Dear Zindagi

I seem to be having a renewed fling with Hindi movies. It could be me – looking for a change from the formula Hollywood movies – or, it could be the movies I saw – light hearted, yet not the outrageous fare the Salman or Akshay produce.

I liked Ae dil hai mushkil (ADHM). And now, 2 weeks later, I really, really liked Dear Zindagi.

ADHM felt more polished, had much better music, and had the usual play between a male and a female lead.

Yet, it was Dear Zindagi that I liked more. A lot more. Some reasons…

  • Alia Bhatt – she brings a truck load of freshness, youth, and energy to the screen. It’s been a week, and I can still close my eyes, and remember the wide variety of her expressions. Brings on a smile every time.
     
  • SRK – I was starting to get tired of him in lead, primary male roles. And he goes an reinvents himself, and how. A small cameo in ADHM was brilliant. A full role, but as a second character to a young, female, primary lead – and he pulled it off effortlessly. He was strong and present, as his own character, while not stealing an iota of focus from the main character – Alia’s. Which brings me to…
     
  • Sole female lead. I didn’t think that Bollywood could produce a movie with a strong, solo female lead. At least not in my lifetime. And here we have one. Not just a solo, strong female lead. But one that’s neither an arch-feminist waging the war on the world, nor a mother-to-the-world leading the charge. She’s just a regular, young girl, living (the complicated & troubled, yet sometimes joyous life) in modern India. Hats off to the producer and director for taking on this challenge, and executing it without heavy melodrama.
     
  • Mental health. It took a long while, but glad to have a bollywood movie bring a focus on mental health into the mainstream. Usually, mental health issues are portrayed either with jail-like mental asylums full of odd characters, or with dark, dangerous, gloomy, brooding characters.
    It was pleasant to see it shown in such a different light. Yes, normal, successful, seemingly happy people, surrounded by friends, can still have mental health problems. And yes, it’s not just normal, but important to see a therapist/consultant to work on those problems, the same way we do with our physical health issues. Thanks again, to the writers, the director, and the producers, for bringing mental health in focus, in such a non-intimidating, yet serious manner.
     
  • Bombay & Goa. My top two favourite places in India. The only two places, I’ve long stated on record, that I can live in if I ever return to India.
    The movie highlighted some of the best bits of both places for me, without focussing on the usual landmarks and tourist spots. More than the sights, it was the people, the culture, of both places that I love. That I’ve missed. Was a warm blessing to see them portrayed on screen. Not perfect, not complete, yet true … to what was shown.
     
  • Friends. I don’t have any. I use to, not anymore. So, it really warmed my heart to see such a close, happy bunch of friends. Fighting, forgiving, fun, friends.
    Friends, you can speak to. Or not. Who give you an embrace, and a shrug. Who care about you, but not just for the gossip. Just, friends.
     
  • Family. Again, the movie didn’t stick to one of the two standard strains of family relations – the god like parents in front of whom everyone bends eventually, or the devils of parents against whom everyone rebels, till parents come to their senses or the kids die.
    Families are complicated. Relationships are complicated. It was good to see them shown as such, and not in one of the two simple baskets. We’re both right and wrong in our relationships. Often at the same time. Some relationships are special, some even more so. The strength of that bond, sometimes, has nothing to do with time spent together, or closeness of the relationship in traditional terms. And sometimes, relationships that should be close, aren’t – me & sis, for example. Often, some friendships get closer than even the closest relationships we were born into.That’s just how we are. Such is life. Such, it was, in the movie. Thank you!
     
  • Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le, Take 2. I liked the music of ADHM more than that of Dear Zindagi. Still, there are a few songs in this movie that’ve quickly made their way to my most played playlist. This one deserves a special mention, considering the original was (is) a long time favourite. (Take 1 is brilliant as well)
     

Love you zindagi…. (and you too, that small corner of Bollywood)

A so so day

Beach at Seven Sisters country park
Beach at Seven Sisters country park

Bad: United didn’t win, at home.
Good: United didn’t lose. At home.

Bad: in laws flinching on realising their favourite Rahman song on the car stereo is in Hindi
Good: they grit their teeth and try to survive, without complaining or commenting about it. (Also, #smallvictory for me after my house’s primary language has been turned into one I don’t get a word of)

Bad: went to a clean beach on a hot day, but I didn’t get to swim, at all!
Good: Chewie got to swim. And he swam, and swam, and swam ☺

Bad: 3+ hours to drive a 90 min drive, thanks to holiday traffic.
Good: The destination.