Dear Zindagi Movie Review: Therapy For The Tinder Generation?
Years back, Gauri Shinde made her directorial debut with English Vinglish, a film that marked the comeback of Sridevi and won our hearts with its emotional connect. After dealing the issues and emotions of a housewife and a mother, this time, Gauri lets us explore the psyche of a 20-something urbane girl in Dear Zindagi. But does it work? Read on...
Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a brilliant cinematographer, who lives on her own in Mumbai and dreads the thought of visiting her parents in Goa. Alia also has a messed up love life, as she is commitment-phobic. When Kaira undergoes a heartbreak and also has to vacate her rented house because the landlord doesn't want 'single women' as tenants anymore, she shifts to Goa to be with her parents and bumps into Dr. Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), a maverick therapist.
Over chat sessions, Khan soon realises that Kaira's present is being dictated by her past and slowly starts unravelling it with humour and astute observations. How Jehangir's therapy helps Kaira forms the rest of the plot.
Let us begin by saying that Shinde comes up with a novel concept to explore in this film. How does one find Mr. Right? How can you be sure he is Mr. Right once you find him? What if there are other Mr. Rights? What then?
Alia, who believes in experimenting with her roles (Highway, Udta Punjab et al), has done a decent job in the film and totally impresses you in some scenes, while coming across as average in others- but the lass is dependable for sure. Shah Rukh Khan bids his 'romantic Rahul' persona adieu and is like a breath of fresh air as Dr. Jehangir Khan with his dimpled smile and his warm brown eyes as he helps Kaira through humorous anecdotes, life lessons and other 'gyaan'. Indeed, the film picks up and starts making sense once Khan enters the picture (no pun intended). The superstar is dignified and funny at the same time and manages to strike the perfect balance between gravitas and light-heartedness. However, Khan's actual brilliance lies in his knowing when to sit back and let Kaira lead the scene. Angad Bedi, Kunal Kapoor and Ali Zafar have short roles as the men in Kaira's life at different points of time.
Shinde deserves a pat on her back for effectively and accurately portraying the 'Tinder' generation and driving home the point that a person's present is often the result of his or her past. Kaira may come across as irritating and hypocritical in the first half but as you slowly realise that there is more to the issue, your opinion about the character undergoes a complete change and you may find yourself feeling affectionate towards her. However, it is the first half that meanders and makes you restless while the second half, though long, starts making sense.
However, while Shinde could have stuck to a point and gently hammered it home (like she did in English Vinglish), she takes up an array of issues to discuss fleetingly via this film- single women not getting places on rent, the attitude of parents regarding the career choices and lifestyle of their children, the stigma attached to seeking professional help for mental issues et al. A bit of a focus with regards to the plot and storyline would not have harmed the film at all, we feel. Some of the points made in the film make quite an impact and the scene where Kaira breaks down in front of Jehangir, may surely bring a lump to your throat.
We are not saying that this film is one of the best to have come out this year, but if you are in the mood for something different than the 'run of the mill' fare dished out every week, Dear Zindagi should not disappoint you...
Release Date : 25 November 2016
Director : Gauri Shinde
Genre : Drama