Dear Zindagi - Review
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You are writing a letter to life. You start, “Dear Zindagi,” (Dear life). Obviously, you are going to end up philosophizing a lot. And that's exactly what the film does too. It tries to weave that into a story of a young, confused, urban girl. But, we know it is all a metaphor and Dear Zindagi actually wants to talk to you. Ironically, this is where it loses all connect with you.
Given Shah Rukh Khan is doing a lot of the pep talk, you'd think the connect is lost because of is all-knowing smirk. It's not. In fact, for most parts you look at him and hear him as Jehangir Khan. And it really is great when this happens. Alia Bhatt too is her usual refreshing self, even when her character is reflecting on the big doses of philosophy being thrown her way.
However, the confused, urban girl and her problems are only as interesting as a confused, urban girl's problems can be. Sure, I want her to sort herself out and see her life beyond her problems. But, I don't want to sit with her through her therapy sessions. This is not apathy, it is a response to jerky screenplay and a protagonist whose problems that I understand but don't engage with.
At first glance, you could say you feel the disconnect because Kaira seems to be living a pretty decent life - good at her work, good friends, romantic attention from the kind of guys she likes. “She has no problem”, you might want to say, “What do I root for?” Herein lies Dear Zindagi's agenda. It is ok for you to be unhappy even if most things are going your way. There is no need to be hard on yourself, it says.
It is a noble enough cause, one that propagates – we ought to be comfortable with ourselves even when we are unhappy. Unfortunately, to make a fictional film, it needs solid characters with an engaging story that binds them together. And to acknowledge that a poor joke is poor or a deep philosophical quote is a too deep, doesn't make either of those less tacky.
Kaira's character is totally imaginable as a girl you'd know, the kind who uses her rudeness on her sleeve while it actually is a coping mechanism of sorts. She has her reasons to be that way, but Dear Zindagi shows them to you too late to be able to fit the complicated puzzle that Kaira makes herself out to be.
I am glad that we know very little about Jehangir Khan. He's a therapist who seems to know what he is doing. And that is pretty much all we need to know. And the unique chemistry between Kaira and Jehangir is played out well by the two actors too.
The disoriented feeling then comes from the breaks into Kaira's life, her friends, etc. It is a little too plain, a little too long, a little too repetitive. A crisper, even if not a more enticing, slice of her life would have had a better impact. Dear Zindagi is one of those very few films that start out drab and pick up steam in the second half. While it is nice to have a well-founded set-up, if it is dull it becomes even more difficult for the story to hook you.
It is a shame then that a film that had all the right things to say; that had capable actors to say them the right way; that had characters who could have kept your thoughts from going astray doesn't do it all too well. It is a film different from the norm which by itself wins some points, but not quite enough.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: None
- Language: Derogatory language muted
- Nudity & Sexual content: Mention of sex and a lip-to-lip peck
- Concept: coming of age of a girl who had a troubled childhood
- General Look and Feel: A warm, cushy feeling.
Dear Zindagi - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Hope Productions, Dharma Productions, Red Chillies Entertainment
- Producer: R. Balki, Karan Johar, Gauri Khan
- Director: Gauri Shinde
- Lead Cast: Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan
- Supporting Cast: Ali Zafar, Kunal Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Angad Bedi, Ira Dubey, Yashashwini, Rohit Saraf
- Cinematography: Laxman Utekar
- Editor: Hemanti Sarkar
- Music Director: Amit Trivedi
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 150 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Philosophy, Relationships, Romance
Dear Zindagi - Trailer
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