You understand that we don’t think women can only make ladies-type films. Understand also that we don’t have problems with ladies-type films. Ah, so now all that hedging has been done let us ask this question. Why didn’t anyone tell us Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a chick-flick?

This is a movie that has all the hallmarks of a chick-flick. It has close friendship, marriage, dappled leaves, sunsets and landscape shot like Lancome ads, long shots of moony-faced infatuation, a male character who knows enough about jewellery to identify a mummy-ring, suit up scenes in front of the mirror, fantastic settings. It has friends who will intervene to make romance happen. It has childhood pacts and superb decor. The clothes are a step below Aisha but definitely a presence.

It manages a feat that Sarah Jessica Parker and the entire SATC franchise could not manage. It made a Birkin bag an almost full-fledged character. Like classic chick flicks, the settings are clean, shiny and sensual. Like classic chick flicks, the protagonist (Hrithik in this case) is transformed by love, not merely checking off ‘love interest’ as a plot requirement. (No, Delhi Belly, go stand in your, grimy, boyish corner now)

In many ways ZNMD is better than many new chick flicks. Unlike recent Hollywood romantic comedies (also known as ways to make Katherine Heigl more hateful) the protagonists are not subjected to gross public humiliation. It does not centre around a star that necessarily makes the heroine’s best friend look bad. (Aisha was a very baffling in this aspect because it gave everyone except Sonam Kapoor fun things to do).

Of course, the very best way in which this movie beats classic chick flicks hollow is one that bends the Bechdel Test. The Bechdel test is generally a three-step, foolproof way to decide whether women have an active presence in a movie. Are there at least two women in this movie? Do they talk to each other? Do they talk to each other about anything other than a man? Big fail on all counts. Katrina Kaif is very likeable and even Alison Bechdel would think she is cute on a bike but this is not a movie about Katrina, the Spanish chick or even Kalki Koechlin. But the handy-dandy Bechdel would actually be misleading in this case. This is a movie for women viewers except that the protagonists are all male.

The women sitting next to this writer certainly didn’t need any convincing. They gasped, they sighed and they sank into the joy of the objectification of the three best looking men in Bollywood. Acres of bare chest. Lingering shots of brown, male nipple. (some terrible haircuts but let’s ignore that). Rajesh Khanna may have wanted Pushpa to stop crying but Hrithik has never looked as beautiful as he did when he was wet and teary, as sad as the Little Mermaid. Do you really care that Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin did not have self-actualisation?

Now you can decide that this is a terrible political travesty because what is this film industry which has Saif Ali Khan playing a Dalit and men edging women out even in a chick flick. Or you can settle into an experience as close to a spa as cinema can get. You can almost smell the aroma therapy. You know Zoya did.