On Bollywood’s depiction of female friendships, the star-studded cast of female leads, and more.
By Khushi Shah
Female friendships are rarely dealt with in Indian films and there’s no subtle or nicer way to state this. We do have movies like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), Cocktail (2012), Jia Aur Jia (2017), and Mujhse Dosti Karoge (2002), but there’s no detail; no nuance to the bond between two women, and barely any development. Either the journey leads up to a love story between a male and female lead, or doesn’t even touch on the idea of how two women behave with each other. I hate to break it to you guys, but men aren’t always the hot topic when it comes to women’s conversations (see: the Bechdel Test). Female bonds can consist of sweetness, bitter fights, spice, and even bizarre situations. However, there’s nothing more comforting than a woman’s support, love, and loyalty – something us women will all know. Please retire the age-old trope that women can’t be friends. We’re tired. Aren’t you?
A comparison to Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011): what we liked, what we didn’t, and what we hope Jee Le Zaraa will include or leave out
Bollywood has always made a lot of movies about male friendships and their life journeys, but not much about women. In 2001, a group of boys went to Goa in Dil Chahta Hai to celebrate their graduation and vowed to return there every year. In 2011, three lifelong friends, Kabir, Imraan, and Arjun took a road trip through Spain instead of throwing a traditional bachelor party for Kabir in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. It’s high time that Bollywood takes this road trip culture a step further with a girls’ trip, featuring the three huge divas Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who will hit the road with Jee Le Zaraa.
Dil Chahta Hai is a must-watch for those who are just getting into the road trip genre of Bollywood movies. Firstly, I really enjoyed the screenplay and location. It was shot in Mumbai, Goa, and Australia over the span of three months, and each setting had something to offer culturally. The fresh storyline about three friends who go through numerous transitions and metamorphoses also appealed to me, and I enjoyed how Akaash, Sid, and Sameer were a trio of friends for life, who’ve experienced ups and downs, but ultimately always had each other’s backs. Moreover, all of the tracks on this award-winning album were phenomenal, with my personal favourites including “Tanhayee,” “Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe,” “Dil Chahta Hai,” and “Woh Ladki Hai Kahan.” I definitely want an extraordinary soundtrack for Jee le Zaraa, as those always add masala, and I’m looking forward to more road tunes to blast during my own road trips, once COVID ends.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is the epitome of the full roadtrip package, filled with excellence, comedy, bromance, romance, and lifelong lessons. When Arjun is portrayed as a workaholic, we understand that everyone needs a break once in a while and work is not the most essential thing in one’s life, a lesson that I thought was very relevant in this day and age. Hrithik Roshan’s character realises how much life he has missed out on when he joins his friends on the trip, and he learns how to seize the day. I was very entertained with how the boys picked up different sports that the others fear, like scuba diving, skydiving, and the running of the bulls, to challenge each other, learn to trust their gut, and get their fears out of their systems. The chemistry between Hrithik and Katrina Kaif was undeniable as well, and the entire soundtrack was the icing on the cake for this movie.
I’m looking forward to seeing similar elements in Jee Le Zara, as Alia and Katrina are really good friends off-screen, as well as how the whole trio will interact, with a plot revolving around loyalty, forgiveness, and gut-wrenching experiences, as seen in ZNMD. However, it would also be exciting to see some hints of each character’s love story, as previously done in Dil Chahta Hai. What I personally don’t want is for the movie to be a drag, or overly filled with intense emotions and drama, which could be seen a little in the aforementioned two movies. What I’m hoping for is a short film about female companionship that will revitalise the genre.
What we know so far
Not much has been revealed about the movie so far, only fan speculation based on their analysis of the teaser. The audience can expect the same type of shenanigans to occur as in most other Bollywood road trip movies. According to Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ Instagram post, the movie is about sisterhood, friendship, and breaking the mould. As soon as the makers announced the news, fans joined to celebrate. “OMG! Will be awesome to see you all in a film together. Can’t wait for this!” wrote one fan, while another mentioned, “This is big!” Jee Le Zara is expected to release in the summer of 2023 and is written by Farhan Akhtar, who will return to directing after a long hiatus. Honestly, we’re excited to see how Alia, Katrina, and Priyanka will surprise us in this film, as it already sounds revolutionary.