Film: Dear Zindagi
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt, Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar, Angad Bedi, Ira Dubey
Director: Gauri Shinde
Producers: Karan Johar, Gauri Shinde, Gauri Khan
Whenever Shah Rukh Khan chooses to essay an unconventional character, he just nails it! ‘Dear Zindagi’ too is not an exception! Gauri Shinde’s ‘Dear Zindagi’ comes four years after her exceptional debut with Sridevi starrer ‘English Vinglish’ (2012). The film with a smart professional female protagonist is unusual and challenges the male-dominated Bollywood’s conventions (where women are subordinated in most mainstream projects) in many ways. Kaira (Alia) visiting a psychiatrist to seek help strongly confronts our society’s tendency to equate every kind of mental illness to madness.
The story goes like this: Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a budding cinematographer, who dreams of making it big in life. She is working on commercials and small projects but is waiting for her big break. And when she finally gets it, she is confused whether she bagged the project due to her talent or good looks. Alia despises her parents (surprising in a film co-produced by Karan Johar) and moves to Goa when her landlord asks her to vacate as she is ‘single’! Angad Bedi plays her ex, Kunal Kapoor her current and Ali Zafar her future boyfriend. Dr Jehangir Khan/Jug (Shah Rukh Khan) is a caring, charming and witty life coach. He advises Kaira on how to tackle the challenges life throws at her, handle relationships and stay happy.
The entire film is a conversation between Alia and SRK, which is enlightening but at times comes across as a bit long-drawn. Despite a faltering narrative, the film scores on beautiful dialogues and of course Amit Trivedi’s music. It’s a film with which everybody can relate to.
SRK (who appears in the film almost 40 minutes after the opening credits and is to be found nowhere towards the end) rocks it in his extended cameo! The 51-year-old actor’s enthusiasm to experiment with roles also deserves mention. Alia Bhatt is sometimes irritating but adorable and is just brilliant in the movie! We don’t know about Kaira the cinematographer, but Alia the actress is surely going to go places. (Not just us, SRK himself certified Alia on ‘Koffee With Karan’ where he termed her ‘one of the finest actors of the generation’). The movie makes you look forward to life the moment you walk out of the cinema hall! Gauri Shinde, take a bow!