I went in with high hopes from this second attempt from Gauri Shinde. Her first one called English Vinglish was not just a great entertainer. In my book it is probably Hindi cinema's most balanced feminist movie without getting loud and preachy.It was therefore that I expected a similar movie from Gauri Shinde. Dear Zindagi is not one tenth of a patch on English-Vinglish.It has great effort from Alia and SRK. In fact this one has SRK's most mature effort since Chak De India. The scenes where they both interact are good to watch for the timing and the chemistry they both exude on screen.
In fact the first half an hour show huge promise in this movie. Alia's Kaira is a confident complicated self made independent girl. She has a gang of friends/colleagues and there conversations are funny/philosophical/idiotic at the same time. Also indicating how clear the new generation is in what they want and what they don't. Kaira is expecting her relationship to evolve with her lover further when she gets a shocker that he has in fact gone back to his ex. She decides to get back to Goa and from here the movie steadily declines.
Your mood is lifted by some sincere music from Amit Trivedi and some brief lovely musical moments thanks to his effort but the directors insistence on long drawn conversations to bring out pain,hope,happiness,humor is fine to an extent but a movie cannot work on premise of armchair conversations all the time.
Hence when the charm of these conversations starts dying you realize that the director has decided to let this movie be a two and a half hour collection of conversations. Frankly Gauri Shinde could have made this as a tele-series broken into half an hour and trust me it would have gained phenomenal impact. Something like Govind Nihalani's Tamas from the 1980s.
The movie tries to put too much on Alia Bhatt and SRK's shoulders. Now we all know the fact that SRK has a screen presence and Alia is full of fresh energy. She totally nails the scenes where she has to silently emote and her outburst at the family dinner of her brother's arrival home are stand out scenes.
But the movie does not have what you call plot points. It's a collage of intellectual philosophical conversations. So some of you might get a high watching this but as much as we would want to avoid it the movie tends to get boring and dragging after the interval.
Kiara's journey of self discovery becomes less interesting and more painful if you are patience challenged.
Good intelligent cinema has a bigger responsibility of having smart start and end points besides a flowing narrative. Gauri Shinde's first attempt EnglishVinglish is a standing example of this fact.
Dear Zindagi despite its moments of brilliance is a disappointment. It tries to be a feel good movie but comes a cropper.
Two stars , that too for the effort that SRK and Alia have put in here.