Film Review: Dear Zindagi
Date: 25 November 2016
Director: Gauri Shinde
Cast: Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan, Kunal Kapoor
Rating: 3.5 stars
The film opens to an ad shoot; the cinematographer lugs heavy camera equipment on her back and offers suggestions to the filmmaker. You discover Kaaira is a tough negotiator and this is probably a film about her aspirations!
Post pack up Kaaira is on a night out with friends, living it up on the dance floor and you realize that this may well be a film about friendship.
The subsequent scenes reveal that every man Kaaira befriends – restaurateur/ filmmaker/ musician all lose their heart to her but she is unable to sustain interest and restless to move on.
When the story shifts to Goa post interval you suspect this is going to be a film about parental conflict but there are more surprises in store.
On an assignment Kaaira overhears Mental Health doctor Jahangir Khan and meets him again and again at his cozy clinic, on the beach and on a bicycle ride. During their various interactive sessions Kaaira finds answers she has been looking for all her life and so do we as an audience.
This is not a film about a specific relationship it’s about life, its various colors and moods.What is attractive about the film is that it is unpredictable.Just in the way Gauri Shinde’s debut film English Vinglish was apparently about gender gaze but in reality more, Dear Zindagi also is about our deep rooted insecurities and people’s perceptions about us.
What works about the film is that it addresses issues related to Mental Health and portrays the hero in the role of a life coach. Contemporary in content; Shah Rukh in a specific scene, compares relationships to chairs, a delicate issue but the argument is completely logical. The message is positive and the treatment sensitive.
What does not work is the pace. The beginning is slow and wanders endlessly before arriving to the core. The film picks up when Alia Bhatt meets up Shah Rukh Khan and when she tells him her story, it is not just Dr Jehangir Khan but the audience is riveted!
Dear Zindagi addresses our youth and present times. Three reasons to watch the film are: Shah Rukh Khan, director Gauri Shinde and the best performer in the film, Alia Bhatt.