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  • Shahrukh Khan & Alia Bhatt on ‘Highway’ of Life in ‘Dear Zindagi’

    Alia Bhatt and Shahrukh Khan feature opposite each other for the first time in Gauri Shinde’s ‘Dear Zindagi’. DESIblitz reviews this slice-of-life drama!

    Shahrukh Khan and Alia Bhatt on Highway of Life in Dear Zindagi

    Once again, Bhatt proves that she is an exceptional actress.

    “Life and its amalgamations form the crux of Dear Zindagi,” says writer-director Gauri Shinde.

    The film is depicted in Goa and narrates the story of Kaira (played by Alia Bhatt) a promising cinematographer and lives a happy-go-lucky life.

    However, after the break-up with a film producer (played by Kunal Kapoor), Kaira feels uneasy with her life and seeks therapy from Dr Jehangir Khan aka Jug (played by Shahrukh Khan).

    From the plot, Dear Zindagi promises to be a feel-good, slice-of-life movie. DESIblitz reviews this awaited Gauri Shinde drama!

    To begin with, the central theme of Dear Zindagi is quite similar to English Vinglish, a woman combatting a weakness and making it her strength.

    Gauri Shinde pens a story which is ordinary and simple yet so common. The common factor in both projects is the idea of changing psychology. The zaniness and style of Dear Zindagi remind one of Silver Linings Playbook.

    The narrative touches upon mental health. An issue which is never fully acknowledged or accepted in Asian society.

    According to The Indian Express, only 1 in 10 people with mental health get treatment. We often dismiss symptoms to be just a flying thought or a nightmare, but sometimes we just need to reach out to someone who can help us tackle the root of our issues.

    Shahrukh Khan and Alia Bhatt on Highway of Life in ‘Dear Zindagi’

    As humans: “We choose to walk on tough paths to achieve important things. But sometimes its important to choose the easy path.”

    This is what Gauri Shinde’s objective is in the film. Her aim is clear and to a major extent, she succeeds in pursuing this.

    Plus, the choice of locations is ironic. When we talk about the ‘tough path’, Mumbai, the metropolitan ‘big bad city’ becomes evident of this. However, when it comes to choosing the easy path, we are shown Goa, a serene and smaller city. This seems to work well.

    Shinde’s direction and Laxman Utekar’s cinematography is good. For example, Bhatt has a nightmare and is shown to be falling into mud from a tall construction building.

    The workers sinisterly stare at her, while a group of married women laugh at her. This is a vivid depiction of the human mind’s obscurity. The way Bhatt voiceovers this sequence, enhances the mysterious feel.

    There are also several moments which are heart-warming. An example of this is when Kaira and Jug have an outdoor session on the beach and play Kabaddi with the sea. This brings a smile to your face.

    alia-bhatt

    The therapy sessions between Kaira and Jug are the highlight of Dear Zindagi. 

    Alia Bhatt is the star of the moment. Her last performance in Udta Punjab was outstanding. Once again, Bhatt proves that she is an exceptional actress.

    When she first meets Jug, her monologue whilst speaking to SRK fully exhibits her frustration and confusion. It is her facial expressions and dialogue delivery which do the talking.

    Furthermore, her outburst with the parents on abandoning her and the therapy is truly enticing. The viewer instantly resonates with her pain. It seems like Bhatt is the perfect candidate for winning the ‘Best Actress’ Award at the IIFAs 2017!

    Shahrukh Khan moulds well into the role of Dr Jehangir Khan. From his entry, one becomes connected with the character and he compliments Bhatt well.

    His character is pretty similar to that of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, only this is longer. We look forward to seeing SRK in more mature roles after this!

    It has been a while since we’ve seen Kunal Kapoor on the big screen. He does well in portraying Raghuvendra, a producer and Kaira’s ex. Ali Zafar is Rumi, a musician who loves Kaira. He also supports well. Other supporting cast members such as Ira Dubey and Angad Bedi are decent.

    Any pot-holes? The pacing. The first half is quite slow and the screenplay could have been tighter. But SRK’s entrance enhances the film’s ambience.

    Amit Trivedi’s music is quite situational. Whilst the title track ‘Love You Zindagi’, with Jasleen Royal in the vocals is catchy, the rest of the tracks on the soundtrack are pretty forgettable.

    Also, it would’ve been nice to hear the rehash of ‘Ae Zindagi, Gale Laga Le.’ Having said that, the album isn’t a disaster.

    Overall, Dear Zindagi harbours onto identifying and combating our inner demons. Gauri Shinde competently teaches the audience to live and adapt to every situation in life. Truly, a deserving watch!

    Anuj is a full-time journalism student. His passion is in Film, Television, dancing, acting and presenting. His ambition is to become a movie critic and host his own talk show. His motto is: "Believe you can and you're halfway there."

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