Clear Zindagi to Make it Dear Zindagi!

(Disclaimer: Some of you might find this TLTR (too long to read) just like some found the movie, and for some that laziness might kick in so, therefore, this piece is divided into pointers. You might want to just skim through those. Cheerio!)

One would expect a bunch of endearing moments with loads of sunshine from a movie with a title such as ‘Dear Zindagi’. One would also expect some revelations about ‘Zindagi’ itself. And truth be told, this movie is not all sunshine and beaches but, some grey clouds as well.

For one may or may not connect with the ‘not so endearing’ moments ingrained in the film, depending largely on whether one connects with the underlying issues raised in the film, or not.

Yes! Gauri Shinde is one of those contemporary female directors who subtly raise less commonly-talked about issues of common lives, and try and resolve them along her story. And, just like one of its characters, Dear Zindagi subtly plays a therapist by making us notice what went wrong much early on.

Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is this quintessential modern, independent girl, living in Mumbai, who also seems to be, a bit secretive and complicated in some strange way. Her life is divided in pretty much the same four-dimensions as is any bachelor’s, living in a metro away from family. The dimensions being:

  • Career,
  • Romantic relationship(s),
  • Friends
  • And a parent on-phone!

Quite brilliant at her job (that is not fairly understood by most of her peeps back home), she is still trying to crack her ‘Dream Break’. Whereas on the personal front, she is trying to get out of one relationship, and get over another. Alongside, there are other issues adding to the grey in her life such as;

  • Her being a young, good-looking, single, working-woman trying to prove her mettle only through her work,
  • And her being a single working-woman, living alone in an apartment

It would take one quite some time to figure out why is she the way she is! For some, it might take too long, and up until the second half, and that could make her character ‘not so endearing’ for all that while.

However, this movie is more about a girl (a side hidden in many of us) who is leading a bit of an unfulfilled and confused life, not understanding why is she not able to open enough in her relationships, and more visibly why can’t she get some sleep! And so, passes the first half in figuring what’s really wrong with Kaira!

Some would conclude that she is depressed! Depression, because that’s one term we have started to get familiar with by now, with regards to an unhealthy mental condition. Her drinking, compulsive online shopping, falling in and out of relationships, withdrawing from her family and her hometown, collecting and ripping of photographs, etc. do show signs of some disorder after all.

Now, pretty much like the entry of a fairy-godmother, she bumps into her to-be therapist (instead of stylist) and from there she embarks on the journey of her transformation. She starts by enrolling herself into a therapy with Dr. Jehangir Khan (Shahrukh Khan), who has already scored for her by talking about ‘mental illness’ with absolute no condescendence and rather much understanding.

And, with each concluded therapy session, the layers of Kaira’s mental condition start to peel-off. Dr. Khan almost reveals it to her that she has a pattern which has followed her closely and has been reflecting in all her relationships. This pattern is the resultant of an emotional trauma that she went through as a very young child, and has been carrying it as a secret burden with her all along.

Here’s how, Dr. Khan’s drill goes:

  • Find out what is it that scares us, and since when?
  • Notice what went wrong at the time
  • Go back, trace it, and connect the dots to find the pattern
  • Once found, try and break that pattern.
  • And, our dreams talk to us. All we need to do is listen.

Soon, these sessions help Kaira to not only view herself in a completely new light but, also accept her parents and other people around her with no baggage of the past.

Therapy Sessions:

Lesson 1:

We tend to think that only the toughest route can be the right one. Sometimes, it’s okay to go a bit little light on ourselves (Addition* that depends on if the choice is between the right and the easy. And, if can’t figure what’s the right thing then, doing what one is best prepared for seems good to go)

Lesson 2:

It’s important how you view and review your own self. If you demean yourself then, that’s how the world will view you

Lesson 3:

Genius is not someone who has all the answers but, someone who has the patience for all the answers.

Lesson 4:

‘Kaun hain ye log’- We tend to worry a bit too much about what the ‘people’ think of us and then end up being unfair to our own selves. Basically, we need to clear the clutter and spend some time to meet ourselves to find out who we really are!

Lesson 5 (For Parents):

Does your child have a happy memory? Remembering a happy moment shouldn’t be tough! It’s up to parents to make happy memories for their kids

(“Parents are the ghosts of their children’s past”- Interstellar)

Lesson 6:

“Don’t let the past blackmail your present into ruining a beautiful future”.

Lesson 7:

Sometimes, we need to bring our parents down from the high-pedestal of being ‘our parents’ and see them as humans capable of making faults, just like us.

(There is an expiry date on blaming your parents — J.K. Rowling)

Lesson 8:

“Rona, gussa, nafrat kuch bhi khul ke express nahi karne diya, toh ab pyar kaise express karein”! We were taught how to walk. But, how to express? That ‘real walk’ of our own life is usually learnt as we truly fall in and out of love or see one of our dreams crack; as that’s usually the first time we truly expose ourselves through expression.

All these and many more such revelations are unfolded through the course of Kiara’s therapy which one can use to reflect upon and make a note of, for one’s own life.

As Dr. Khan says, “A genius is someone who knows when to stop”, and on that note, I’d like to close this session!

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