‘Dear Zindagi’ opens up on a very positive note portraying the female lead as a strong and successful cinematographer who is good at her and has a confident personality. This is a welcome change in Bollywood where the female protagonist doesn’t have any other work than wearing shiny clothes and dancing throughout the movie.
The very next scene is able to intrigue us further when the female protagonist Kaira (played by Alia Bhatt) is shown having a fling with her colleague Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor), while still in a relationship with her boyfriend Sid (Angad Bedi). The initial scenes of the movie make us very interested in knowing more about the girl Kaira and increases our curiosity to see how her story unfolds.
Even though the initial scenes are fascinating, the movie after this become slow moving. There is just a lot of talking and we come to realize that the confident and independent Kaira is just a girl who is haunted by her past insecurities. She has serious issues while committing to someone and cannot go beyond a phase in her relationships.
Alia does a commendable job of portraying the complicated and messy role of Kaira and is able to develop the feeling of sympathy in the audiences. Even with the powerful performance by Alia, the film is not able to hit a chord in our hearts like English Vinglish.
The main problem with the movie is that it could have been an emotionally compelling movie, but it ended up being just another cliché.
The natural and repeatable emotions which English Vinglish was able to portray is lacking in Dear Zindagi. Another big problem with the family entertainer movie was the fact that the movie gets interesting only in the second half and remains slow moving in the first.
The second half of the movie shows a charming performance by Shah Rukh Khan as Jehangir Khan, a Dimag ka doctor or DD as referred by Alia and her friends. Although the role, as well as, his performance is very compelling, it fails to impress us much because of the clichéd dialogues like, “Don’t let your past blackmail your present to ruin a beautiful future.”
Even though the film is not as phenomenal as English Vinglish, but it has managed to make people think about mental illness as more than a social stigma and with a power-packed performance from its protagonist, the movie could have been a phenomenal watch. Nevertheless, it can be watched once for the sake of Alia’s performance.
The biggest strength of the movie is the powerful performance by Alia Bhatt. She is able to portray the character of complicated and complex Kaira very efficiently and even makes us sympathize with her.
Another positive aspect about the movie is that it helps us to understand the fact that like physical injuries, mental illness are also a part of human problems.
The entry of Shah Rukh Khan after the interval was also a major boost for the movie Shah Rukh was marvelous and amazing as Jehangir Khan. Dear Zindagi is also one of those movies which is carried solely on the shoulders of the female protagonist and is a welcome change in the otherwise male-dominated movies. The direction of the family movie as well as the climax conversation between Alia and Shah Rukh is a must watch.
The movie wasn’t able to hit a chord among the audience like English Vinglish. English Vinglish had a very natural and repeatable story line and the enthralling performances made it a phenomenal success.
‘Dear Zindagi’ which had immense potential to create an emotionally stirring movie couldn’t lift up to the expectations. Another major drawback of the family entertainer movie was that it only got interesting in the second half and the first half of the movie had very little to offer.