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Dear Zindagi
A woman with her arms outstretched stands at the beach at sunset.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gauri Shinde
Produced by Gauri Khan
Karan Johar
Gauri Shinde
Written by Gauri Shinde
Screenplay by Gauri Shinde
Starring Alia Bhatt
Shah Rukh Khan
Music by Amit Trivedi
Cinematography Laxman Utekar
Edited by Hemanti Sarkar
Production
companies
Distributed by Red Chillies Entertainment
Release date
  • 23 November 2016 (2016-11-23) (North America)
  • 25 November 2016 (2016-11-25) (Worldwide)
Running time
150 minutes[1]
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 220 million[2]
Box office est. 1392.9 million[3]

Dear Zindagi (lit. Dear Life) is a 2016 Indian Hindi-language coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Gauri Shinde. It was produced by Gauri Khan, Karan Johar, and Shinde under the banners of Red Chillies Entertainment, Dharma Productions, and Hope Productions respectively. The film features Alia Bhatt in the lead role, with Shah Rukh Khan, Kunal Kapoor and Ali Zafar in supporting roles. The plot centres on a budding cinematographer named Kaira, who is discontented with her life and meets Dr. Jehangir, a free-spirited psychologist who helps her to gain a new perspective on her life.

Development of the film began in 2015, when Shinde signed Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan for a film to be made under her banner. Principal photography took place in Goa and Mumbai, in the period from 21 January to 20 May 2016. The film features a score composed by Amit Trivedi and lyrics written mostly by Kausar Munir. Dear Zindagi released on 23 November 2016 in North America, two days before its worldwide release on 25 November 2016, to commercial success and generally positive reviews. It received a number of accolades at Bollywood award organisations, with particular praise for Bhatt's and Khan's performances, direction, and film score.

Contents

PlotEdit

In Mumbai and Goa, Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a promising cinematographer who wishes to direct her own films. Blunt and cynical, she is most comfortable when with her three best friends, Fatima (Ira Dubey), Jackie (Yashaswini Dayama) and Ganju (Gautmik). Kaira's life takes a downturn when Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor), a film producer for whom she breaks up with her childhood sweetheart, gets engaged to someone else. Her landlord turns her out of her apartment because the building association wants to rent apartments only to married couples. All this plus dissatisfaction with her prospects at work serves as a catalyst for her shift to Goa, where she now has to grudgingly live with her parents (Aban Deohans and Atul Kale) with whom she has some issues. She ends up spending many sleepless nights in unhappiness and uncertainty.

While in Goa, she seeks out Dr. Jehangir "Jug" Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), a psychologist, for her insomnia, after inadvertently having heard him talk at a Mental Health Awareness Conference. She warms to Jug's unconventional methods, trying to use them to understand herself. Meanwhile, she meets a musician, Rumi (Ali Zafar), and she falls in love with him, but they break up before anything serious can happen when she realises they may not be the right fit for each other. She also reunites with her younger brother, Kiddo (Rohit Saraf), who is the only other person besides her best friends that she is closest to. Matters with her family come to a head when Kaira has an outburst at a family get-together where she confronts her parents about them abandoning her for years at her grandparents' (Martha Xavier Fernandes and Madhav Vaze) house.

She finally narrates the story of her abandonment to Jug, who tells her that she fears abandonment so much that she does not allow herself to commit in relationships, leaving before they can leave her. He convinces her that she does not need to forgive her parents for abandoning her in her childhood. But as an adult, have the maturity to see her parents as two regular people who are capable of making mistakes, like everyone else. After this, Kaira makes an effort to reconcile with her parents and also works to finish her short film.

At their last session, Kaira admits to Jug that she has grown to like him. Jug responds that it is normal for a patient to feel this way about his/her therapist and while he likes her too, (in a non-romantic way) she is still his patient and he, her psychologist, and a relationship would not be possible. The two share a hug before Kaira leaves. There is a subtle suggestion that Jug might have liked her back, even romantically (but of course he can't admit that since Kaira is his patient).

Kaira finally completes her short film, which she had been working on for years. At the premiere, friends and family, and exes are present to cheer her on. This is where she finally meets a furniture designer (Aditya Roy Kapur). Life moves on.

CastEdit

  • Alia Bhatt as Kaira, who is also referred to as "Koko". During her interview with Bombay Times, Bhatt spoke about her role. She said that playing the role of Kaira was altogether a very different experience.[4]
  • Shah Rukh Khan as Dr. Jehangir "Jug" Khan, who helps Kaira find answers to her life's problems. He describes his role by saying, "I am a support in the film, more like an extended cameo. I am very glad to be in this film. I have never played such a role in my entire career."[5]
  • Ira Dubey as Fatima, Kaira's friend, who is also referred to as "Fatty"
  • Yashaswini Dayama as Jackie, Kaira's friend
  • Gautmik as Ganju, Kaira's friend
  • Yashwant Singh as Kaira's uncle
  • Salone Mehta as Kaira's aunt
  • Baby Dishita as little Kaira
  • Nitika Anand as family friend
  • Rohit Saraf as Kiddo, Kaira's younger brother
  • Amit Nagraj as little Kiddo
  • Aban Deohans as Kaira's mother
  • Atul Kale as Kaira's father
  • Martha Xavier Fernandes as Kaira's maternal grandmother
  • Madhav Vaze as Kaira's maternal grandfather
  • Kunal Kapoor as Raghuvendra, a film producer
  • Angad Bedi as Sid, a restobar owner
  • Ali Zafar as Rumi, a musician and singer-songwriter[6]
  • Akanksha Gade as maid Alka
  • Aditya Roy Kapur as a furniture dealer (guest appearance)

Source:[7]

ProductionEdit

Development and pre-productionEdit

Made on a moderate budget, Dear Zindagi was produced by Gauri Khan of Red Chillies Entertainment, Johar of Dharma Productions and Shinde of Hope Productions. The film was directed by Shinde, her second directorial after the comedy-drama film English Vinglish (2012). When Shinde was asked in an interview with The Indian Express, whether there is a personal story to Dear Zindagi, she replied, "Dear Zindagi is inspired by life in general. It started with an idea about the connections we make in our lives and how such connections can impact us. That's something that interested me and I tried to develop a story around the philosophy."[8] In August 2015, Shinde revealed that she had "almost" completed working on the screenplay.[9]

Pre-production work began in December 2015. Shinde began working in the story at that time, and she chose Goa and Mumbai as the film's key locations. The production crew consisted primarily of people Shinde had worked with in English Vinglish, with the exception of production designer Rupin Suchak—they are film editor Hemanti Sarkar; dialogue team Krishna Hariharan, Gauri Shinde and Kausar Munir; and cinematographer Laxman Utekar.[10]

 
Bhatt was eager to work with Shah Rukh Khan in the film

India Today reported that Shah Rukh Khan and Bhatt would star together in Shinde's then-untitled film. Bhatt was very eager to work with Shah Rukh Khan.[9] It is Shah Rukh Khan's first film with Bhatt.[11] It was reported that there would not be any typical romance between the characters of Shah Rukh Khan and Bhatt. Shinde confirmed to The Indian Express saying, "It won't be as typical as one expects man and woman to be together."[12] In April 2016, it was reported that Shah Rukh Khan would play a love guru who would help Bhatt's character to manage the attention of four people and figure out how to find her true love, and Bhatt would play the role of a filmmaker, whose experiences with all four characters would shape her life and work.[13]

The other actors who were signed up for the film include Ali Zafar, who played the role of rockstar and musician; Angad Bedi, who played the role of Kaira's childhood sweetheart, a restobar owner; Kunal Kapoor, who played the role of Kaira's film producer and invested in Bhatt's film; and Aditya Roy Kapur, who played the role of a charming furniture dealer.[14] Ira Dubey and Yashaswini Dayama played the role of Kaira's best friends, while Rohit Saraf played the role of her brother.[15]

Filming and post-productionEdit

Principal photography for Dear Zindagi began on 21 January 2016 in Goa.[16] The shoot for the entire film was to be completed in two schedules; one in Goa and the other in Mumbai. The first schedule of Goa was completed in the last week of February 2016 after about 30 days, then the entire cast of the film moved to Mumbai for the second schedule of the film. Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan enjoyed working together and were looking forward to the next schedule.[17] Bhatt had also moved to Singapore to shoot for a song sequence for the film. The entire shooting of the film ended on 20 May 2016. Bhatt shared the entire shooting experience by posting a group selfie with her team in Singapore, via her Instagram handle.[18]

In March 2016, Bhatt said to India.com that she was very excited about sharing screenspace with Shah Rukh Khan in the film. She had not slept for several nights during the shoot of the film. "It was lovely working with him on the show and on Gauri's film when we recently shot in Goa," she said.[19]

On 23 June 2016, The Times of India reported that the title of the film would be Dear Zindagi.[20]

MusicEdit

Dear Zindagi
Soundtrack album by Amit Trivedi
Released 15 November 2016
Studio A T Studio
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 39:03
Language Hindi
Label Sony Music
Producer Amit Trivedi
Amit Trivedi chronology
Udta Punjab
(2016)
Dear Zindagi
(2016)
Qaidi Band
(2017)
External audio
  Jukebox on YouTube
Singles from '
  1. "Tu Hi Hai"
    Released: 17 November 2016[21]
  2. "Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Take 1)"
    Released: 22 November 2016[22]
  3. "Love You Zindagi (Club Mix)"
    Released: 28 November 2016[23]
  4. "Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Take 2)"
    Released: 13 December 2016[24]

The soundtrack was released by Sony Music India. The full album was released on 15 November 2016.[25] Audio Jukebox was released on 21 November 2016 on YouTube.

The song "Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le"; written by Gulzar and was originally composed by Ilaiyaraaja and sung by Suresh Wadkar for 1983 film Sadma; has been recreated for the film. While, lyrics for the other songs in the album are written by Kausar Munir.

All music composed by Amit Trivedi.

Track listing
No.TitleSinger(s)Length
1."Love You Zindagi"Jasleen Royal, Amit Trivedi3:51
2."Tu Hi Hai"Arijit Singh3:19
3."Taarefon Se"Arijit Singh4:38
4."Lets Break Up"Vishal Dadlani4:06
5."Just Go To Hell Dil"Sunidhi Chauhan, Amit Trivedi5:35
6."Love You Zindagi" (Club Mix)Alia Bhatt3:35
7."Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le" (Take 1)Arijit Singh2:51
8."Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le" (Take 2)Alia Bhatt3:06
9."Taarefon Se" (Film version)Ali Zafar[26]4:38
10."Tu Hi Hai" (Film version)Ali Zafar[27]3:21
Total length:39:03
Critical response

Suanshu Khurana and A. Kameshwari of The Indian Express praised the music and respectively said, "A fresh and enthusiastic set, with life's tales told in a breezy fashion. The album lacks variance, yet, it manages to have many sparkling moments."[28] and, "Sensible and relatable songs making the album simplistic that automatically gets registered at the back of your mind, a poetic version of our exact feelings."[29]

Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama, rating the music album a 3 out of 5 stars, said that it was "a series of situational songs that should sound good in the film's narrative".[30] Rinky Kumar of The Times of India rated 3 stars to the album, saying, "this movie doesn't have songs that have a high recall value".[31]

ReleaseEdit

The film was released in Canada and the USA on 23 November 2016, and worldwide on 25 November 2016. It opened in about 1200 theatres nationwide and in 600 theatres in other countries.[32] The film also had a special screening on 23 November 2016 in Mumbai.[33]

Box officeEdit

Dear Zindagi opened well in multiplexes in Mumbai, Mysore, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, while in North India it had a comparatively decent opening.[34][35]

Dear Zindagi released earlier in North America on account of the Thanksgiving weekend holidays. The film on its first day collected 1.19 crore from 127 screens in the United States and 8.29 lacs in Canada from 16 screens. In the extended two day, the film collected about 15.8 million at the North America box office.[36][37]

The film earned a total of 94.67 crore in India, grossing 1392.9 million worldwide.[3]

Critical responseEdit

 
Bhatt and Khan (sitting on a furniture) received praise for their performances.

Dear Zindagi received mostly positive response from critics. Audiences praised both Bhatt's and Khan's performances.[38][39]

IndiaEdit

Meena Iyer of The Times of India gave the film a 3.5 (out of 5) rating, described Bhatt's character as "feisty", praised Bhatt's and Khan's performances.[40] Namrata Joshi of The Hindu rated the film 3 out of 5 stars, noting that "the chemistry between Bhatt and Khan makes the film sparkle despite the heavy-handed writing".[41] Ananya Bhattacharya of India Today, giving the same rating, said that Dear Zindagi is "an emotional joyride which won't harm you when watched once". She recommended to watch the film due to the performances by its two principal actors.[42] Mayank Shekhar of Mid Day also rated it 3 (out of 5) stars, saying: "This film, at its core, is conversational sort of feature, but mostly quiet, even indoorsy."[43]

Conversely, Rohit Bhatnagar writing for Deccan Chronicle gave the film 2.5 out of 5 stars, and thought that the film was "definitely a one time watch", and concluded, that the film deserves a watch but "only for amazing performances and nothing else".[44] A reviewer for Bollywood Hungama giving the same rating to the film commented that Dear Zindagi was "a slow-paced cerebral and contemporary slice of life tale about the challenges today's generation of girls face in a rapidly shifting landscape".[45] Sweta Kaushal of Hindustan Times rated the film 2 out of 5 stars, and wrote, "There is a lot of banter in the film that is supposed to be deep and philosophical but is really just plain, hollow banter", and concluded, that the film "could-have-been-amazing".[46] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave it a negative review and summed up her review by writing that the "film could have been a solid drama with emotional heft but despite great performances by the two stars, the feature remains strictly boiler-plate".[47]

OverseasEdit

Christine Iyer of The National awarded the film 4 out of 5 stars, praised Khan's performance and said that he "absolutely shines in the role of soft-spoken therapist Jehangir 'Jug' Khan in this gentle drama by Gauri Shinde".[48] Manjusha Radhakrishnan of Gulf News rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and described the tale of Bhatt as "joyously entertaining", and advised to "make a date with Dear Zindagi."[49] Anisha Jhaveri of IndieWire gave the film a grade of A minus, and said that the film's plot had a "powerful message, that gives Dear Zindagi its substance".[50] Shilpa Jamkhandikar of Reuters negatively stated: "The need to explain every moment and articulate every emotion pulls down Dear Zindagi; even the brilliant chemistry between the two leads cannot salvage the film from this fatal flaw".[51] Andy Webster of The New York Times described it an "insightful movie", and a "resounding victory".[52]

AccoladesEdit

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Screen Awards 4 December 2016 Best Film Gauri Khan, Gauri Shinde and Karan Johar Nominated [53]
Best Director Gauri Shinde Nominated
Best Actress Alia Bhatt Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Shah Rukh Khan Nominated
Stardust Awards 19 December 2016 Best Actress Alia Bhatt Nominated [54]
[55]
Editor's Choice Performer of the Year Nominated
Best Story Gauri Shinde Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Shah Rukh Khan Nominated
Films of India Online Awards 12 January 2017 Best Actress in a Leading Role Alia Bhatt Nominated [56]
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Shah Rukh Khan Won
Best Screenplay Gauri Shinde Nominated
Best Background Score Amit Trivedi Won
Filmfare Awards 14 January 2017 Best Actress Alia Bhatt Nominated [57][58]
Best Lyricist Kausar Munir Nominated
Zee Cine Awards 11 March 2017 Best Actor – Female Alia Bhatt Nominated [59]
International Indian Film Academy Awards 14 July 2017 Best Actress in a Leading Role Alia Bhatt Nominated [60]
BIG Zee Entertainment Awards 29 July 2017 Most Entertaining Actor (Film) – Female Alia Bhatt Nominated [61]
Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 10 August 2017 Best Actress Alia Bhatt Nominated [62]

ControversyEdit

In the first week of November 2016, it was reported that Ali Zafar has been replaced by Tahir Raj Bhasin in the film due to the tensions created after the 2016 Uri terror attack and the subsequent ban on Pakistani actors by the MNS. However, on 15 November 2016, Pakistan's newspaper Dawn reported that Bhatt denied the rumours at an event on 14 November 2016. On being asked, she said: "Nobody is being replaced. The film will release in its full form."[63][64] Ali Zafar has sung two songs for the film, but those were dubbed by Arijit Singh, whose versions were added into the soundtrack album instead of Zafar's.[65][66] Later, Zafar's songs were officially shared online.[26][27]

Shortly after the release of the film, Temple Street Productions sent a legal notice to Karan Johar's Dharma Productions for copyright infringement,[67] alleging that the movie was inspired in detail by the Canadian television series Being Erica. Shinde has denied the claim.[68][69][70]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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