Dear Zindagi starring Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt is a story of self-discovery (for the millionth time in last 2 years). The film revolves around a young girl, Kaira (Alia Bhatt) who aspires to be a film maker and is confused about everything that happens in her life until she meets Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan).
The screenplay of the film is about how the lead character with a troubled childhood, fragile relationships tackles all the tough situations in her life which eventually helps her in leading a happy life. Yeah!!!! The main area where the film falls flat is in terms of connect with the characters. A film dependent on such content might find it difficult to leave an impact if the lead character is under-cooked resulting in no emotional connect and Dear Zindagi is plagued by that problem.
There are sequences where Kaira emotionally breaks down but it fails to have the sort of impact it is supposed to create. Given the genre and message the film is trying to give, the run-time is a bit too long. Ideally a film like Dear Zindagi should have been wrapped up in crisp 90-100 minutes, but alas this one keeps going on and on and on till. Average Editing Job by editor Hemanti Sarkar.
While the cinematography and music are few of the positives in the film, the dialogues could have been better. Talking about performances, despite the limited screen presence, it is Shah Rukh Khan who steals the show. The superstar delivers big, probably his best performance since Chak De India and easily gets the best character in the film. Alia Bhatt too is honest in essaying the character of Kaira which has multiple facets to it despite being let down by the poor writing. She is tremendous in the prolonged monologue in the second half in front of the family members and proves that she is here to stay for a long long time based on her acting talent. Kunal Kapoor and Ali Zafar are decent in their limited roles.
To sum up, it is difficult to imagine the director of English Vinglish writing a subject like Dear Zindagi as it is too niche and lacks the authentic Indian Emotions. While there are some occasional sparks from the English Vinglish director, Dear Zindagi falls quite short of expectations. Just like the lead character, the film has a confused approached on a rather mature subject. Baring SRK’s interaction with Alia Bhatt and their superb performances, there is nothing novel that the film has to offer.
Solid Performances Let Down by Average Writing.