In rather subtle ways Dear Zindagi touches upon a rather important topic – mental health and how we, as a country, are largely unaware of it. When Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) reveals that his parents tell their relatives that he is a gynecology instead of a psychologist – a ‘dimaag ka doctor’ – it speaks loud. He also adds how often we do not realize the difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist. Reminds one of Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par, which sought to educate people about dyslexia. These, of course, are well executed fleeting remarks. Well concealed in a story about Kiara, someone who is going through a rough phase in her life.
Kiara(Alia Bhatt) is a talented young cinematographer with big ambitions, and little patience to make it big. She is just out of a relationship and falls for another hottie, Raghu, who wants to take the relationship further. However, Kiara gets cold feet behaves unreasonably, pushing him away. She also has a rather uneasy relationship with her parents, often being rude to them. Her attitude is unexplained till much later, making her a hard to like character.
Kiara stumbles upon Jehangir Khan during a work schedule in Goa, and she finally decides that she needs to see a therapist. Enters the charming psychologist, who helps Kiara understand herself better through a series of rather unconventional sessions! And in the process, she starts dealing with life better. Hence, Dear Zindagi!
The best thing about Dear Zindagi is Alia Bhatt. The actress is spectacular as she moves from being cute to being messed up within seconds. There is an energy that she brings on screen and she manages to make her characters believable, even if not relatable. Here she is not given as strong a script as her last, Udta Punjab, but that’s hardly a cripple. Dear Zindagi for that matter loses steam somewhere in the second half. Especially a tackily shot sequence towards the end about a certain Dona Maria. A cameo by Ali Zafar is also written too conveniently, with no justification towards the character.
To add to Alia’s radiance is the charm of Shah Rukh Khan. The actor remains unmatched when it comes to being charismatic on screen. He unleashes lessons of life and never feels too preachy! And to aide the actors, Gauri Shinde pens some impressive dialogues and moments. The film also stands firm in all technical departments. It has a bright look to go with the feel it aims for.
Gauri Shinde, who has earlier given us a delightful English Vinglish, is not in her top form in Dear Zindagi. She has already set the bar too high with her first. Nonetheless, she does manage to provide something that leaves you with a lesson or two, although superficial, apart from a smile. Fairly entertaining.