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This past weekend, I saw the movie ‘Dear Zindagi’, starring Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan and a host of immensely talented actors like Kunal Kapoor, Angad Bedi, Ira Dubey, Yashaswini Dayama and Ali Zafar, amongst others. Helmed by the brilliant Gauri Shinde, who last gave us a gem of a film called English Vinglish, Dear Zindagi captured my heart right from the first frame itself and never lost its hold on it, even after it was already over.
The promos of the film looked and sounded very interesting, but I wasn’t sure whether the film would be strong or engaging enough to hold my attention for 150 minute duration that it ran for, but I was just so pleasantly surprised. There’s nothing loud, obnoxious, over the top or filmy about the movie. Its beauty lies in its calmness, in its subtle but sure fire way of approaching the most complicated life situations and breaking them down into inherently relatable ones.
More than anything else, I feel this movie is a must watch for parents with kids of any and every age. There are SO many important life lessons in the movie, that we as parents MUST understand and make a part and parcel of the daily journey of parenting. So here they are, my top five reasons as to why ‘Dear Zindagi’ is a must watch for parents like me:
1) IT REINFORCES THE FACT THAT ABANDONING A CHILD IS NEVER OK
Making the decision to be a parent and have a child (or two!) is momentous and monumental, and requires a great deal of thought and planning. At the very least, a couple must ensure that they are financially stable and able to handle the extra cost of an additional life in their lives before taking the decision to have a child.
Alias parents in the movie had her and loved her a great deal, but couldn’t spend her childhood with her as they were travelling from place to place to secure financial stability. This left a deep and life altering impression on her character, Koko, or Kaira, as she felt unloved and abandoned by the very people whose love and affection she craved the most. This impacted her life greatly, as she was unable to forge significant relationships with anyone else as well, for fear of them abandoning her as well.
Being parents is not just about birthing children, it’s also about being there for them whenever, wherever and however long they need you for. It’s a decision that impacts their whole life, so it’s up to us to secure their childhood with happy memories to pave the way for a bright future.
2) IT TEACHES US TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND ACCEPT OUR KIDS, AND MAKE PEACE WITH THEIR CHOICES IN LIFE
Alias character Koko is young, gorgeous and chooses to break free of the shackles of her parents and stay alone in a bustling city like Mumbai, working hard at her not so common career as a cinematographer in the movies. This non-traditional occupation is accepted by her parents but not by her extended family members, who want her to “settle down into a proper job.” Why? Why must she do that? A young successful woman in an unconventional career – there is absolutely nothing wrong in that and I think it’s high time we as parents learnt to acknowledge the significance of these careers as well.
Koko’s family thinks she’s a lesbian (or Lebanese, as her uncle not so gently puts it), because she refuses to just go and marry the second guy she meets just for the heck of it. We later find out that it’s because she has her own issues with commitment but then at that point of time you wish to silently acknowledge that a woman (or a man, for that matter) is a complete entity and being. They don’t need someone to “complete” them.
Dear Zindagi teaches us parents that it’s OK to love our kids as they are, however they are, and learn to accept their choices in life.
3) MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT SOMETHING TO SHY AWAY FROM, OR THE BIG ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM THAT NOBODY WANTS TO DISCUSS.
This stigma, the one that all mental health related issues fall under, has to be broken for our kids to grown up healthy, happy and balanced. Dear Zindagi rubbishes the stigma around mental ailments and proceeds to explain to us in the most beautiful way possible, i.e. through the interactions between Kaira and her doctor Jahangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan).
A person need not reach the lowest pits of depression and mental health to seek therapy or a strong voice to listen to. People going through a rough patch in their lives could and in fact, should seek therapy actively to avoid them falling deeper into the abyss of mental illness.
4) IT’S OK TO CRY
Crying is absolutely accepted as a form of venting emotions, most commonly, grief. We should remove the embarrassment around it, that “crying makes a person weak”. Crying helps a person deal with day to day life situations better and as Shah Rukh Khan says in the movie “Jab tak khul kar roogi nahin, tab tak khulkar hasooegi kaise?” (If you can’t cry wholeheartedly, how will you find the courage to laugh wholeheartedly!
5) FRIENDS MAKE YOUR WORLD GO AROUND!
It’s very important to maintain a close friends circle to maintain your own peace and sanity. But as we grow up, we’re left with a few close friends in life only and that’s ok the way it is. If you have a lot of people in your life, excellent for you. It’s more than ok to just have a few meaningful relationships, like Kaira does, she can count them on the fingers of one hand and yes I believe I can too! Never lose sight of the most important people in your life.
So these are my top reasons as to why it is so, SO important for every parent to watch the wonderful “Dear Zindagi”. These, and of course Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan’s mesmerizing performances!
Tell me, mommies and daddies, do you agree with me too?