Posts Tagged ‘ Ali Zafar ’

Dear Zindagi

dear-zindagi-poster

Dear Zindagi
Release date: November 25, 2016
Directed by: Gauri Shinde
Cast: Alia Bhatt, Yashaswini Dayama, Ira Dubey, Shah Rukh Khan, Angad Bedi, Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar

In one of the myriad marketing campaigns before its release, the film’s protagonist Kaira’s character was pushed as a ‘verified’ profile on a dating mobile application. All with a descriptive bio about her profession, likes and pet peeves, and pretty stills of Alia Bhatt from Dear Zindagi. Perhaps, in a bid to humanize her on-screen persona, unlike the “heroines” of the past, where a constant effort was made to sanitize and idolize the woman, as an object of desire and worship.

Gauri Shinde’s Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a cinematographer with fluttering romantic interests, and a remarkable ability to disconnect from these men when they tend to get “serious”. After one of her another shocking departures from a dishy manbun sporting Raghavendra (Kunal Kapoor), Jackie (a charming Yashaswini Dayama) lectures her in an inebriated stupor on how he was the ideal ‘match’ for her. Creating a verbal checklist of qualities that she saw in him, only 2% of the world’s population is good-looking, why would Kaira want to give up on someone who’s in that precious creamy layer.

Of course, Kaira doesn’t have definite answers for her actions, her reasons still unfounded. After being on a momentary career high, things come crashing down for her, thus forcing her to get back to her parents in Goa. Her friends call her the world’s only person who’s averse to the idea of a trip to this Indian beach-haven. Once there, she is faced with exaggerated shaming and cornered into submitting into a wedlock, she continues to act out like a rebelling teenager and a part disgusted young, rich adult. Texts filled with hate, multiple exclamation marks, she types and backspaces before hitting the send button; bottling all her angst for an ex, a landlord, and another ex.

Faced with sleepless nights, she chances upon a gig for a family acquaintance’s hotel, that’s coincidentally hosting a mental health awareness summit. As she waits for the summit to end, she makes light of the serious medicinal jargon being spewn inside. Enters Dr Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) in his torn jeans and a scoop-neck t-shirt under his hoodie. Fascinated by his ‘different’ approach towards the business of secrecy and whispers around Rorschach tests, Kaira decides to start seeing him for therapy.

After an elaborate build-up, commences the most fulfilling and, simultaneously, cliche sequence of therapy where Khan repeats lines that we may have come across in TV shows, novels, and even agony-aunt columns in newspapers/magazines. But then, it hasn’t ever been Shah Rukh Khan telling us why we need to date people, opting out of very complex situations, and not letting our past blackmail our present into ruining our future, the pulp of Indian Uncle Whatsapp forwards. His character’s wit still subdued from that of his personal and public high-standards, yet as mature as a wise and accomplished fifty one year old.

Kaira’s development from flagging off her sessions by the classic “I’m asking this for a friend.” and evolving into letting off details of her anxieties and insecurities, slowly, is the fruit of Khan’s casual approach to his job. Not sure how many real shrinks would take their patients on long walks on the beaches of Goa; though, a comfortably-dressed Khan playing Kabaddi with the waves is endearing. The grandeur of a superstar doesn’t take away sheen from what is Alia Bhatt’s virtual diary. After Udta Punjab, she is back to playing a rich-kid, albeit with an underlying professional ambition, to reduce the shine from her character’s economical affluence, only slightly.

She settles into the skin of Kaira, a frustratingly confused millennial, haunted by a fear of abandonment from deep-rooted emotional upheavals. Her character’s journey is complete with a graph of metamorphosis, a little too good to be true, and a song-and-dance flourish to top off the film with a traditional cherry, when it consistently takes the path of being “off-beat”, where even the cliffhanging point of an intermission is also punctuated by a lack of any real conflict.

A trade-off between commercial filmmaking and a settled indie approach is thus achieved. The chopping of the loose flab of commercial celluloid cellulite could have easily rendered a tauter, and an equally relevant film about mental health issues, and the stigma attached to it, in a Hindi film universe, where we still continue to portray mental asylums as either pits of hell filled with delinquents possessed by spirits, or just sparingly exploited for comic relief.

In a society that continuously awards a person who shuts the lid on their vulnerabilities, Dear Zindagi asks us to be accepting of our life’s miseries as openly as we put ourselves out there in a dating pool with billions of other people, hoping to be that one snowflake who captures the imagination of the most right-swipes.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Chashme Baddoor

Chashme_Baddoor_(2013_film)_Poster
Chashme Baddoor
Release date: April 5, 2013
Directed by: David Dhawan
Cast: Ali Zafar, Divyendu Sharma, Siddharth Narayan, Taapsee Pannu, Anupam Kher, Bharti Achrekar, Rishi Kapoor, Lilette Dubey

Falling on the mighty back of the 1981 original, the remake borrows heavily from it. Every major plot device is the same, only tweaked in the smallest possible way.

The basic plot remains the same, and the makers go out on a limb to incorporate every major situation/scene from the classic. I’m making an attempt at how the writers were asked to come up with the screenplay. Probably handed over a checklist with the following bullets.

  • Chamko detergent segment.
  • Make Siddharth the good guy. (We don’t care if you can’t show it by his mannerisms and other nuances, just make some of the ensemble cast say it loud for the audience.)
  • The boys must have an outstanding debt.
  • Make Jai and Omi escape through the window and stand on the building ledge, when Seema (not Neha) comes to see Jai.
  • Use the same dated kidnapping shtick to make the protagonist win over the girl at the end.

There’s the usual, “deliver a pseudo-funny line at every juncture, the circumstances of the story should have absolutely no effect on the viewer and keep them laughing” forced humor. (WHY!?)

Out of the two new sub-plots, one is in which Rishi Kapoor substitutes Saeed Jaffrey’s Lallan Miyaan and add a romantic interest for him, i.e. landlord Lilette Dubey. And the second features Anupam Kher in a pointless double role as Seema’s (Taapsee Pannu) father and uncle. Both of the above have absolutely zero impact and add very less to the narrative. Out of all the performances, Divyendu’s jokes do less, and his delivery along with his expressions in rest of his scenes somewhat elevates the film.

The songs try too hard to be witty by making the lyrics, uh, whatever they are. The speed and the loudness of the thick beats does little to help them either. Also, there’s poor dubbing or as though it seems. There are awkward cuts and therefor there are obvious issues with this remake in every department. The laughs come in throughout, but new material is far and few between.

Chashme Buddoor‘s original flavor has a lot to keep you entertained, but yet this Chashme BADdoor failed to keep this viewer amused. Perhaps, it was their way of warning us how the remake is going to be different from the original by putting a ‘BAD’ right there in Buddoor.

My rating: ** (Two stars out of five)

%d bloggers like this: