A cloistered piece examining the vulnerable anxieties, fear and confusion of today's twenty somethings; Gauri Shinde's DEAR ZINDAGI is continuously absorbing but lacks the emotional resonance to make it 'completely' satisfying.
Nevertheless, the impeccable performance of Alia Bhatt (her best till date) and the irresistible charm of Shah Rukh Khan as an actor and not as a superstar plus the slice of life cache that cuts its path to the urban heart strings manages to stir the soul of the multiplex audience, although appeal may not be as deep or long-lasting as Gauri Shinde's magical debut ENGLISH VINGLISH.DEAR ZINDAGI WALLPAPERS
Gauri Shinde's screenplay undergoes a strange 'hu tu tu' with itself at places, playing kabbadi where we sense things getting touched but left alone at some point giving an indication that repeated change of minds have occurred during the making of this story where a lively free-spirited single Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a talented cinematographer fighting a lone battle with her inner demons, break ups, sleepless nights, the traditional idea of love and the concern of parents which she finds unnecessarily nagging.
A suave charming therapist Dr Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh) tames the vulnerable and rebellious Kiara into a controlled, balanced individual who has a better perspective of life, more acceptability and open mindedness in her approach towards people, things and situations.
Gauri Shinde's screenplay has some indie moments like the one when SRK argues the concept of looking for all specialties in one relationship, why not have special friends for coffee, a special friend for books, movies, food etc. why the need to put burden of all in one romantic relationship? At least the point is noted if not taken. Coming from the widely accepted 'King Of Romance' SRK, who is famous for his one love one life philosophy that is accepted with 'open arms' amongst the followers of Bollywood romance around the world makes it more intriguing. However, the same consistency in the independency of thoughts is missing and the insertion of half baked episodes like the cycle repair, SRK's secrets and how he copes with his inner demons, the 'gyan' on parents and parenting are introduced but are either left untouched or half baked as mentioned earlier.
As an argument, after ENGLISH VINGLISH, I have found Gauri to be a better filmmaker then Balki. Gauri's biggest USP is her characterizations and here too she hits the bull's eye with the female version of our WAKE UP SID's in Kiara (Alia Bhatt) - the confused male heroes that began with Saif Ali Khan's character in DIL CHAHTA HAI finds a woman protagonist for a change... is it the KI & KA influence.. just kidding.
Anyways Gauri's narration is free flowing like water and absorbing though the script gets more talkative in the second half and gets locked in the indoors failing to explore the exotic beauty of Goa to its full potential.
The 'gyan' (lessons) on parenting and the advice on how to look at our parents when we grow as adults sounds good in its philosophical term but somehow it fails to match the deep thought in the simplified execution.
Technicalities are notable in this movie which showcases rich production values where Laxman Utekar's cinematography is marvelous and the costume designing and attractive decor deserves special mention.
But more than the soul stirring aspects targeted at the urban audience, DEAR ZINDAGI is a film of top acting powers.
Continuing her roll of sterling performances in HIGHWAY, UDTA PUNJAB Alia Bhatt creates a superbly observed and nuanced Kiara a young 20 something vulnerable ruled by her anxiety and fears who gets solace in sharing from her heart with a man double her age and double the charm she has found in her series of flop encounters with men. Alia remarkably plays with the audience with her mood swings, keeping them guessing, involved, and rooting for her. Superlative top notch act. The actress is lucky to receive roles that offer layers for an actor to perform and she excels.
DEAR ZINDAGI is a highlight in the career of SRK who for a change plays Dr Jehangir Khan and not the King Khan Shah Rukh Khan we know, looking dapper. He even gives a new 'gyan' on relationship which is in contrast to his one love one life agenda and gets some smart lines as well like 'don't let your past blackmail your present to ruin a beautiful future. Irresistibly charming as ever!
Music By Amit Trivedi is okay. Hemanti Sarkar's editing needed some trimming. The supporting cast Aditya Roy Kapoor, Angad Bedi, Ira Dubey,Kunal Kapoor, Keshav Uppal , Ali Zafar chip in with valuable support.
The chemistry between SRK and Alia is enchanting. In a rarest of rare occasion SRK makes way for his co-star to enjoy all the limelight as a protagonist and keeps himself 'cool' with a solid supporting act.
All said and done, DEAR ZINDAGI is an impeccably performed touching if not everlasting adage on life and relationship with some soul stirring moments hailing the power of Alia Bhatt as a super performer and SRK as the irresistible cool charmer minus the super star's 'arm spread' we all know.
Looking for a decent time with your near ones this weekend then DEAR ZINDAGI is your ticket.