Thursday, April 20, 2017

Life Lessons from Dear Zindagi

By: Hamza Shafique

“Dear Zindagi” is a Gauri Shinde extravaganza, written, directed and produced by her and like her previous film “English Vinglish”, is thought provoking on so many levels. I am simply amazed by the way she manages to deal and present important issues entertainingly on silver screen.  

‘English Vinglish’ was a comedy drama that dealt with the importance of self-respect and effort around it, by showing a Mom who enrolls in an English school to feel equally important as her husband in front of the kids.
Dear Zindagi deals with the topic of mental health and alongside addressed some social stigmas that exist in our Desi world. Dear Zindagi has plethora of lessons but below are some key lessons from Dear Zindagi that I believe to be very important and somewhat lacking in almost every Desi Family out there.

Make Memories for your Kids:
In the movie at one point Shahrukh Khan tells Alia Bhatt about his childhood memory that his Dad taught him to play Kabaddi with Waves and for an individual’s character development how important these memories are.
Desi Parents focus too much on providing their kids with good education and great food and that is why most of the memories we have of our parents are like getting Math lessons from Father or enjoying Mom’s cooked “Rajma Chawal (Red kidney beans with Rice)”. I used to have a British colleague here and his memories with his parents were so fascinating, I remember him telling me as a family activity once they went to Africa to build house for the poor, I don’t think any Desi Family even with the means to do so would think of this as family activity. But by narrating this I don’t mean now we need to take expensive family trips to Africa but we need to be more involve in our kid’s life apart from just the basics.
As a Father of almost 2-year-old I realize I was not spending enough time with my son as on weekdays I am too tired after work and on weekends I always had some sort of plan. But after watching this film I decided to change this I am still working on it though. Luckily for myself, I had cool parents growing up and that is why my fond memories of my parents are slightly different such as playing cricket with my Dad who himself made cricket bat from the wood and playing volley ball on beach with my Mom.

It’s about you and not others:
At one point in the movie Alia Bhatt responds to something by saying: “Loag kya kahay gain (what would people say)” and Shahrukh Khan replies sarcastically,” Kon hain yeh log jo itnay interested hain tumhari life mein (Who are these people who are so much interested in your life)”.
We don’t do a lot of things thinking what will people think or say about it and by people, most of the time we refer to entire population of the world. Growing up, Desi households focus too much on the norms of the society, that this fear of going against the norms is implanted into us. One thing that I learned being in Dubai and getting exposed to so many cultures, is that no one apart from dear ones, cares about how you live your life. This fear is only within us, so go out and live your life the way you want. Believe me people who live their life beyond this fear are the ones who living a happy and healthy life.

Marriage is not the only purpose of Life:
Marriage is important in everyone’s life but in a Desi’s life it’s treated as the most important thing in life. Especially for girls their whole life revolves around it. Marriage is considered as the final milestone in life by most of us. You will often hear Parents say,” Bus is ki Shaadi ho jay to meri zimaindari khatam ho (My responsibilities will end with her Marriage)”. What Gauri Shinde says through the script, and which I personally believe as well, is the goal of life should be to live a contented and meaningful life. This should be same for boys and girls equally. It’s good to be married and have family/Kids but It’s not bad if you don’t have that. I have especially seen single women in their 30s going in to depression because of this. This is only because everyone in their life gets behind their marriage and start tormenting them with questions and in worst case sympathies as if they are terminally ill. If I ever have a daughter I will only focus my energies toward developing her as an independent strong woman of character and then let her be the way she is most happy.

These are just few elements which were close to my heart but there are a lot more social lessons to be learned from the film. Apart from the social lessons It’s also one of the best coming-of-age drama movie. Everyone has performed well and you will surely forget Arijit’s versions of the songs when you will hear Ali Zafar singing to the tunes in the film. It is available on E-life in Dubai for a rental price of 30 Dirhams which is nothing compare to the wisdom held in it.

Please Note:I have used the term Desi to describe South Asian(Indo-Pak) families/culture.



  1. Yet another great post by Dubai Desi Rrviews.

  2. I totaly agree with your review...thank u for pointing these small but very effective facts of our lives.