Dear Zindagi is brought to us by the woman who gave us that gem of a film called English Vinglish. Director Gauri Shinde’s second venture, hitting the screens 4 years after her first release, came with little buzz despite having SRK in it. But the turnout at the theater was quite good, I must say, and if my guess is right, almost half of them must have found the film boring.
Not a conventional Bollywood film by any means, Dear Zindagi has a single-point agenda. And that is to about all things mental health. To this one agenda the film sticks throughout, with Alia Bhatt’s Kaira as the centerpiece. Kaira is messed up young woman. She is promiscuous, unsure of feelings, opinionated about stable relationships, and is caught in a conundrum and is not at peace. We have all been there, done that. But Kaira comes with a past, and it continues to effect her present the way it does, and makes Kaira who she has become. Kaira’s journey from this mess of a life to one that’s shit-free and peaceful, of choosing the easier way for once and making peace with her past, and finally greeting her long-lost Zindagi with a smile, is what you’ll see in the film.
SRK plays a therapist, aka Dimaag Ka Doctor, with poise. I’ve never been a particularly big fan of SRK but in Dear Zindagi, he brings to table one of his finest works in recent times. Yashaswini Dayama, that cute girl last seen in Phobia, gets a meatier role this time around and boy, trust me when I say she’s going to go places. Kunal Kapoor and Angad Bedi are alright and Ali Zafar is charming and sings too! But the hero here is Alia Bhatt. From her SOTY days, she’s come a long way, choosing scripts that give her ample opportunity to experiment and grow as an actor. Dear Zindagi stands on her shoulders and she delivers a standout performance. Take a bow, young lady!
Dear Zindagi might be just a one-time watch, but it is an important film. Important because it is not every day that you get to watch a film that deals with a topic like this. It started with Deepika’s Live Love Laugh Foundation and now Dear Zindagi makes another earnest attempt at giving the issue the weight it deserves. Because, after all, mental health issues are real and they need addressing.
I’m going with 3.25 out of 5! It’s a good time, with no alcohol required! 🙂