Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) proved to be one of the biggest films of 2011. Besides the box office success, it won at practically every single award ceremony this year, including the National Awards.
Understandably, Zoya and her assistant director on the film, Reema Kagti, are ecstatic about ZNMD being nominated once again, this time for ‘best story’ at the forthcoming IIFA Awards. Zoya says, “It feels great. It’s the last award ceremony of the year, and we’re hoping for the best.”
What made ZNMD so popular? Zoya says, “From the feedback I received, the audience connected with the thought that you’ve got to enjoy life to the fullest, and make the most of what you have.” In fact, she admits that most people saw her first film, Luck By Chance (LBC, 2009) only after ZNMD.
What was common to both Zoya’s films was an ensemble cast. Was it challenging to bring together so many stars? “LBC had a bigger star cast. But no, it wasn’t very difficult. And honestly, it’s the more, the merrier for me. I love working with an ensemble cast,” she says.
Both her films also found their audience with a young crowd. Ask Zoya if that was a conscious decision at the outset, and she says, “Yes, both the films have a very young feel to
them, but they’re also family entertainers. I don’t write a story based on any particular theme.”
Reema Kagti, who co-wrote ZNMD with Zoya, adds, “A story is not just about what people will like. We have to fall in love with the concept ourselves.”
Ask Zoya what her next project is going to be, and she says, “We’re just starting work on a new script. Apart from that, I’ve done a short film with three other directors to celebrate the centenary of Bollywood.”