but they decided to conquer their fears, and we should do the same.
Fear hampers our day-to-day life, and sometimes, all we need is to take the plunge and face them— just as Robert Frost has said, “the only way out is through”.
We live only once
It’s time for the title drop— Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara. Staying true to its title, the movie teaches us that we only get to live once, then why spend it worrying about a future that might never come? We don’t want to be sixty, old and bedridden having nothing to reminisce about but a bleak, uneventful past. We all are breathing, but are we alive? Or are we all just walking corpses tied to our jobs, unfulfilled wishes, and the hope for a better tomorrow?
“Mujhe afsos karna nahi aata”, (I don’t know regret) was what Laila said after she chased down the trio’s 1949 convertible on a bike, right before the scene got a little heated. Not only then, but throughout the movie, Laila is portrayed as a free spirit who enjoys her life to the fullest without any regrets.
Just like Laila, we should ensure that we don’t have any regrets at the end of the day. It’s better just to do it, rather than regret your decision for your entire life. Maybe it’ll work out, maybe it won’t, but you would never know if you don’t try. ZNMD teaches us that the only moment that matters is now— because every moment might as well be our last, so why not seize the day?
ZNMD— the final verdict
Imran Habib says in one of his poems:
“Dilon mein tum apni betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho toh zinda ho tum,
Nazar mein khwabon ki bijliyan leke chal rahe ho toh zinda ho tum…
Hawa ke jhokon ke jaise aazad rehna seekho, Tum ek dariya ke jaise lehron mein behna seekho…
Har ek lamhe se tum milo khole apni baahen, Har ek pal ek naya samha dekhe yeh nigaahen…
Jo apni aankhon mein hairaaniyan leke chal rahe ho toh zinda ho tum,
Dilon mein tum apni betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho toh zinda ho tum.”
It tells us that we are only alive when we live with wonder and childlike curiosity. And perhaps, that is the best way to live.
The movie ends on a good note, where everyone gets their happy ending, but that might not be the case in life. Hence, we must remember that we won’t always be happy, which is perfectly fine because that is what life is all about— not seeking happiness as an end goal but finding happiness within the journey itself.