Gauri Shinde debut was a stunner with a women-centric subject or more precisely mother-centric subject. It was dealt with finesse like never before. The choice of the characters, the language they speak the degree of melodrama chosen was just perfect. Though the setup was modern, the fundamental problem of a mother being taken for granted she was always been there. Gauri returns back with her second film, and this time she tells a story about embracing life.
Dear Zindagi is a slice of life film. A slice-of-life from the Zindagi of Kaira (Alia Bhatt). She is a cinematographer by profession. She quickly moves from one relationship to another, by saying a goodbye before the other person says. This becomes a pattern and eventually she becomes an insomniac. She decides to visit a therapist, Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan). Jehangir is not a typical therapist. He has a very unconventional way of treating his patients by being extremely friendly and yet maintaining the professional ethics. They have a weekly session, and in due course Jehangir tries to identify the root cause of her problems and guides her. With his smart and causal way of opening up the other person, he lets Kaira know by herself, how she can tackle them.
The first hour of the film is impressive only in parts. Probably a lot do to with the cast (Kaira’s ex-es) and the time spent with them. The screen time with Angad Bedi and Kunal Kapoor are too less to even empathize to even what Kaira is going through. Or it could have been at least effective with the given screen time. All the three guys who were paired with Alia were below average in their delivery. By the way, Ali Zafar is the third guy, and this was kept a secret for obvious reasons. However, in the second hour, Kaira’s issues with her family have been greatly emphasized with wonderful clarity and can bring tears. The second hour is amazing with the gradual but evident changes that Kaira is undergoing.
Shah Rukh reminds of the perfection he delivered in Chak De. Once you watch the film, you might wish there is one such mentor in your life who should have given you the right tuning with which you would have had different and successful approach in winning the battles in your life. Alia was good, especially in the scenes where she seemed confused and lost. The way she narrates the incidents in childhood was special.
Gauri might not have written as perfect a script as English Vinglish, but Dear Zindagi has some life lessons that are universally applicable to every person on the earth. Demystifying that successfully (well, mostly) is a tedious job, especially without getting preachy.
All in all, Dear Zindagi touches your heart in one or more ways. A simple film that might make you say “Dear Zindagi” instead of “Uff yeh Zindagi”.