‘Dear Zindagi’ has received mixed to good reviews from critics. From the 18 reviews that we have so far, the average critic rating is 2.9 stars.
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Dear Zindagi Review by Indicine
‘Dear Zindagi’ does have some brilliantly executed sequences which include Alia’s first interaction with Shah Rukh Khan, her emotional break-down at a family dinner recalling her disturbed childhood. A few life lessons (Don’t let your past blackmail your present to ruin your beautiful future) are worth pondering over. Unfortunately, such moments are far and few in between. After a point, the film gets too preachy and tries too hard to establish the phrase ‘life is all about living those small moments’. In terms of performances, inspite a limited screen-time, Shah Rukh Khan delivers the most likeable performance in the film. He is phenomenal as Kiara’s life mentor and slips into the character with utmost ease and conviction. He lights up the screen with his charisma and screen-presence. He is a casting masterstroke. Alia Bhatt is brilliant in her emotional sequences and stands tall in her scenes with SRK. That apart, there is a bit of ‘Highway’ hangover in some of her scenes. Kunal Kapoor and Ali Zafar don’t get enough scope to perform, but they do well.
Dear Zindagi Review by Bollywood Hungama
The story and screenplay (Gauri Shinde) of DEAR ZINDAGI is a sincere attempt in the genre of slice of life. One has to really give it to Gauri Shinde for having tried to present the complications of life in a simplified manner. The irony of the film remains in the fact that, despite the film’s characters being relatable, the proceedings of the film are simply opposite. All of this may make the audiences fail to find resonance with it. On the other hand, because of the film’s dialogues (Gauri Shinde) being extremely lucid, it will definitely find its echo amongst the viewers. The film has got its humour intact and in right proportions. Do not miss scenes like Shah Rukh Khan’s introduction, the first meeting between Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt and Alia Bhatt’s emotional outburst during the pre-climax.
Dear Zindagi Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
What could have been a solid drama with emotional heft — the qualities that made Shinde’s debut ‘English Vinglish’ such an engaging watch –built upon the exploration of the fact that our adulthood is shaped by our childhood in ways we don’t really understand, turns into a kitchen sink talkathon, where all the characters are given lines which are meant to be deep, but come off mostly banal and obvious. The vehicle through which, or should we say whom, Kaira learns life-lessons, is a dishy shrink played by Shah Rukh Khan. Dr Jehangir has her sit across him in a cosy room, takes her off for long walks on the beach, and teaches her that playing with waves is not just a game. It is Life Itself.
Dear Zindagi Review by Meena Iyer on The Times Of India
Feisty Alia, one of the better actors of the current generation, turns in a nicely nuanced performance. And SRK in his sober-avatar possessing infinite gyaan tempts you to seek out a therapist. If you’re in the mood to do some soul-searching this weekend, this film could do it for you.
Dear Zindagi Review by Ananya Bhattacharya on India Today
Dear Zindagi scores a few brownie points on the emotion front. However, when the film has emotions as its driving point, it comes as an unpleasant surprise when it can’t even do much there. The light-hearted dialogues and scenes are the high points of the film. But they too stop working after a point. At near-2.5 hours, Dear Zindagi feels too stretched.
Dear Zindagi Review by Raja Sen on Rediff
Shinde might be the most celebratory feminist among our mainstream filmmakers, her heroines far from being defined or restrained by men. Dear Zindagi is a lovely picture, made with finesse and heart, and one that not only takes some stigma off the idea of seeking therapy, but — in the most natural of ways — goes a long way in making a viewer think of the people who matter most. The single smartest trick in this film, however, may well be the primary casting decision. Because a good therapist is a superstar.
Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life
Dear Zindagi will definitely appeal to you if you love slice of life film. A little bit of trimming here and there would have been good, and it is not a typical Bollywood movie. However that shouldn’t stop you from not witnessing one of Alia’s best performances and SRK being his charming best.
Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews
While Khan offers sturdy support in this film, it’s Bhatt’s film all the way. Their relationship seems effortless. You almost feel as if Khan is playing himself in this film. Just like his charming, ever-amiable public persona, his character here too is instantly endearing. How their relationship develops is also interesting to watch. A grouse is that Bhatt’s relatives come across as stock characters — that intrusive aunt or uncle who’s always pestering the single women to marry quick could have been eliminated. But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this feel-good drama. If you are looking for a heartwarming, sensitive film about troubled twenty-somethings, then make a date with Dear Zindagi. You won’t live to regret it.
Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India
This film, instead, touches upon a whole bundle of stuff, often only saying or suggesting it, rather than even showing it: sleep deprivation (major urban disease), single girls being thrown out of rented apartments (terrible urban prejudice), desis looking down upon shrinks and their visitors (popular Indian notion), pain of a passionless heart that hardly beats, let alone breaks (common urban affliction)… It still reads so much like a part-real, part-reflective, deeply concerned, almost cathartic, personal journal — the sorts that in school notebooks, one began with, Dear diary… Or well, Dear zindagi, as in this case. You know what? As an audience, I’d take that over anything else.
Review by Tushar Joshi on DNA India
Conversations are entertaining and engaging when they end before they become white noise. Dear Zindagi suffers from some really long, drawn out monologues and verbal exchanges between Kaira and Dr. Jehangir. There is a scene where he compares trying out chairs to moving from one boyfriend to the other, another attempt at humour to talk about taking the easy way out rather than choosing the more obvious difficult path comes across as an exhausting attempt to build up a forced narrative. What felt like easy conversations in the first half suddenly become heavy and corny in the second. What is Jehangir’s back story? Why is he averse to the idea of opening himself up to Kaira? These and many more questions remain unanswered. Jehangir loses his sex appeal when he starts getting preachy and his believability suffers from the too-good-to-be-true syndrome.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
The chemistry between SRK and Alia is enchanting. In a rarest of rare occasion SRK makes way for his co-star to enjoy all the limelight as a protagonist and keeps himself ‘cool’ with a solid supporting act. All said and done, DEAR ZINDAGI is an impeccably performed touching if not everlasting adage on life and relationship with some soul stirring moments hailing the power of Alia Bhatt as a super performer and SRK as the irresistible cool charmer minus the super star’s ‘arm spread’ we all know.
Review by Raghav Jaitly on Zeenews
‘Dear Zindagi’ is a new age script that will do well with the youth. By moving ahead of romantic relationships, the movie also teaches important life lessons on how to deal with your family and how to bury the baggage of past. The flick is more like a therapy that the modern generation needs today in order to live a stress-free life. It is hard to comment whether it will work wonders in the single screen and rural areas but, if you need some freshness and a break from Bollywood clichés, then straightaway head to a theatre closest to you to grab a slice of ‘Dear Zindagi’
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
Shinde deserves a pat on her back for effectively and accurately portraying the ‘Tinder’ generation and driving home the point that a person’s present is often the result of his or her past. Kaira may come across as irritating and hypocritical in the first half but as you slowly realise that there is more to the issue, your opinion about the character undergoes a complete change and you may find yourself feeling affectionate towards her. However, it is the first half that meanders and makes you restless while the second half, though long, starts making sense. However, while Shinde could have stuck to a point and gently hammered it home (like she did in English Vinglish), she takes up an array of issues to discuss fleetingly via this film- single women not getting places on rent, the attitude of parents regarding the career choices and lifestyle of their children, the stigma attached to seeking professional help for mental issues et al. A bit of a focus with regards to the plot and storyline would not have harmed the film at all, we feel. Some of the points made in the film make quite an impact and the scene where Kaira breaks down in front of Jehangir, may surely bring a lump to your throat.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Gauri Shinde’s insights about the hopes and aspirations of Indian housewives (English Vinglish) is surely more detailed than her reading of a young adult’s heart and mind. But despite the research that probably went in here, she manages to present modern day relationships as non-committal yet not frivolous, non-exclusive yet just as caring and concerned. Shinde’s depiction of her emotionally scattered lead is faintly identifiable. But the repetitive moral policing and stereotyping inflicted on her seems a bit exaggerated. In other words, it could’ve been at least 20 minutes shorter. The use of light varies across the films. Consequently, in certain scenes, SRK appears like the cellophane-wrapped version who endorses a million brands, in others, the ageing actor who isn’t afraid to conceal his fine lines comes under the spotlight. This one is a mood film. No surprises, no revelations mid-way, but if you have a mushy-minded mate, this would make for quite a date.
Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
One film old director Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi is a slice of life film but you might or might not connect with it. Those who had a dysfunctional family as a child or have experienced multiple break ups in a short span of time will relate to Kaira’s story. First half of the film is nothing great, it just goes away in introduction of the characters and before the ride can even begin, it’s already interval. However, the film holds a huge promise of heart wrenching instances in the second half but no matter how much the reviewer tries hard to like the film and connect with Kaira’s journey, it is all in vain. Though the plot in reality is extremely weak, it has been covered up pretty nicely with brilliant performances.
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Shinde is at the top of her game here, mining the charms of her two lead actors to perfection to deliver a film that is quietly hypnotic. She chooses her pace and sticks to it all the way through a runtime of two and a half hours, a sure sign of faith in her material. For once, the length does not weigh heavy at all. On the flip side, Dear Zindagi, subtle at most times, occasionally tends to tilt towards the simplistic. But it pulls back just in the nick of time so that too much damage isn’t done. SRK’s introduction scene – it comes 50 minutes into the film – might have done with a little more thought.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
The screenplay and dialogues, however, stop the film from being magnificent. Another point that really didn’t work comes when Kaira needs yet another romantic relationship to lean upon, despite the entire film doling gyan on how romance isn’t the be-all and end-all in life.. If only Gauri brought better-etched characters and delved more into the emotional turmoils of her lead, this could have been a wonderful “slice-of-life” film with several messages to be lauded for. What she ends up with is a “could-have-been-amazing” film..
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
Despite the presence of Shah Rukh, there is just no emotional connect with Alia and you want to reach out and say, ‘Enough!’ to her. They try so hard to ‘be cool’. It’s not the fault of the young actors at all. Even Ali Zafar, who is perfect as the rebound boyfriend comes across as one-dimensional and easy to dismiss. The story just doesn’t have enough meat. It’s so Aalia-focussed, there is no room to develop the other characters. They’re all there to show how ‘kewl’ Aalia is.
Review by Shomini Sen on News18
Written by Gauri Shinde, Dear Zindagi primarily scores because of very real, well etched out characters. Alia Bhatt does get a strong role and she delivers but even the men, from Kunal Kapoor to Ali Zafar, they all strike a chord making the film extremely relatable. It is also heartening to see Khan in a role which is so subtle and restrained- a far cry from the roles that he has been doing in the past years. No frills, no songs, no unnecessary theatrics. Just pure acting.
Review by Subhash K Jha on Bollyspice
Here too, Alia, is radiantly patient. Her pleading eyes at their last session when, alas the patient must be torn away from her seductive guru, followed me out of this fabulous film. Alia is indeed magical in Dear Zindagi. In a role far less sympathetic than what Sridevi played in English Vinglish, Alia embraces all her character’s flaws and makes us love Kaira all the more for them. Ironically she plays a girl who must confront her silences in a film that has a lot to say. Oh, there are other remarkable performances too. Ira Dubey and Yashswini Dayama as Kaira’s besties….they look like they’ve known Alia all her life. Ali Zafar shows up in the second-half as a musician who thinks and talks only in music, whom Kaira becomes vaguely attracted to. No one gets it wrong in Dear Zindagi. It’s the kind of silent masterpiece where all the actors,even the habitually out-of-rhythm Aditya Roy Kapoor (in a concluding cameo) puts their best foot forward.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
Kaira’s character is totally imaginable as a girl you’d know, the kind who uses her rudeness on her sleeve while it actually is a coping mechanism of sorts. She has her reasons to be that way, but Dear Zindagi shows them to you too late to be able to fit the complicated puzzle that Kaira makes herself out to be. I am glad that we know very little about Jehangir Khan. He’s a therapist who seems to know what he is doing. And that is pretty much all we need to know. And the unique chemistry between Kaira and Jehangir is played out well by the two actors too.
Dear Zindagi Review by Sify
The film lacks drama and is stretched to over 2.5 hours on a wafer-thin plot, making for tedious viewing. Humour comes in the form of some light-hearted moments but is not enough to give respite. The second half of the film drags endlessly, although the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of her life fall into place as she makes peace with life. Amit Trivedi’s music too fails to make an impact and is almost lost. The film expectedly has good production values and the ethos of Goa is beautifully captured through the lens of Laxman Utekar. Dear Zindagi could have been a lively, fun film albeit with life lessons, rather than the long-winded slice of life it is.
Dear Zindagi Review by Indiaglitz
‘Dear Zindagi’ is fantastic, but only in parts and is lethargic in most. The concept of the movie is superb, but fails in its execution over the silver screen.This concept was perfect for a web series displaying the various chapters of Alia’s character. Wish the movie had more such wonderful scenes. ‘Dear Zindagi’ is a half-hearted soulful film. It starts on a tediously boring note and after a whiles gets on its right but perfect track.
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