‘Dear Zindagi’ Critics’ Verdict: A Must-Watch for Alia & SRK
‘Dear Zindagi’ is getting a thumbs up from most critics for Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan’s compelling portrayals.
Film: Dear Zindagi
Director: Gauri Shinde
Cast: Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar
Excerpts from reviews of Dear Zindagi:
The preternaturally talented Bhatt plays Kiara with defiant pluck, a shy girl overcorrecting for her insecurity, lashing out before she’s lashed at. There are times the performance appears showy, but the actress brings such a raw, earnest vulnerability to her highly flawed character that she remains compelling throughout. Despite this being a film with a lot of talking, Bhatt’s silent moments are the ones that threaten most to stay with me: her eyes scorched in thought as she chows down flat street-side noodles; the stunning pause after she wonders whether she is, in fact, “common”; and, unforgettably, one of the most fantastic slapstick pratfalls I’ve seen in recent times. Shinde might be the most celebratory feminist among our mainstream filmmakers, her heroines far from being defined or restrained by men. Dear Zindagi is a lovely picture, made with finesse and heart, and one that not only takes some stigma off the idea of seeking therapy, but — in the most natural of ways — goes a long way in making a viewer think of the people who matter most.The single smartest trick in this film, however, may well be the primary casting decision. Because a good therapist is a superstar.Raja Sen (Rediff.com)
The naturalistic acting style and conversational dialogue indicate that Dear Zindagi doesn’t want to be lumped together with other plasticky Hindi romcoms. Many of the scenes have a welcome improvisational quality, and although they don’t cohere into a convincing whole, they prove that Bhatt is the most exciting actress of her generation, with an ability to rattle off pages of dialogue as easily as she can make a man’s heart stop for many dangerous seconds. Khan sportingly reins in his flamboyance and settles for the role of the marquee veteran acknowledging that popular Hindi film as we know it has changed for good. In his first session with Kaira (Alia), Jehangir (Shah Rukh Khan) advises her to take the easier route to happiness: why bother to scale the mountain when you can stroll in the park instead? Only movie stars can deliver such cornball sentiment with so much sincerity. Since Dear Zindagi doesn’t tinker with this basic quality of the Bollywood romance, it’s all good.Nandini Ramnath (Scroll.in)
Also Watch: Sorry, I Never Get Friend-Zoned: Alia Bhatt
Dear Zindagi is clearly straining at the formula-ridden Bollywood straitjacket to give us a refreshing take on love and family, and for the most part it sticks to its guns. In the end, it does succumb to the pressure to bow to perceived public demand with passing mentions of what we have come to consider inevitable in every Hindi film, but the journey up to that point is so rewarding so often that it is tempting to look past those needless moments. Dear Zindagi then is a mixed bag. I loved SRK in the film, Bhatt is always a pleasure to watch, the story visits many themes that are uncommon in Bollywood, and several of the discussions are either amusing or insightful or both. Overall though, the film comes across as being not enough because the writing needed more substance.Anna Vetticad (Firstpost.com)
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