Dear Zindagi (NOW PLAYING)

Kaira (Alia Bhatt) working behind-the-scenes on a music video.

This is a MUST-SEE film (written/directed by Gauri Shinde) for anyone who has given up on Bollywood, thinking it TOO old-fashioned, formulaic, and obsessed solely w/ romance!  Kaira (Alia Bhatt, who also starred in 2 States) is a cinematographer in her early 20s who finds that avoiding romantic commitment does NOT always bring happiness.  She breaks up w/ her businessman boyfriend.  Then one of the other guys in her life, Raghu (Kunal Kapoor- who I first saw in Aaja Nachle), offers her a “dream job” in NYC.  And we can tell that Raghu wants to be MORE than friends!

Kaira (Alia Bhatt) jokes with Raghu (Kunal Kapoor)

Kaira’s close friends, including Fatima (Fatty) and Jackie, grow concerned about her changing attitude and personality.  Anger bubbles up out of nowhere, she can’t sleep for MANY nights, and loses her Mumbai apartment (when tenants decide that ONLY married couples should live in their building).  Kaira is forced to go back to her hometown (Goa) and reevaluate her life.  To make things worse, Raghu suddenly gets engaged to his ex-girlfriend after they reconnect on that NYC movie set!

Kaira meets with her therapist Dr. Khan (Shah Rukh Khan)

Finally, Shah Rukh has chosen a role that is apt for his age. His screen presence is definitely a treat to his fans! Alia Bhatt is definitely lucky in the aspect that she got a good role that aligns with her personality and of course she has excelled it!  -Excerpt from a IMDB review

Enter Dr. Jehangir Khan(Shah Rukh Khan), an psychologist who happens to love ripped jeans (just as Kaira does).  She is VERY reluctant to open up about her life, BUT he gains her trust w/ his patience, unorthodox methods, and (most crucial)- a judgment-free mind. At a beachside bar, Kaira and Jackie meet Rumi (Ali Zafar- who hails from Pakistan), a free-spirited singer/songwriter.  Zafar reminded me of Gael Garcia Bernal; his songs were pretty good, too. 

Kaira listens intently to Dr. Khan during one of their sessions.

Kaira is eventually able to discuss her friendships (which she needs to pay MORE attention to), past romances (which she cut off when then men got TOO close), and her family (overbearing w/ their traditional expectations).  Aside from the typical pains of life as a young adult, there is something specific in Kaira’s childhood that is holding her back from the life that she wants.  

Dr. Khan and Kaira sing an impromptu little song

Pluses- story, acting, cinematography; second half, the scenes which feature SRK and Alia. The family moments of Kiara and her family, her friends. The execution of the entire movie from event to event. The whole final act which leaves you in a happy mood. The breakdown sequence. The maturity in the direction which takes the movie into a new level. The dialogue given to SRK. Negatives- The music is good but isn’t great. The editing in the first half could have been better.

-Excerpt from another IMDB review

There were a FEW moments in where I was reminded of In Treatment (HBO), BUT this is an original story which has (probably) never been told in a mainstream Indian film.  Going into therapy is demystified in this film, which I think could be it’s best legacy.  

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