I think it is safe to start by saying , Alia Bhat starrrer, Dear Zindagi tugs at multiple chords of life. Gauri Shinde tries her best and so does Shahrukh Khan. With pleasantries out of the way Gauri, its not your fault! Its not your fault!
So first up,a noble thought, plot or storyline does not always equal great cinema. Its high time film makers in the Indian Film industry wake up and smell the cappuccino. There are just too many feel good ,noble thought, preachy movies being made mistaking it for good cinema. PK is one such example.
The fundamental premise of the movie revolves around breaking out of a self created limitation. However for almost three-fourths of the movie the plot moves sluggishly towards some “nothing” scenes. Simply put, there are some good settings, some feel good moments, but in reality it doesn’t add up to anything really.
The swift editing makes sure that the protagonist lands up in Goa and finds a shrink, who goes around in torn jeans, as if to break the stereotype, and prove he is a genius. Shahrukh Khan, as much as he tries to restrain, he is never able to shed the superstar, romantic ham image, and blend into the character of Dr.Jehangir Khan.
Its not your fault Shahrukh ! It could be the way the role has been written or the director who allowed it to be shot that way, or it could well be that Shahrukh could not get rid of his mannerisms, which perhaps worked best in a Dil Toh Pagal Hai , but unfortunately look out of place in a role of a psychologist.
Gauri Shinde, its not your fault too! You know, a bit of Patch Adams, a bit of Good Will Hunting, incidentally, both masterpieces of Robin Williams magic, can always be “inspirational”. What it lacked was originality. Merely, twisting , recoloring some of the characters you don’t create an original you know. Modifying it to Indian viewership and audience, does not make it different you know. Work on creating a character which is original, and your audience will love it. They will go through crests and troughs of the characters journey.
Finally, Alia, I saw some interview, where Shahrukh Khan said you are peaking too soon. In my view there’s nothing wrong with that, good actors acquire new emotions over time and perfect the ones they know best. In this movie she has done some good emotional outbursts, especially the family outburst scene stood out for me. The role of a clinical psychologist needed a bit more gravitas , which was clearly missing.
But when you sum it up, it was all a collection of good scenes not necessarily tantamount to great cinema. I thought the scenes of shock in Uddta Punjab were intense and executed well. Alia not your fault. There will be scores of people who will go and do the brouhaha about your performance.
Preachy messaging on male child versus female child disparity, psychological abandonment, fighting inner demons, single women acceptance,traditional job versus non-traditional jobs are but some of the messages being driven right through the narrative.
If they wanted to make a light-weight movie which could be classified as time -pass or a one-time watch – then they succeeded. However, if they designed it to be a heavy hitter, then they failed miserably.
Some of the most notable characters that tugged your heart in popular, recent Hindi cinema, would have examples like Auro,Ishaan Awasthi, Rancho,Rani,or even Datto but will Kaira fit in there? Perhaps not. I would rate Bauria / the Bihari migrant essayed much more intensity and tugged a few more chords cinematicaly. Of course none of these movies are of the same genre theme or storyline, so a perfect comparison can never be done.
In summary, I think Dear Zindagi has its moments where you applaud the scene, shot and angle, but where it falls short is when it is assessed as a whole complete product. I suspect, the fan followers and most non critical eyed junta would view this movie as just fine. However for the fine-tuned it would fall short of expectations without taking away the credit of trying to do something different.
I am going to go with 3 out 5 for this effort.