Still from the movie Dear Zindagi.

Still from the movie Dear Zindagi. Look at Alia’s glasses carefully.

Alia Bhatt and Shahrukh Khan starrer Dear Zindgai released on November 25, 2016, and I watched the movie the same day. After a real long time I had watched a movie on its day of release and it was worth the effort; with two kids in tow watching any movie is an effort. And if you have a tween by your side, who can ask uncomfortable questions or laugh at the most inopportune moment……..

During the day I had tried to read a few reviews to gauge public response but seeing the rating varying from 1.5 of Indian Express to 3.5 of NDTV, I chose to watch the movie and decide for myself. And what a treat the movie turned out to be – emotional, intelligent and realistic.

If you have not yet watched the movie, here’s why you should.

1.    Alia Bhatt proves her mettle once again in Dear Zindagi

Alia Bhatt as Kaira has given a very mature performance. You can feel the pathos she is trying to convey and at times identify with it too, because it is society at large that troubles her and we all have gone through that at some point of life.

The conflict in her emotions and thought process is visible in her body language, facial expressions, eyes and dialogue delivery.

If nothing else, you must watch the movie for Alia Bhatt. Watch her playing the role of a confused millennial with such finesse.

2.   We want more of Shahrukh Khan who underplays

Shahrukh….underplay….you have got to be joking. When I saw Shahrukh in Ae Dil Hai Mushquil, I was bowled over by his mature presence. Yes, the presence in each frame was what made him stand out. And I wished that he had more scenes.

My wishes were granted in Dear Zindagi. He does the role of Dr. Jehangir Khan, a psychiatrist, with panache and doles out lots of gyan in a convincing way. No romantic dialogues, no stuttering and no heroines running into his open arms. But intensity in dialogues and body language was very much there. A very lovable and real life character you might meet off screen.

3.   You can identify the characters around you

The characters of Kaira’s parents and extended family were so identifiable. Especially his uncle. His definition of success, settlement in life, good career, etc. were something we often hear around us. The way he said, “Poor girl is upset because she doesn’t even have a job,” when all she was doing was taking a break from her work, gave me a feeling of déjà vu.

Or the poor parents. She throws tantrums, is rude to them and avoids talking to them but they bear it with a smile and hope that everything will be fine one day. Whether they try to correct it or not.

4.   Even my father-in-law liked Dear Zindagi

My father-in-law is a great movie buff and even greater cynic. He believes there has been no hero or heroine worth their salt after Yusuf sa’ab or Hema Malini. Cinema made after the 1990s is complete rubbish and worth a watch only if it’s an action thriller.

His comment after coming out of the theatre was – they have ended up making a good movie (he almost didn’t want to accept the fact!!) and Alia Bhatt acted!!

5.   Contextual and witty dialogues

Movie teasers highlighted witty dialogues and after English Vinglish, Gauri Shinde’s first movie, we had high hopes. And we were not disappointed; not a single dialogue was out of context or boring. Always relevant and entertaining, to the extent of being funny.

Some samples:

My name is Jehangir. You can call me Jug……Can I have a glass of water please….from that jug?

अगर साइकल repair नहीं होता तो उसे recycle कर देता हूँ …..साइकल को recycle…..अगर इंसान ठीक नहीं होता तो उसे भी recycle कर देते हो क्या? (if I am unable to repair the cycle then I recycle it….recycling the cycle……if humans can’t be repaired do you recycle them as well?)

ये बड़ी बात नहीं कि हमारे पास समस्याओं का हल है…बड़ी बात ये है कि हममें उस हल तक पहुँचने का patience है। (it’s not important that we have solution to the problems, what is important that we have the patience to reach that solution.)

6.   It’s okay to visit “dimag ka doctor”

Despite depression and anxiety being very common in India, it is still taboo to be open about mental health issues. It was a pleasant surprise that Dear Zindagi made that its core concept. Kudos to the whole team for doing this in such a sensitive yet entertaining way.

And while at it, the film also talks about gays and lesbians in a very matter of fact way, without insinuations and suggestions.

7.   Dear Zindagi Challenges established norms of life

You must love your parents. A girl must get married by a certain age to a suitable boy. You must have a job that is respectable, aka doctor, engineering, marketing guy, or banker. If you work in the film industry, it’s actually not a real job. And god forbid if you happen to be a girl!!

These and many more such established norms have been challenged in the movie, which I enjoyed. May be I was having a good time at the expense of others. Because I found myself thinking quite a few times, will I be able to do or speak that.


The setting of the movie is a bit easy going in the sense we don’t see the professional struggle of Kaira, but in a way it allows you to concentrate on her confusion and out-of-the-world choices. It’s only when you near the end and get to know her secret that you begin to appreciate her behavior.

The only disbelieving part was the outdoor therapy sessions. If I had a therapist who took me to sea beaches and cycling trails for therapy I won’t mind getting into therapy myself!!

If you have watched the movie do let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And if haven’t watched till now, I will surely want to know why.

Share your thoughts and show your love. Happy commenting.

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