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Here’s Why ‘Dear Zindagi’ Is A Therapy Session We Desperately Need

Gauri Shinde’s ‘Dear Zindagi’ takes stigma and judgement head on like a boss.  

Updated
Entertainment
4 min read
Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt in a scene from Dear Zindagi. (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)

(Alert: There might be spoilers about Dear Zindagi in this piece)

Dear Zindagi rubbishes the stigma around mental illnesses like a boss. Even though Alia just seems to be going through a rough patch in the film, the director tells her audience that you don’t need to have hit rock bottom to seek help. Gauri Shinde takes judgement of all kind head on in this slice-of-life film. Whether it be about homosexuality, being single, seeing a dimaag ka doctor or your career choices and dating before marriage, Gauri has a powerful comment on everything. She doesn’t mince her words either while saying that we all need therapy. By the end of the film, you’ll find that hard to argue with.

Gauri Shinde, Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt at a promotional event for <i>Dear Zindagi</i>. (Photo: Yogen Shah)
Gauri Shinde, Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt at a promotional event for Dear Zindagi. (Photo: Yogen Shah)

I couldn’t help wondering as I watched Dear Zindagi, about how Gauri is addressing ALL these issues so crisply, and with such swag. To be honest, Dear Zindagi is the therapy session that we as a society, desperately needed.

Also Read: Review: ‘Dear Zindagi’ Lights Up With SRK’s Gyaan, Alia’s Charm

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Single In The City

In <i>Dear Zindagi</i>, Alia Bhatt plays a single, independent working woman living in Mumbai.  (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)
In Dear Zindagi, Alia Bhatt plays a single, independent working woman living in Mumbai. (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)

If you’ve ever been kicked out of your rented apartment in Mumbai for being a single girl, you’ll get this. Alia flips out about her landlord and neighbours deciding that she’s not fit to be a resident as a single girl. Why? Because single girls, and boys too for that matter, are perceived as sex machines and dope heads who’ve obviously made all the wrong choices in life, or they would have been family folks. Did she not pay her rent on time? Did she burn the place down accidentally? Did she run a drug cartel from her messy living room? No. This was pure, unadulterated judgement and Gauri Shinde’s response was nothing short of kickass- “Mumbai mein single aur criminal hona ek hi baat hai”.

Lesbian? Hawwww...

Yashaswini Dayama and Alia Bhatt in a scene from <i>Dear Zindagi. </i>(Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)
Yashaswini Dayama and Alia Bhatt in a scene from Dear Zindagi. (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)

There’s never a dearth of annoying relatives who want to ‘help out’ in your ‘desperate cause’ by finding a suitable groom. But these ‘we know it all folks’ are ever suspecting of your sexuality. So Alia Bhatt is asked to her face if she is a lesbian. They believe it’s valid for them to suspect it, since she has a ‘creative’ job and hob nobs with film celebrities. And through Alia, Gauri gives it back, saying that everyone in the film industry is not gay, they’re just more accepting of your sexuality, whatever it might be.

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Love Or Friendship?

Do we have unrealistic expectations from our romantic relationships? (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)
Do we have unrealistic expectations from our romantic relationships? (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)

I found this question particularly interesting. Why does being with friends feel so different from being with a lover? Should we expect the two to feel the same in the first place? Gauri Shinde’s take on this is phenomenally simple and makes a ton of sense. Why does a romantic relationship have to carry the 'bojh’ of all our other relationships? Romantic love is just another emotion in our lives, not the most important one, and definitely not the only one that matters. But invariably, we stress so much about finding the right match, that we tend to put at stake everything else we must celebrate. Love could just be love, and friendship can remain just what it is too. The two neither have to mix, nor strive to match up to each other.

More Than One Boyfriend? Hawww...

Alia Bhatt and Kunal Kapoor in a scene from <i>Dear Zindagi</i>. (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)
Alia Bhatt and Kunal Kapoor in a scene from Dear Zindagi. (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)

Love is like a chair. No, Gauri Shinde isn’t mincing her words. This analogy is hilarious and so damn smart. When we sit in at least ten chairs before picking the perfect one, why don’t we follow the same approach in our search for love? And if we do, why does the world judge us for it? So Gauri thinks it’s smart to date a little, or a lot, as you like it, before taking the big plunge. I couldn’t agree more. Perspective is everything.

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Parents Are Not Perfect

Alia Bhatt with her on-screen mother in a scene from <i>Dear Zindagi</i>. (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)
Alia Bhatt with her on-screen mother in a scene from Dear Zindagi. (Photo courtesy: YouTube/Red Chillies Entertainment)

Gauri has a very real way of showing messy, uncomfortable feelings that you’ve surely experienced at one point in your life or another. While it doesn’t take much to understand the baggage of Kaira’s childhood, it’s so rewarding to see her let go of it with a precious piece of advice, that comes from a place of zero judgement. If just for a moment, you can manage to see your parents as normal people, capable of making the same mistakes as you, maybe you’ll find the strength within you to forgive them and undo the damage. It’s hard to do this as a child, when they’re the ones teaching you life skills. But as an adult, you can see objectively what they did right, and what they didn’t. Parents are not perfect, they’re as flawed as you and me.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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