29 November, 2016

Dear Zindagi : Alia aali re ...

There are movies, there are scripts and in this weird rigmarole comes in an actor who simply steps in and owns it with her / his performance. The entire movie then belongs to that one person and no others in it matter. Dear Zindagi, is one such experience.

In the early 70’s we had Kaka aka Rajesh Khanna, when his era ended it was Amitabh Bachchan and then the Khan zone started...yet movies belonged to the menfolk. Nargis and her Mother India is but a distant memory of the past until very recently. The last few years have seen the new girls take such a firm grip of their roles and movies that the gender glass ceiling has been broken and how !!! Vidya Balan in Parineeta and Kahani, Deepika Padukone in Cocktail , Tamasha, Piku , a Tapsee in Pink, Alia Bhat who showed promise in Highway now delivers a whopping super punch in Dear Zindagi.

Gauri Shinde the director who gave us the entertaining English Vinglish by serving us a rewarmed up old dish in Sridevi had earned with it her credentials as a solo masterchef. She could now serve her own masterpiece with fresh ingredients , without supervision and she does it stylishly.

Kaira ( Alia) is a bohemian rhapsody in the form of a talented and mixed up camerawoman...a cinematographer. An independent girl who while being young is also opinionated and has no hangups of hooking up with men friends. She does take utmost care to be the one to call off the relationships first, before the guy. Her camaraderie with her chick pals ( Ira Dubey and Yashaswini Dayama)  is sassy , bitchy, warm and real and we cruise through the early portion of the movie enjoying the happenings yet not being able to clearly put a finger on the pulse of it. Does it meander for long ? Maybe, but it still is frothy fun while it does, till Kaira has dumped restaurateur Sid and film producer Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor, good looking and credible) and while she is on to her next guy a musician Rumi ( Ali Zafar, dashing and sparkling ) runs into another bohemian soul in a shrink Dr. Jahangir Khan (Shahrukh Khan ). Dr.Khan isn’t a typical psychiatrist in the manner by which he sifts through the jigsaw puzzle that is Kaira and aids her into reconstructing the picture back, to shed baggage and rediscover her truer higher self. It is Psychiatry, Life Coaching, Hand Holding and Counselling loaded with filmy babble. It is a pleasure watching SRK when he isn’t playing another Rahul something clone from his Yash Raj repertoire. SRK and Alia after this movie are sure gonna make having a Shrink acceptable if not fashionable.

It is a director’s cut as Gauri Shinde also the scriptwriter has written a difficult story. The music by Amit Trivedi is hummable yet the songs may not stick to the memory banks. The camera by Laxman Utekar is splendidly candid and while Shahrukh is on screen it zooms up so close that SRK and his many moons spent on this earth become apparent. SRK is very good but the movie’s real star is Alia Bhatt. For one so young she shoulders the complexed character with real panache, at once effervescent, saucy and sensual, loud and outspoken yet reflectively morose even at times this girl has delivered the best performance of her career so far and it augurs for many more ahead if her talent pool gets tapped rightly.

Demonetization may keep one away from the screens, as has been the fate of a few new releases like Rock On 2 but they were strictly avoidable...Dear Zindagi is not, and while it may not have mass appeal the movie is sure to work even commercially very well because its the girls aura that has bubbled out and lit up the film watchers world with an announcement. I am here.