Dear Zindagi: The Many Beautiful Colors of LIFE :)

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CELEBRATE LIFE WITH YOUR LOVED ONES….

Plot/ Story:

Kaira (Alia Bhatt) ,  Full of Life, who grows up, accompanied by a lot of emptiness and incompleteness. She plays a moody girl who doesn’t take life seriously. She doesn’t think before she talks. What matters is that at the heart of this film is the struggle of one girl to come to terms with a wounded past and how she manages to do this with the help of her dimaag ka doctor.

We have a “hot DoP (director of photography)” Kaira who wants to be judged for her talent than her “hotness”, who wants to reach the peak of success at a young age and who can’t hold on to the men in her life. She is able to tackle being unsettled and uprooted but finds it difficult to settle down, in places, with people.

Fatima, Jackie and Ganju are her three best friends.

Her cheerful life becomes a nightmare when the guy she loves, a film producer, Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor) ends up engaged to someone else, and for whom she breaks up with a restobar owner, Sid (Angad Vedi), in between. Her landlord turns her out of her apartment because the building association wants to rent apartments only to married couples. This serves as a catalyst for her  shift to Goa to live with her parents.

But Kiara is also damaged in ways that she doesn’t fully understand; this keeps her from being able to form a stable romantic relationship, and it makes her snap at her parents with barely concealed impatience. Her difficulty with self-expression, perfectly captured in text messages, she types out and proceeds to delete. Her strained relationship with her family and dislike for yoga, her self-centeredness in her friendships and her inability to finish projects she wants to start. (Oh and her addiction to ordering stuff on eBay- through a thread of blatant product placements).

Kiara’s colleague in Mumbai sees a dimaag ka doctor (DD). She asks him if he sees his Dimaag ka Doctor to tell people he’s gay and he replies with a beautifully subtle — To gain enough courage to tell himself the truth.

She moves back to Goa, planning to stay with her parents. Kiara or  Koko is young, gorgeous and chooses to break free of the shackles of her parents and stay alone in a bustling city like Mumbai, working hard at her not so common career as a cinematographer in the movies. This non-traditional occupation is accepted by her parents but not by her extended family members, who want her to “settle down into a proper job.” Koko’s family thinks she’s a lesbian (or Lebanese, as her uncle not so gently puts it), because she refuses to just go and marry the second guy she meets just for the heck of it.

But after one abbreviated dinner party, she moves out and goes to stay with her childhood friend.  Where she stops sleeping.  Which is what finally drives her to see a therapist.

While in Goa she seeks out Dr. Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), a Goan psychologist after accidentally having heard him talk at a Mental Health Awareness Conference for her insomnia. As Jug aka Dr. Jehangir Khan  firmly puts it — If our body has a problem, it’s okay. But if our mind has a problem, we’re termed as mad. Is our mind not a part of our body? Why can’t it be normal?

Dr.Jehangir aka Dr. Jug is a  divorcee, with a son and he has  a talent for fixing things: cycles, side-table tchotchkes, psyches. It’s up to Dr Khan then to bring some calm into her restless life by making her face her worst fears.

In his first session with Kiara, Jehangir advises her to take the easier route to happiness: why bother to scale the mountain when you can stroll in the park instead. During therapy, she slowly peels back the problems in her life, starting with deciding not to take a huge career opportunity. Everything that is broken can be mended.Hopefully some young and restless ones will also miss a heartbeat in agreement especially, on seeing his rendition of the Italian opera. With his deceptive carefree attitude and engaging ‘stories’, he peels off Kaira’s worries layer by layer, helping her discover the core of her problems.

Dr. Jehengir standing on the beach  talking to Kaira about his dad. He says,  “ My dad used to bring me here every Sunday to play Kabaddi with the sea”.   Seriously, who thought of playing Kabaddi with the sea.  Like us even Kaira was surprised how you can one play Kabaddi with the sea. Like generally, when we are on the beach, we tend to get emotional and go back to your good old days. But hey, this scene has given us the new way to look at the sea. Kiara asks him how can you play Kabaddi with the Sea. The  scene of him playing Kabaddi is  beyond perfection and we are left with no words to describe, one can only silently watch that beautiful scene.

Meanwhile, she meets a musician, Rumi (Ali Zafar), with whom she starts to develop feelings for but ditches before anything serious can happen.

When getting the support from her coach on her thought, Kiara  gets excited and rides her cycle in full race and screams FREE’. Obviously she falls down and asks Dr. Jug to help her get up. He soon gives her his hand and within  second says. “ Oh damn time’s up, main bhi free ho gaya, sorry” . it shows that you have to get up in life yourself without anyone’s help . The film’s highpoint are in the scenes where Kaira and Jug interact. Khan narrates her stories, gives her homework to do and while there is resistance at first, she slowly starts lapping up everything that he says to her and pleads for five extra minutes of the session. Because Jahangir not only gives solutions to Kaira but also helps her address her deeper troubles.

She also meets her younger brother, Kiddo. Matters with her family come to a head when Kaira bursts out at a family get-together and confronts her parents about their abandonment of her for years at her grandparents’ house.

Kaira’s  parents in the movie had her and loved her a great deal, but couldn’t spend her childhood with her as they were travelling from place to place to secure financial stability. This left a deep and life altering impression on her character, Koko, or Kaira, as she felt unloved and abandoned by the very people whose love and affection she craved the most. This impacted her life greatly, as she was unable to forge significant relationships with anyone else as well, for fear of them abandoning her as well.

She finally narrates the story of her abandonment to Jug who tells her that she fears abandonment so much that she doesn’t allow herself to commit in relationships for fear of being abandoned. He convinces her that she doesn’t need to forgive her parents for abandoning her but she can as an adult see them as two regular people who made a mistake. After this Kaira starts to make an effort to reconcile with her parents and also works to finish her short film.

Dr. Jug whose chilled-out therapy sessions will make you look at your therapist with renewed ‘love’. Genius is all about knowing when to stop , Jehangir tells Kaira. Although the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of her life fall into place as she makes peace with  life. Watch out for her when she touches the gate and stares at every object in Dr. Jehangir’s house in the end- and you get goose bumps. Watch out for her ‘last class with Dr Jug’ and you don’t want the film to end.And then a chair creaks! A creak that will echo in your ears even though you don’t hear it. And, of course, she also falls in love with Dr. Jug, because who wouldn’t?  He very very gently turns her away, telling her it wouldn’t be right, but he is proud of her for taking a chance and expressing her feelings. He allows her to express her feelings, but gracefully turns her offer to be more than his patient citing professional etiquette. And then after she leaves there is the slightest hint that he might feel something for her as well.

Finally, at the end-end, she has completed her short film that she has been working on for years. The Short film is about  a female Portuguese soldier who fought in disguise as a man.  But after she was injured, a sympathetic doctor discovered her secret and convinced her to stop hiding her true self.  So she returned, as a woman, and was promoted and allowed to continue fighting. A woman (or a man, for that matter) is a complete entity and being. They don’t need someone to “complete” them.

The movie ends with a viewing of Kaira’s film where she meets a furniture dealer (Aditya Roy Kapoor) who might turn out to be a prospective lover.

Kiara found her purpose — to follow her passion, to have an open mind and a clearer heart.

Quotes from the Movie:

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Lessons Learned from the Movie:

  • No matter what happens in life, you have to have the strength to find yourself, fight your demons and turn around and say ‘ I Love U Zindagi’. Nothing should get you down ever.
  • Love life and Life shall love you.
  • There’s no such thing as the ‘perfect partner’. We don’t have these perfect expectations from friends, so why pressurize yourself to find that perfection in a partner? We know we’re not perfect either!
  • Brush off  the rules in Life.
  • Finding the right partner is as difficult as finding the most comfortable chair.
  • Don’t choose the tough path just because you have to. Choose a path that you feel comfortable with, even if it’s the easier one.
  • Don’t judge yourself and don’t let others judge you.
  • Don’t stay in a relationship if you’re suffering. Don’t suffer if you’re not comfortable in the relationship just because you’re afraid to hurt your partner. If you’re suffering, the relationship will doom anyway.
  • Dear Zindagi has helped communicate that the therapist is a catalyst for the client, not an all-knowing solution-finder and -giver. Clients are helped to help themselves.
  • Dear Zindagi teaches  parents that it’s OK to love kids as they are, however they are, and learn to accept their choices in life.
  • Friends make your world go around. It’s very important to maintain a close friends circle to maintain your own peace and sanity. Never lose sight of the most important people in your life. Be true to your friendship and who you are.
  • It’s  OK to Cry. Crying is absolutely accepted as a form of venting emotions, most commonly, grief. We should remove the embarrassment around it, that “crying makes a person weak”. If you can’t cry wholeheartedly, how will you find the courage to laugh wholeheartedly!
  • Mental Health is not something to shy away from, or the Big Elephant in the room that nobody wants to discuss. Dear Zindagi rubbishes the stigma around mental ailments and proceeds to explain to us in the most beautiful way possible, i.e. through the interactions between Kaira and her doctor Jahangir Khan .A person need not reach the lowest pits of depression and mental health to seek therapy or a strong voice to listen to. People going through a rough patch in their lives could and in fact, should seek therapy actively to avoid them falling deeper into the abyss of mental illness.
  • Acceptance of a problem is the first way of dealing with it. Life comes with its own issues, but if we keep running away from them, thinking that it’s abnormal just because of certain stereotypes set by the fasaad-ki-jadh (root of the problem) society, then we’re doing it all wrong. Because it’s okay, it really is. Anyways, the point is, noticing the littlest things keep you going.

 

Conclusion:

It is a very relatable, lovely, heart-warming and touching film. By the end of the movie, we all feel that a therapist, is someone everyone could/should see. ‘ Hey-that’s – happened -to-me’ moments abound in the film. It deals with women’s perspective of viewing life and the problems they face.

” If one says no to pain, one says no to life!” Dear Zindagi gives the viewer the courage to embrace life.It’s brave & brilliant.Films aren’t just meant for entertainment. If done well, they are food for the soul. Dear Zindagi picks its supporting cast with care. The actors impart tremendous believability to the steadily growing unrest in Kiara’s household resulting in telling family scenes around typical desi requirements of a ‘proper job’ and ‘getting married’ at the ‘right age.’ Not to mention the entitlement in the extended family’s unsolicited curiosity and counsel. The supporting cast, too, plays its part well, with Jakky (Yashaswini Dayama) standing out for her spontaneity.

‘Dear Zindagi’ will stand out as a film,  It rather shows you how you come in terms with the not-so-pleasant colours of life. It tells you that the journeys are worth, that relationships are not always named, that everything helps you for for better. That, even the most beautiful people are not here to stay forever, no matter how much you hold onto them. Why not just let life flow and embrace it? If you’re one carrying a lot of darkness inside for a long time now, this will brighten up your day.

The film has been mostly shot in Goa, and thus you find the serene factor everywhere. And locations do play a very vital part here. After all, nature is the biggest healer. The situational music adds further depth.

It’s just about sitting back and watching life unfurl itself in front of you, life as you know it. Life as we all know it – life that surprises, life that disappoints, life that complicates. Don’t dance on the tunes of life, make life dance on your tunes.

Watch this film not because it’s perfect but because it’s the cheapest therapy session you’ll ever get. Watch it because Kaira is everyone of us and her problems deserve to be spoken about. Watch it because it’s not very often that a Bollywood film shows you life like it really is. Watch it because it might just make dealing with your own ‘zindagi’ a little better, if nothing else. And watch it for Alia Bhatt, because this girl is at beyond marvelous in the film.

 

I had a memorable moments to cherish with my bestie by watching this movie as friends make your world go around.

 

Life is like a rainbow, there are different colours in there. There is extreme pain, extreme love, extreme anger, extreme grief. But it is the extremes that make life worth living….

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