Starring Alia Bhatt, Shahrukh Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar and Angad Bedi, Dear Zindagi is Gauri Shinde’s second directorial venture after the Sridevi starrer – English Vinglish. Her first flick had an excellent story and some fantastic acting by Sridevi. It was a movie that had soul and appealed strongly to the heart. Does this one work the same way?
The story goes like this –
Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a cinematographer who is trying to work her way towards directing a feature film. She seems like a determined and career oriented woman who is doing all it takes to succeed starting from ads and short films. But as life goes on, she meets a lot of different men like Angad Bedi, Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar and Aditya Roy Kapur each of whom make a mark in her life in a different way.
A chance encounter with Dr Jehangir Khan (Shahrukh Khan) turns her life upside down. She starts seeing life from a different lens. The rest of the story deals with what all she does to get her meandering life back on track.
The first half is more of a blur than anything else as it establishes the troubles Kaira goes through be it in love or from her parents. At one point, there seem to be too many characters coming along thick and fast. One of the best things this movie does is the fact that it gives Kaira the audacity to speak up and talk to a therapist / psychiatrist about the problems she’s facing in her life.
Generally, things like depression, mental health etc. are laughed at in Bollywood and many other parts of the world. But to Gauri’s credit she portrays Alia and SRK’s sequences with aplomb. While in real life, therapists may not be exactly as SRK, it surely does work in reel life. But the movie does get too preachy at times particularly in the second half.
Amit Trivedi’s music is generally quite funky and different. But this time, none of the songs are chartbusters so to say. But nonetheless the title track, “Tareefon se” and “Tu Hi Hai” are easy on the ears.
From a cinematography perspective, there’s nothing much to talk about since most of the movie is shot in houses, bars or clubs. There are only a few sequences outside in Goa. The editing surely could have been much crisper. This one is surely at least 20-25 minutes too long and moreover the slow pace does get to you at times.
This performance from Alia Bhatt is up there with the best. Whether its the emotional sequences with her parents and Jag or the banter she shares with her friends, she is pretty much perfect. SRK plays his age and after quite a while, he surely looks to be in quite some form. Who wouldn’t want a therapist like him? The rest of the cast doesn’t really get much scope.
All in all, if you are looking for something different, this could be your cup of tea. But don’t go looking for the excellence of English Vinglish in this one.
Rating – 3/5