Dear Zindagi

Author: Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

Dear Zindagi
Year: 2016
Director: Gauri Shinde
Cast: Alia Bhatt, Shahrukh Khan, Angad Bedi, Ali Zafar, Kunal Kapoor

Being young is not always easy. It comes with its own set of insecurities and inadequacies. Dear Zindagi tells us a story of such youth and offers a none-too-subtle life lesson in the bargain.

Gauri Shinde’s debut film English Vinglish was excellent. With Alia Bhat and SRK in her new film does she manage to outdo that effort?

What’s the plot?

Barely into her twenties, a talented young cinematographer (Alia Bhat) has big dreams of making her first feature film but her wandering mind keeps messing up her life time and again. Fleeting romances, floundering relationships and fickle self-confidence come in the way of her happiness. To deal with her problems she approaches a psychotherapist (Shahrukh Khan). How will he make her alright? Will he find something that has been bothering her for years?  Will he succeed in making her look at the brighter side of life again?  

What’s hot?

·       Alia Bhat is superb in the central role. In her short career, she has already played some amazing characters and here too, she portrays the confused, disturbed, angst-ridden young girl to perfection.

·       Shahrukh Khan enters late in the film but his entry spruces up things. He is restrained and impressive as the funny, witty wise-guy, whom the heroine calls ‘DD’ (‘Dimaag Ka Doctor’)!

·       Director Gauri Shinde keeps the film peppy and light-hearted, and yet manages to touch down upon many emotional issues bothering modern young women.

·       The supporting cast playing heroine’s friends, love interests and family members does a good job.

·       Good production values.

What’s not?

·       The story and the dialogues could have been more interesting.

·       The relationships and the conflicts here do not make you empathize.

·       The pacing is uneven. There are times when the film meanders and loses grip.

·       The music is forgettable.


Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi may not be in the same class as English Vinglish but still it is an interesting, contemporary ‘Coming of age’ film, made watchable by Alia-SRK’s chemistry. The film makes no bones about being a message film and the message here is ‘Do not judge yourself and the people around you too harshly. Everyone has faults and frailties. So keep it simple, leave the bitter past behind and get on with life!”

The only hitch is this message comes across in a slightly fuzzy and contrived manner.


3 stars

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