A slice-of-life

A slice-of-life
Shah Rukh Khan's look in Dear Zindagi is undoubtedly seducing. Dressed in a pair of crisp shirts of different shades and trousers- he is probably playing a mature character after a long long time. It's his sheer charisma that lends Dear Zindagi a buoyant force. The film has been the talk of the town ever since the trailer and promos of the film were out.  Heartbreak, relatable songs and the amazing chemistry between SRK and Alia are the highlights of the film Dear Zindagi. The duo with director Gauri Shinde was recently in the capital to promote their upcoming film. 

Shahrukh Khan who plays a Psychologist in the movie said "We live in a man's world unfortunately. Without preaching, whatever and however a woman does can never be wrong. Woman never wants someone to solve their problems but they want someone to listen to their words without judging them". 

Director Gauri Shinde, whose first film English Vinglish garnered much praise when asked if people would go to watch the film just because of the star-factor, she said "The content of the film and SRK is not separated. Even if people would go to watch the film because of the stars, they will definitely like the movie. I believe stardom doesn't overshadow the content." SRK further added 

"The content of the film is extremely strong. The film is 'Kaira-centric' (Alia's character) movie." Alia Bhatt who is much excited for this release said "After watching the film you'd wish to have someone like 'JUG' (Jahangir Khan) in your life".  Shah Rukh Khan was, is and probably always will be one of the few actors, who have never shuddered from praising his co-actors and colleagues. 

In a first, the actor is working with a female-dominated team in Gauri Shinde's upcoming film Dear Zindagi and he couldn't be more elated over the fact. "We live in a man's world unfortunately and we talk about feminism and women empowerment but the beauty of this film is that it has been made by some very confident women", he says. "The approach is different. There's a lot of difference when you're working with women. 

Apart from the creativity, the atmosphere on the sets is also different." "I wish everyone around me was a woman, in a good way. It's gentler, it's kinder and they smell better," he quips.

He further adds that he's not just more comfortable with female directors but also that he shares a better camaraderie with men who're a little more sensitive. "I am more comfortable working with female directors. I find being directed by men also - who are a little more women-like sensitive. There is a quality to that sensitivity. Of course I have worked with directors, who are action directors, which is also cool but I think, yes, I am more comfortable working with female directors."

He believes that Dear Zindagi, without being preachy, raises several important questions and makes the right noises about the perceived notions about a woman's lifestyle. "All the questions asked in this film are extremely important. Aurat jo bhi kare, jaisa bhi kare, jaha bhi kare, jab bhi kare, jiske saath bhi kare, wo sab kuch theek hai without being judgemental. Without being preachy, the film is sweet, simple and sensitive".

Lauding Alia Bhatt and Gauri Shinde for their patience, he says their spanking new approach towards filmmaking and life in general, made him "unlearn a lot from both of them". "I was taken in by Alia and Gauri for what they were doing on the sets. I un-learnt from both of them. They've a fresh, new and pretty sensitive approach to how to make a film. I've imbibed something in life from both of them."

When was the last time you heard Shah Rukh Khan saying something truly honest? Often star interviews are as good as school essays, full of clichés and wooden lines. You end up listening to the same stuff, rehashed for better use sometimes. Once in a while, they just happen to say something really significant. That's very rare but happens nevertheless.

Alia Bhatt, who has done quite a number of films, has swiftly made a transition from her debut role as the glamorous student in Student of the Year to dark characters in Highway and Udta Punjab. Of all the characters she has done so far; including Student of the Year's glamorous school chic, Highway's vulnerable Veera, Kapoor and Sons' happy-go-lucky Tia Malik, Shaandaar's insomniac Alia Arora or 2 States' affable Ananya; she relates to Kaira the most.

"I've related to Kaira more than all my other characters. I feel like a lot of girls and maybe even guys will be able to relate to her. Whatever she goes through; complications, insecurities and emotions, I've been through that." Kaira, being assayed by Alia Bhatt, is an aspiring filmmaker who finds her shrink in Shah Rukh Khan's character Jehangir Khan in Dear Zindagi. "Wo bhi thodi si moody hai, mai bhi moody hu, wo bhi impulsive hai mai bhi impulsive hu. I related a lot to the way she thinks and the way she feels. It's the most relatable character," she adds.

While she played Veera, a rich, cossetted bride-to-be in Highway and a Bihari district hockey champion forced to work on the fields in heroin peddling lands in Udta Punjab; both the films ended up having a deep impact on her personal life so much so she even disconnected herself from the real life.

The Actors Speak

What kind of wisdom or learning did you take away from each other? 

Alia: In spite of being in the industry for over 25 years, there is a lot of warmth and affection in him. One would be like, 'Oh, he is Shah Rukh Khan,' but he doesn't give that vibe or baggage of being SRK on set. What I learnt from him as an actor, I will not tell anyone because I genuinely believe that's for me to know

SRK: I have taken all her innocence and freshness from her (laughs). I truly believe that actors cannot be judged by the number of years or work that they have done. Yeah, we respect each other having known the kind of work we have done as an actor. But what you respect each other more for is the fact that we all have a different way of leading up to a scene or the amount of life that we have dealt with. As an actor, I always believe that if I am able to imbibe some part of that experience and Alia comes with loads of experience, even at a young age... There is lot of innocence, gentleness and straightforwardness - also there is a lot of care-a-damn-attitude - I like that a lot. I am not just praising her because we are sitting together right now. In the next two years, I am going to try to imbibe whatever I have learnt from her.

Shah Rukh plays a counsellor in this film. Have you guys ever felt the need to go a therapist?

Alia: Everybody has a need to find answers to their issue. Do I need somebody to help me? Yes. Every third day maybe! At times, I am confused about something or I need somebody to fall on.  It's just that sometimes you fall upon a stranger in life and that stranger can help you through your issues. I haven't done that as yet. But, I have a couple of people in my life with whom I can talk about whatever I want. I am a very secretive person. So I keep a lot to myself. 

SRK: When I was talking to Alia while doing the film and I am kind of a counsellor to her in the film, I asked her the same thing and she had these criteria for a counsellor - he should be sexy, smart and successful. Now, finally, she has found one. I am counselling her for free! 

Alia, at 23, you are one of the A-listers in Bollywood. Having achieved so much of success, what are your aspirations now? 

Alia: It's like how you wake up every day because you have to wake up and live that day - that's the way my movies and my life is for me. The goal is to keep doing different movies as long as people love me.

What's the easiest way to become happy in life?

SRK: The simplest is don't be sad. Easier said than done. Whenever I am being asked if I am happy, I say that I am not stupid enough to be happy. It is a quest for immortality that when we get what we want, it is never enough. It's like if we find pills to lose weight, I think finding a pill for happiness would outsell it anytime. There are going to be pathetic days and there are going to be days which will give you solitude and peace - grab on to those.  
Puja Banerjee

Puja Banerjee

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