Dear Zindagi – An average movie at best

Rating: **

I might lose friends for saying this aloud but according to me, the latest Shahrukh Khan starrer, Dear Zindagi is an average movie.

After waiting for two weeks and on people’s recommendation I went to see the movie written and directed by Gauri Shinde. The movie which revolves around Kaira (Aliaa Bhatt) who suffers from depression and a deep rooted childhood issue. She consults with a psychiatrist Dr. Jehangir Khan (SRK) who shows her the way to break free and feel emotions.

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Touted to be a hit, unfortunately the movie, for me, is an average affair. There are 3 main reasons for this.

The story

Gauri Shinde’s directorial debut, English Vinglish had a strong storyline but her latest offering doesn’t have that. She tried to tackle the issue of mental health and depression in a movie which is a great and noble thought but this issue doesn’t fit in with the story that she narrated in Dear Zindagi. Alia Bhatt’s character in the movie Highway had a story and a reason for a breakdown but her character in Dear Zindagi isn’t that strong or powerful.

In English Vinglish, the journey of finding the issue, quest to work on it and the final triumph was poignant, powerful, and potent. All of this was lacking in Dear Zindagi. I’m not comparing two different movies but it’s imperative for a good movie to have a good story.

Build-up/ Characterization

Characters on screen should come alive, their journey should evoke emotions in the viewers. Alas, this is missing in Dear Zindagi. Dr. Jehangir Khan aka Jug fails to evoke any emotion. He lacked a strong characterisation and a background story. There was just a customary mention that he has a son but there was no follow up. The reason he missed sessions with Kaira or his repeated action of using eyedrops has no relevant backstory/ reason/ mention of any kind. His character looked charming and dropped few good one-liners. That’s all.

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Performance

Sadly, the King Khan of Bollywood wasn’t at his best in this movie. But then what can you expect when a good actor is portraying a half-baked character. Alia Bhatt is supposed to be the lead actor but her performance was found lacking on many levels. Apart from the opening sequence and the pseudo break up with Raghuvendra (Kunaal Kapoor), Aliaa’s performance was average as compared to her performances in few earlier movies.

For a person suffering from depression she ought to have delivered a powerful performance. Her crying jag which is one too many in the movie lacked the real emotions which was quite evident.

The movie overall was a drag. There’s no way that the movie could justify the lengthy running time of 149 minutes. They could have finished the entire movie in 90 minutes and still could have managed to add in the backstory for Dr. Jehangir Khan.

The direction was good but it was lost in the midst of a weak story and mediocre performances. This is the first time, I thought a SRK starrer was a waste of money and time. And I know the movie has crossed the 100-crore mark but unfortunately that no longer is a benchmark for a good movie, story or acting.

Gauri, SRK and Aliaa, I had a decent expectation but even then, Dear Zindagi was a disappointment.

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