Dear Zindagi: It’s not so complicated

This is not another movie review from me. Let’s just call it a review of my thoughts post watching a movie! The movie in focus here is the latest offering from Gowri Shinde; Dear Zindagi. I will not go into much details about the movie but I will sum it up by just saying that it forces you take some time and look at the youth today and somewhere you might end up connecting with your own youth. There are a few moments from the movie that sparked some discussion within me and my family. One of my kids loved the movie and the other didn’t. The spouse would have much preferred a song-dance-fight routine. Nevertheless, the ride back from the movie was not silent. There were questions flying around from everyone, spouse included and any movie that can spark an animated conversation, in my eyes is worth a thousand stars!

Some salient points from the movie that we were teased into discussing were as follows:

  1. Only 2% of the world is good looking and it’s important to have a good looking face to look at when you wake up. A friend and I were discussing the movie and we were arguing if that was a shallow thought. But the truth is that’s how the world functions. Looks are important. If you have the looks, the initial path is made easy, sustainability is completely a different ball game and that is where substance matters. But if you already have the looks, your first impression is a cake walk, the red carpet has already been rolled out. All you have to do is walk without tripping!
  2. If you do not hesitate to go to a doctor for a physical ailment, why hesitate when you have a mental ailment. This is something society has still not come to terms with. How easy it is to tell someone, I am going to see the doctor for a colonoscopy or a pap-smear but how often do we hear someone say, ‘I am going to see a doctor because I have anxiety and depression or anger management’. Nil. It is still considered a taboo topic. The truth is it’s a rough complicated world out there. People live in a nuclear world. We bond with ourselves. We keep others away. We carry many burdens and we have no time to share it with others. Result: Utter chaos in the mind! It needs help and it’s important to recognise that need and handle it accordingly.
  3. The inability to express our true feelings. The lack of expression. I am going cultural here. In the south asian culture, it is not considered prudent to express your feelings. Its an unsaid, untaught rule that you should keep your feelings in. Do not show your anger, even if you are burning inside. Do not laugh loud. It should be subtle and sweet. Do not hit anyone even if they deserved it. Do not…do not…do not lose control. End result: Botoxed faces! You learn not to share your true feelings. You fail to express your love, or anger or disgust in a timely manner until it’s too late and everything explodes!
  4. Why look to one person to fulfil all your needs. Really why? Let’s take our body for example, you eat carrots so you can see better, fibre to poop easy, okra to grow some brains, onions to keep the testosterone up (breath mints a must!), Spinach to keep the blood clean…so on and so forth. So when we use so many different foods to supplement our body needs, why do we look for all qualities in one person. Why burden him or her so much? They are not made to order, they are what they are even before you met them. Don’t try to change that. One person alone cannot be handsome (remember only 2%), be humorous, be sensitive, be courageous, be an intellectual, be polished, be rich and so on. Manage your expectations. The result will be a fairly simplified life.
  5. All tough paths are not always the right paths. Somehow we are trained to think that life is supposed to be difficult. The easy paths are wrong and the difficult ones are right. Not at all. Not everyone wants to swim across the dead sea with salt stinging their bodies to make a point. Some just sit behind their laptop, write a blog (like me!) and feel satisfied they did their piece for the world. I am totally using Dr. Khan’s words here because I can’t say it any better than him. Sometimes it’s not necessary to chose the difficult path, especially when you are not ready. Why set yourself up for failure. Take the easy path, grow, learn, toughen-up and then take the tough path. You will have a better chance at success.

These are some of the churning thoughts that we were discussing. In talking with the kids, I told them an important takeaway for life. The importance of self-awareness and communication. You can easily tell when your head hurts but you need self-awareness to realize your heart hurts. The reasons can be many and not important right now but accepting and respecting those feelings is extremely important. Do not ignore it or push it away. Treat it as you would a physical pain. Once you recognize it, the most important final step is communication. Yes, talk about it! Choose your person but choose someone who will make you feel better not worse. Someone who can tell you there is an issue without judging you. And when you find that person amongst the other 98%, treasure them. They are hard to come by. In fact statistics says that, in a lifetime you will only meet one or two (if you are extremely lucky) such people. Just learn to communicate your thoughts and feelings, clearly and in a timely manner. Not just to that friend but also to the person who is the cause of those feelings. This will help mitigate any future arising issues and nip the molehill from becoming a mountain.

Yes, life is not easy. But there is no need to complicate it any more than it already is. I have a favorite quote, ‘You live life only once and if you live it right, once is more than enough’. So celebrate what you have, exhale, just smile and say hello to life itself.

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Dil Dhadakne Do …and it surely does!

This movie is a buffet of emotions. It caters to one and all, with its very relatable characters and stories. The director Zoya Akhtar has done a great job bringing an entire society of people together…on a cruise ship. The ship serves as a bowl, where in the director mixes up the characters, adds her spices and doles it out to the eager audience. 

The story is something most people would relate to. Nothing new and totally predictable. What makes it interesting is the fact that there is no pretense of making it anything but normal. There is nothing unexpected and the audience is always a step ahead and knows where the story is headed but the way the scenes have been treated is a treat to watch. The story is about a dysfunctional family that looks perfect on the outside. It’s about a society where money is all that matters. A story where relationships are made and broken like a business deal. A story where a progressive society is just about dressing and partying, but is still ancient when it talks about fairness and equal rights.

The characters in the movie are again a treat to watch on screen.  Let’s start with Anil Kapoor who has done an amazing job as a shrewd businessman but who has no idea how to be a dad. His new look in the movie matches up to the character very well. Shefali Shah as the mother, delivers another brilliant performance as the sometimes caring, sometimes gossiping, sometimes cold and sometimes broken character. Her eyes speak all the emotions that her character goes through. Anushka has a brief role but manages to shine in the bit, although her role could have been completely done away with. Even briefer is Farhan Akhtars role but he is dashing as ever and does not disappoint one bit. The two actors though who are a surprise package are Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh. They were always good actors but the level of maturity and their controlled performance in this movie shows their growth as confident actors. They shine in every scene and appear extremely secure and confident in every frame. They look great, act great and deliver a perfect 10! Notice the two-minute dance that Priyanka partners with Anushka and one can feel the electric presence of the star. It is impossible to take your eyes off Priyanka. The way she conveys her strength and weakness together is amazing. One one side she is this entrepreneur who runs a successful business and on the other handshe is this vulnerable wife and daughter. As Farhan sums it up by asking her how a woman so smart in life can be so stupid in love. 

This could have been an amazing movie if the script was a little tighter. There are some scenes and story lines that only added to the length of the movie. Also it was not necessary to turn every emotional scene into a comedy. The movie is kept light and funny throughout but sometimes even when seriousness is required the story lines turn comic and you feel cheated that for a moment you felt emotional for nothing. 

On the whole, Dil Dhadakne Do definitely makes your heart beat. It’s a feel good movie that very subtly brings a lot of family issues to the forefront and forces you to think. Makes you question yourself if we have really moved forward as a society or is it all a sham that hides behind the glitz and money. It’s definitely a movie worth watching and then to ponder a bit about how far you have come in your own growth as a person. 

  

Review: Two States

Is love enough to start off a happy life? Or better said in the ancient Hindi proverb “Jab miya biwi raazi tho kya karega kaazi!” (If the bride and groom agree then what can anyone do to stop them) Well the ‘kaazi’ plays a very important role in this movie 😉

 

This is the tag line the movie rests itself on. It is a movie that a south Asian audience can particularly appreciate because, we know…that just love between a boy and a girl is not enough! Chetan Bhagat’s semi-autobiographical story of how he tried to bridge the cultural divide between two families, as he sets out to marry his college sweetheart is the basic premise of the movie.

The movie reiterates how a south Asian marriage is not just a marriage between individuals but a marriage between families. It’s important for a bride’s parents to like the groom, vice versa and for the respective families to like each other too. The south Asian parents wield too much power in making the right choice for their sons or daughters and when this power is threatened in the form of the kids making their own decisions, it is taken as a defiance of authority.

The male protagonist Krish(Arjun Kapoor) and his counterpart Ananya(Alia Bhatt) too break away from the mold of arranged marriages and make a choice of being with each other. Only problem is that he is a Punjabi and she a Madrasi. So the two worlds collide, along with the people, feelings, customs, traditions and culture. Both do their part in bringing the worlds together but it’s not an easy task. The most endearing moment in the movie is Krish making his ‘intent-to-wed’ pitch to Ananya’s family in a restaurant. Very original! The movie exposes the various differences in cultures very neatly without stereotyping it too much or hurting the sentiments of any particular community. The message is sent across in a subtle and comedic manner that’s not so hard to accept.

The movie by itself, reminds you of the previous movie from the same production (Dharma productions) house ‘Hansee toh phansee’. The emotions in the movie are same and you do get a sense of Déjà vu as the reel unrolls. The editing slacks in some places, especially in the mid-parts of the first and second half. One would be tempted to press the fast forward button if it was being watched on DVD at home. The songs don’t add much to the movie and in some places seem like a distraction. Some go unnoticeable as they are played in the background. The most endearing song is the one picturized on Revathy for many reasons and you need to watch it to feel it! The story though seems under developed in certain parts, especially the track between Krish and his dad, or the problems between the Malhotra couple itself. There are quite a few loose strings in the screenplay.

About the cast, Arjun seems more like a brooding south Indian than a bubbling Punjabi, so the stereotype fails right there, especially since Alia is depicted as a fair, bubbly and strong girl. Arjun looks depressed and somber all through the movie. Alia walks away with all the accolades for her performance. The power performances of the movie also come from the parents of the bride and the groom. Amrita Singh particularly rocks it in a super ‘Mard’ role!

In a nutshell, the movie is like a yo-yo. Some good parts but just when you think its going good, the story turns bland and seems never ending and when you get too fidgety, it picks up and engrosses you again. Definitely worth a watch in a home theater but nothing more than that. You won’t be bored but it is not something that would stay with you after the credits start rolling.

The movie does leave you in two states of mind….like it? or not??!!

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