Remember those early 1990s movies where the hero resembled Vivek Mushran and many scenes were shot in Manali’s forests? Zindagi Tere Naam (ZTN) brings back those memories – with a twist or two. Opening with the magnetic Mithun as a grey-haired ‘aam aadmi’ helping a confused Ranjeeta (grim in her 1980s flicks, still looking serious) at a nursing home, ZTN travels through a love-story’s tortuous – and unwittingly funny – moments.
Cut to 1975; Siddhartha (Aseem) is a long-haired, soft-faced young feller cutting wood in Dalhousie. He makes and plays, ahem, violins with his father (Sharat Saxena, Ghulam’s fearsome boxer-villain Ronnie). Siddhartha sees Anjali (Priyanka) emerge wet from a lake and obviously falls in love with her. When she mocks his offers to make dosti (always a code), he jumps into a river, impressing her with his love – yes. It’s that kind of movie. As they cuddle, you can’t help giggle at the tacky sweetness of it all.
When Anjali’s posh parents (fresh-looking Dalip Tahil, impressively iron- jawed Supriya Karnik) object, things fall apart. Siddhartha nobly forsakes heartbroken Anjali but writes her 365 letters – intercepted by mummy – while she turns to rich Vishal ( Ashish) who’s got good looks, pink T-shirts and a tiny role. Almost engaged, Anjali discovers Siddhartha’s built her dream house and is waiting for her to return.
It sounds trite – and much of it is – but ZTN has a few surprises too. Dia Mirza pulls off an item number while the leads do decently, Aseem resembling a protein-fed Prateik Babbar. With an annoying habit of flicking his locks back, he needs a few hairclips while Priyanka needs a designer who won’t dress her in bar-girl chic. The time-travel’s well-edited and Sajid-Wajid’s music is pleasant. In sensitive moments, ZTN captures the pain of losing a parent, the sweet, unanswered misery love is. But it’s stamped all over with that peculiar 1990s feel, featuring howlers like ‘Pahariyan unke pyaar se bheegne lageen’, violins played without moving fingers, woodcutting boy building an English manor. Prolonged twists include someone getting Alzheimer’s, thereby requiring the love-story be told – repeatedly. At this point, the guy sitting next to me went, “Uffff.” That said it.
Rich Anjali loves poor Siddhartha but moves onto posh Vishal – who wins Anjali’s love?