Dear Zindagi – my kind of a movie

On Frankaffe, Sushrut Munje shares why Dear Zindagi is quality cinema, and how Gauri Shinde communicates immense maturity of thought through subtle dialogue.

What strikes us in a written verse or a theater act or cinema is the freedom the creator enjoys. In a limited piece of paper or time, we are served a sample of what the artist has lived through. The concept is presented in a manner that the artist is comfortable with, in a language the artist understands. Our job then, is only to consume.

Little things affect us

Life has been through with us, at whichever age we are in. Our reactions and our perceptions play a role in how we have lived. Things have been as easy as we have believed them to be. We have memories as children which we have held on to, which has defined numerous decisions in our adulthood, which has led our drive and ambition on crucial aspects.

The simple act of being denied a candy as a kid, leads to significant resentment towards the possibility of being denied what is rightfully yours. A minor playground scuffle might lead to a strong inferiority complex, which goes well through your adulthood. Children lead a simple life, one which leads to complexity as they grow. Each experience matters, which is why upbringing plays a role in what we turn out to be as a person.

It is presumptuous for an adult to discount what the child feels, and efforts ought to be made to understand what the youngling is going through, for that may affect its psyche for years to come. The movie helps us reflect on how a natural decision for parents bears down hard on a child’s mind, and how effective communication always helps mend bridges. A simple lesson that we always learn the hard way.

Parents do not need the pedestal

Imagine yourself as a child, and you’d remember how you thought adults have it all figured out. Being where you are today, that staunch belief is something to laugh about. Being humans, we are stumbling throughout our lives, staying the same person inside. All new experiences are met with a similar level of curiosity and naivety – which means that you make a lot of mistakes.

It is unfair if you, as a parent, are expected to be perfect. While your firstborn would be quite an exercise in patience and parenting, you are certain to make new mistakes with your second-born. When a child starts to understand enough to have a conversation with its parents, there is a need to have a conversation of equals. Do not expect your parents to teach you everything, raising you to be aware is enough. We have the internet, we have the libraries and we have the people around us – enough doors to open helping us be a better child – and understanding our parents from a mature perspective.

The relationship between a child and its parents undergoes a transformation as the child grows up. Let us give them the leeway which we had been given, let us strike an open dialogue since they taught us how to speak, let us help them with new technology since they taught us how to use a spoon. Talk to them, they love you.

Dear Zindagi addresses this beautifully, in Gauri Shinde’s minimal style of dialogue.

Beauty lies in beholder’s eyes

Whatever haunts us, is within us. Self criticism is the reason for all stress and anger that we experience in our daily lives, and it is essential for us to love the self. Switching chairs is alright as long as we are at peace within. By allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and by allowing ourselves to love – we would be comfortable with being. “There can be nothing wrong in a drawing,” says Neeta Khanuja in her interview.

A flower that’s blue for me, might be red for someone else – each one of us defines colors and passion differently – what’s beautiful for me won’t be beautiful for you. Being comfortable with the way we understand the world, and converse with it, leads to lesser anxiety. It is alright to be what we are, and wear what we like to wear, and talk the way we do. I would never forget how wonderfully Ekta Shetty put it – “Dark circles and scars add to a person’s character – why would anyone want them gone?”

Dear Zindagi nudges us to make peace with things that bother us. Once we are happy and in love with ourselves, things end up fall into their proper place.

Fair share of criticism

It is heartening to see the fair share of criticism Dear Zindagi is receiving, because the movie is making people probe and express their dissatisfaction – which is what it intends to do. There is nothing like negative feedback – it all helps us grow – and an art form is displayed to provoke, not to be praised. This is subtle cinema, and has done its job well.

It is worth a watch. I saw it twice :)

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