Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt
Dear Zindagi Review: All about conquering love and fear. Pictured: Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt in a still from Dear Zindagi.Red Chillies Entertainment/ Twitter

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt

Direction: Gauri Shinde

Rating: 3/5

Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is not unlike most young women of today. She has a job that's not run-of-the-mill (she's a cinematographer), lives alone in Mumbai and finds her parents irritating. She has a close set of friends whom she also works with and they are her lifeline. Kaira or Koko is forced to move to her parents' house in Goa when her Mumbai landlord evicts her for being single. And it's at the same time that her relationship with Raghavendra goes downhill.

Koko's parents want to see her married, but she doesn't have a great love life. She seems to self-destruct when it comes to relationships and somehow never seems to find happiness. She moves from Sid to Raghavendra and then Rumi.

It's in Goa that Koko decides to see a psychologist, Dr Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) or Jug, and we discover what she's about. We see a young woman who is great at her work, confident and yet, troubled by childhood issues. There are subconscious fears like abandonment which haunt her and she also wakes up to them. Does therapy help Koko? How does it change her life?

At the outset, director Gauri Shinde tries to explore a part of reality that is considered taboo by many - mental health issues. Therapy is hardly discussed among parents and kids, but this movie tries to make people aware why it's needed and how it helps.

Having said that, the movie starts off on an intriguing note, but slowly turns into an endless talk show. There are just umpteen conversations between Koko and Jug where they talk about love, her parents, her brother, her fears, etc. The viewer's interest starts to flail after a point because Koko's issues are not devastating and the advice dished out are more of self-help and less therapy.

Shah Rukh Khan as Jug appears as a man of his age and that's refreshing. He's cute, endearing and one wishes if one ever goes to a therapist he should be exactly like Jug. SRK has taken a backseat in this film, but he captures your attention with his jokes, life advice and yes, his eyes. SRK teaches Kaira how to enjoy the little things in life and that strikes a chord with you. The movie, however, revolves around Alia Bhatt and she has delivered what is required for the role of Kaira.

Shinde could have made this film much more impactful had she not confined it to the therapist's room. Along the way, the seriousness of mental health issues loses its way and we end up with a story of a gorgeous looking shrink and a pretty girl who isn't happy with her life.

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