Dear Zindagi movie review: With Shahrukh Khan and Alia Bhatt lighting up Dear Zindagi with their immense talent, there’s no doubt that the film’s worth a watch. But will it go down as either actors’ best film? It had the opportunity to do just that, courtesy the script, but sadly, with stretched scenes and heavy monologues, Dear Zindagi has limited appeal and will end up as a one-time watch. Here’s why a movie that could have made history, fell just short of that. We’re first introduced to Alia’s Kaira or Koko at her workplace. She’s looking at life through her camera lens – a nice symbolic shot of her world view – and she is clearly good at her job. But she’s not getting the break that she needs professionally and with break-ups and fights within the family making things more complicated, it is clear she’s not doing too well on the emotional front either.
The scene that grounds Kaira as a compelling character is when she tells her boyfriend that she’s had a fling behind his back. Instantly, she’s a flawed character, as opposed to the squeaky clean women we see on screen. And rather than boxing her into a cut-and-dry ‘bad’ girl (our patriarchal society would have more choice words for it), the film reveals eventually that Kaira’s flitting between relationships actually comes from childhood trauma. Here lies the movie’s beauty – Kaira isn’t here to prop up some man’s story, she’s a rare and fully fleshed out female character taking the screen by storm.
This gives the film a perfect set-up for an interesting heroine to really wow the audience. Kaira starts her soul-searching journey in Goa and ends up at psychologist Jehangir Khan’s (played to perfection by Shahrukh) doorstep, after attending a mind-blowing lecture of his that she happened to attend. Their first interaction is nothing short of electric as we see two of the industry’s most talented stars tackle their unusual characters. But from there, Dear Zindagi becomes a dialogue-heavy film that loses one of its key selling points – the relatability factor. The monologues become less realistic and more symbolic of every thing wrong with Kaira’s life i.e. choosing a chair to sit on becomes analogous to choosing a relationship. We love you and your dimples, SRK, but no one talks like that in real life.
— Girliyapa (@Girliyapa) November 18, 2016
The final meeting between Jug and Kaira is really worth sticking around for. Although be warned, there is an extended middle act that threatens to bore you with a series of scenes that do nothing to move the plot forward. All in all, the film could have used some editing, a stronger storyline and those expecting a film with English Vinglish’s charm could be disappointed by Gauri Shinde’s second film. Even so, its worth one viewing, if only to see the leading pair’s immense talent and chemistry.