Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) released on Friday to a surprisingly encouraging opening, given that serial blasts had rocked Mumbai again just two days before and the terror alert continued across major cities. That same day, Shah Rukh Khan
hosted a bash for ‘birthday girl’ Parmeshwar Godrej at his bungalow Mannat.
Before the party, there was a special screening of Zoya Akhtar’s movie. It started around 7.30 pm, and present were Shah Rukh and Gauri, Karan Johar, Arjun Rampal, Sanjay and Maheep Kapoor, along with the film’s leads, Hrithik Roshan,
Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol. Katrina Kaif,
who had a shoot and dropped by to visit good friend Salman Khan,
strolled in after the movie and the Khans surprised her with an impromptu birthday celebration since she was turning 27 at midnight.
Shah Rukh was effusive in his praise, as was Karan who described ZNMD as a “roller-coaster ride of heart and soul”. Karan had caught the morning show at INOX earlier because he wanted to watch it with the audience, but returned in the evening for a repeat. Hrithik, who will be seen in Karan’s Agneepath remake next, was delighted when the producer-director told him that ZNMD showed a side to him that he had not seen before.
“Hrithik’s silence speaks volumes and Zoya has made my favourite film in years,” says Karan. Hrithik who drew over a lakh fans to a ‘live’ show in Gurgaon, and braved scratches to prolong his 15-minute act, admits he’s a quiet workaholic like Arjun. He would go ballistic if someone threw away his cell phone, even when he was on a holiday. He gives credit to wife Sussanne for pushing him into going on a reel life road trip through Spain.
Zoya knew only Sussane could convince Hrithik to do the film and so gave them a joint narration. Sussane convinced Hrithik he needed a break from the ‘intense’ roles he’d been playing and do a more ‘carefree’ movie. “She was right, I thoroughly enjoyed the shoot even though I was a long way from home and had to go out every evening in search of soul food,” laughs Hrithik, adding, “I’d grown up bumping into Abhay (Deol) since we moved in the same social circles and knew Farhan and Zoya before Lakshya (2004) and Luck By Chance (2009). But it was fun to connect with them in a more intimate way over the length of the movie.”