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Sarath Ramesh Kuniyl
Sarath Ramesh Kuniyl


Dear Zindagi review: Life lessons

Dear Zindagi review: Life lessons

Har tooti hui cheez jodi ja sakti hai (Everything that is broken can be mended). When Dr Jehangir Khan or Jug (Shah Rukh Khan) looks into Kaira's (Alia Bhatt) eyes and mouths the line, you realise it is, arguably, the most important lesson in life. Words of wisdom for a generation that is commitment phobic and most vulnerable to volatile relationships.

Kaira is no different. A budding cinematographer, she is passionate about her work and is good at it. She cheats on her boyfriend Sid (Angad Bedi) with Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor). Raghu offers her a big break and everything seems to be going fine till he pops the big question. Unable to make up her mind, Kaira develops cold feet. Raghu moves on but Kaira feels cheated and she starts suffering from insomnia once she is back in Goa with her parents.

Enter Khan (hoots and whistles) as a cool and charming therapist whose attire alternates between oh-wow linens and sweatshirts and tracksuits. With his deceptive carefree attitude and engaging 'stories', he peels off Kaira's worries layer by layer, helping her discover the core of her problems.

Is that all, you may ask. Yes, that pretty much sums up the story of Gauri Shinde's second venture—the first being the immensely likeable English Vinglish four years ago. What makes the simple story worth watching are some brilliant performances and hummable tunes composed by Amit Trivedi. Alia nails it as the emotionally vulnerable Kaira, who despises societal definitions of right and wrong, but is unable to do much to change it—much like the creaking chair in Jug's office. Alia's repertoire of films so far would put any budding actor to shame and she adds another feather to her cap with her endearing performance in Dear Zindagi—be it the scene where she bites into a chilli while letting the news of Raghu getting engaged to sink in, or when she confronts her family at a party. A gesture here, a tremble of a hand there, she almost steals the show from the veteran.

Which brings us to the dimpled King Khan, who plays the witty doctor without a trace of sweat. Or so he makes us believe. He plays an ideal foil to the bumbling Kaira, who cracks poor jokes at will. Even as he plays along, you can feel the intensity with which the doctor is working on his patient, trying to put a finger on her problems. With his unkept hair, which has streaks of grey, and untidy beard, Khan, refreshingly, plays his age. He finds himself short of breath while trying to imitate an opera singer or when playing kabaddi with the sea waves. When Alia feels attracted to him, he politely makes her see reason.

The supporting cast, too, plays its part well, with Jakky (Yashaswini Dayama) standing out for her spontaneity. Not to forget the suave singer Rumi (Ali Zafar), who gets the maximum whistles after Khan. Who cares about his nationality.

The film is essentially about relationships—between friends, parents and child, lovers, and even a doctor and his patient. Dear Zindagi encourages you to “not let your past blackmail your present to ruin a beautiful future”.

Film: Dear Zindagi
Director: Gauri Shinde
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt, Ali Zafar, Kunal Kapoor
Rating: 3.5/5

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