Bollywood Film Review “Dear Zindagi”

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First, the Recap:

Isn’t it human nature to want to be seen as having the ideal life, exuding confidence both personally and professionally to all those around us so as to feel the sense of approval and self-satisfaction of achievement? The unsurpassed, unparalleled , faultless life. Yet, reality dictates that imperfection is waiting for us as well, and dealing with it can be a very sobering wake-up call. Rising cinematographer Kaira (Alia Bhatt) has much to be grateful for. With the support of close friends and a career showing major promise, it seems she has it all.  In love, however, things don’t run smoothly, as Kaira’s hidden insecurities about on-set fling Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor) and back home boyfriend Sid (Angad Bedi) boil over, causing her to ultimate run from both, even further heartbreak looming on the horizon.

Despite the attempted consolations from friends Fatima and Jackie (Ira Dubey, Yashaswini Dayama), further conflicts with her parents and others finally pushes Kaira to a breaking point. Thanks to a random occurrence while on a local music video shoot, she begins sessions with professional therapist Dr. Jehangir “Jug” Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), slowly beginning to open up about the inner strife, past hurts and current stresses, all while being tested in putting into practice the advice Jehangir is providing. But, the more she gains from the sessions, the more Kaira realizes that a new connection is growing within her for Jehangir. Yet, his logical judgement and unconventional philosophies illustrate that even having to let go of something beautiful and freeing is a part of moving on and discovering newfound tranquility with life’s flaws.

Next, my Mind:

Fantastically delivered with an overwhelmingly strong sense of raw, real emotion, candid portrayals of our own drive to leave others before they leave us, and having to face these obstacles to truly experience life, writer/director Gauri Shinde’s newest effort is a poignantly effective, character drama/romance-driven triumph. Between the incredible ensemble cast, emotive music, and very solidly grounded themes, the film’s 151-minute runtime soars by with impassioned intent, keeping the viewer engaged and invested in Kaira’s ongoing plight, where the longing to see her come out of the ever-deepening, heart-rending hole she’s sinking into becomes paramount and amazingly affecting when it finally happens. Clever writing here also assists in allowing the audience to flow right along with the respective character arcs, eliciting laughter and tears throughout.

Bhatt is honestly a total dream in her enactment of Kaira, utilizing amazing natural cuteness and bubbly personality combined with excitable, temperamental, burning intensity in presenting a woman who’s got it together on so many levels, but then allows hesitations and tendencies to run away from hurt cloud her overall actions when it comes to breaking away or mending fences with love, family, and friends. Watching the character’s transformation is genuine and acutely powerful. SRK does what we expect him to do, commanding the screen with a quiet, subtle, yet superbly weighty and impactful performance as Jehangir, whose life outlook and words of challenging but healing wisdom overcomes Kaira’s doubts and initial stubbornness to show her a whole new world to embrace, faults and all. With his own transparency displayed as well, Jug’s effect on Kaira is heartwarming and sincere, and SRK delivers this wonderfully.

Supporting roles are similarly well-done here, thanks to Kapoor, Bedi, Dubey, and Dayama plus additional appearances from Ali Zafar as Rumi, a musician and potential newfound love for Kaira, and Rohit Saraf as Kiddo, Kaira’s supportive younger brother. Add the cameo from one Aditya Roy Kapoor, and overall, “Dear Zindagi” is another Bollywood tour-de-force filled with all the elements we love from contemporary Indian cinema while giving us something to contemplate in looking at how we grasp and embrace this very dear thing we call zindagi–life.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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