Dear Zindagi :
Coming in the wake of a string of Bollywood back numbers begin with new covers like Rock On 2, Tum Bin 2, Force 2, Dear Zindagi is a whiff of fresh air that could blow away the genual backwardness that was threatening to live around us.
A girl interrupted several times over and at a loose end as a consequence finds a savior in the form of an elegant,
sweet-talking reduce who pulls her out of the psychological trough.
That might sound like an overly simple logline for a film about a psychoanalyst and a comely patient with serious relationship issues.
But with Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan, that is the order in which their names appear in the opening credits delivering an enjoyable on-screen duet, you simply cannot take your eyes off the screen.
Dear Zindagi is a big Bollywood movie that gets the heart and spirit of a small, independent film. It is obviously that much the better for it.
This is a film that the entire team, specially writer director Gauri Shinde, cinematographer Laxman Utekar, sound designer Debashis Mishra and film editor Haimanti Sarkar, can be proud of without a shred of doubt.
Dear Zindagi is beautifully written and delectably crafted and also superbly acted. It floors you with its intentionally pacing, uncluttered simplicity.
When they first meet her, the apparently happy Kaira (Alia), a director of photography and wannabe filmmaker awaiting her big break in the movie industry, is struggle with the dishonest men in her life.
They simply cannot keep speed with her ticking mind and wavering heart. To add to her sadness, Kaira has major issues with her Goa-based parents who cannot figure out exactly what the girl is up to in Mumbai.
At the end of her rope and unstable by dire thoughts, Kaira turns to Dr. Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) for counseling.
The sessions assume the proportions of a game that helps Kaira see that she has only been remove the surface of life.
Jehangir aka Jug the name occasions a deadpan pun, zara paani dena, Jug – shows her how there is a similarity between finding the right chair at a furniture shop and picking the right life partner between a host of available options.
Dear Zindagi is as good as, if not better than, all the Hindi films with female ‘heroes’ that we have seen in recent months.
The film does harp on the fact that Kaira, as a camerawoman, is a girl in a male dominated world, but the screenplay does not let her gender identity get in the way of her being describe as an individual crossing the ups and downs of life.
Shinde is at the top of her game here, mining the charms of her two lead actors to perfection to deliver a film that is quietly hypnotic.
She chooses her speed and sticks to it all the way through a runtime of two and a half hours, a sure sign of trust in her material. For once the length does not weigh heavy at all.
On the flip side Dear Zindagi, nice at most times, sometimes tends to fight towards the simplistic. But it pulls back just in the nick of time so that too much damage is not done.
SRK’s introduction scene it comes 50 minutes into the film might have done with a little more thought.
Dear Zindagi pulls at the heartstrings. It is also loaded with fine humor. But what works above all is that the pop philosophy and psychology that underlines the drama at the film’s core is not the at least bit soft.