Want to make a small budget film? It's simple. Have two fairly known names to add some face value to the product, the rest of the cast can be completely unknown and obscure. No need to spend on the story and script writer, there are so many Hollywood films to rip off. Even the locations can be either the same, or concocted or repeated again and again. The background score too can be picked up from somewhere and used, then of course how does it even matter whether it fits a scene or not, it's at least filling the silent space in the movie. And last but not the least, rope in a known music composer but pay him only enough to shell out the banked compositions that can be used. Voila! A small budget film is ready to roll out!
Filmmaker Ashu Trikha's approach towards the long in the pipeline Zindagi Tere Naam is exactly that. There was a phase in Hindi cinema during the '90s when our films were heavily inspired by Hollywood movies. So much so, that they would simply replicate an English film in a Hindi scenario. Zindagi Tere Naam though doesn't belong to the '90s but one look at the film and you know that this project, that's been in the pipelines for nearly seven years, has all those qualities.
ZTN is a blatant, scene by scene lift off of Hollywood classic romance The Notebook which is an adaptation of Nicholas Spark's novel by the same title. Though almost everyone might be aware of this romantic story some way or the other for the million rip offs that have already happened, here's a small gist of the storyline.
An old man, Mr. Singh (Mithun Chakraborty) narrates a story to an old woman whose memory is slipping day by day. The story is about young lovers Siddharth (Aseem Ali Khan) and Anjali (Priyanka Mehta). Anjali belongs to a rich household while Siddharth is a poor man's son. Enters the girl's father (Dalip Tahil in this case) who disapproves this relation and takes the daughter away. Siddharth writes her 365 letters in the entire year but she never receives any. Years pass by and Anjali eventually plans to settle down with another man when destiny makes the two lovers meet again. The film goes back to the elder couple, the old woman soon realizes the story is about the two of them and her memories of the past come rushing back only for a brief moment till she forgets him all over again.
There are far too many errors in the film, other than the obvious lift off, that make for an irksome watch. For instance, the colour tone, cinematography etc. are all jaded. A major portion of the film, all that follows in the flash back, is based in the '70s and except a vintage car, there's nothing that really projects that era. Even at that, the only scene where the vintage car is shown has a Honda City parked right behind and clearly visible!
If there's one thing that makes this film worth a watch, it's Mithun Chakraborty. The actor displays his prowess as he delivers some of the best moments of the film. Ranjeeta on the other hand appeared very stony and taut. Aseem Ali Khan does a fairly decent job as a debutant but Priyanka Mehta makes the film hard to watch.
The dialogues are uninspiring, music lacks melody and the background score is highly melodramatic. Even the costumes, specially of Priyanka Mehta are garish and eye sores.
Over all, Zindagi Tere Naam, that eventually releases after seven years being in the making was best unreleased. Watch The Notebook again instead.