Shah Rukh Khan-Alia Bhatt's Dear Zindagi first look has all the deftness of Gauri Shinde's touch

FP Staff

Jul 20, 2016 10:54:57 IST

Ever since English Vinglish wowed audiences in 2012, there’s been plenty of speculation over what director Gauri Shinde’s next project would be.

For a while, there were rumours that she would make a sequel to the film, but with a story focusing on Kajol this time, and not the original’s heroine Sreedevi.

Finally, in mid-2015 it was through a formal announcement made by Karan Johar that Gauri’s next film was revealed — an untitled project starring Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt.

 Shah Rukh Khan-Alia Bhatts Dear Zindagi first look has all the deftness of Gauri Shindes touch

Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt in 'Dear Zindagi' (L); Gauri Shinde (R)

The announcement caused a lot of comment — not just because Shah Rukh and Alia were teaming up for a project for the first time, but because of the age difference between them.

The Khans have made a habit of starring opposite much younger actresses in their films: After all, even when Deepika Padukone made her Bollywood debut in Om Shanti Om in 2007, she was only 21. Shah Rukh was nearly 42 at the time. Last year, when Gauri's film was announced, he was 49, while Alia was 22.

There were conjectures about Gauri’s film being a May-December romance, and the fact that no one from the film’s team was talking too much about it led to all kinds of theories being floated around. All Shah Rukh and Alia would say about the film was: It’s not a typical love story.

Gauri’s husband R Balki has made one of the most well-received films about a couple with a huge age gap in Hindi cinema — Cheeni Kum, that had Tabu and Amitabh Bachchan. And considering Gauri’s deft handling of English Vinglish, there were few doubts that she could tackle this atypical love story better than most directors.

However, with the film’s ‘first look’ being released on Tuesday — in a series of Twitter exchanges between Alia and Shah Rukh, it’s become clear that Gauri’s film isn’t just about an unusual couple. In fact, this may be more Good Will Hunting than Cheeni Kum.

On Firstpost: See the first look of Dear Zindagi, and Shah Rukh and Alia's tweets

Dear Zindagi — it is believed that this is what Gauri’s film’s title is — features Alia as an aspiring filmmaker (shades of Gauri here?) and her relationships with four different men, and how these influence her life, and the film she is working on.

Alia’s love interest(s) will be played not by Shah Rukh, but by Aditya Roy Kapur, Ali Zafar, Angad Nedi and Kunal Kapoor. Each of these men will be shown to have very different personalities and Alia’s character will interact with them in different ways.

Shah Rukh, on the other hand, will play a life coach who Alia approaches for help. It is he who helps her put her experiences and relationships in perspective, and helps her develop a more holistic perspective on life.

Some reports have termed Shah Rukh’s role in the film as an “extended cameo”, with a screen time not amounting to more than a half hour or so.

Alia, on the other hand, is clearly the star around whom the story (and the film) revolves.
She has already shot for a song called ‘Love You Zindagi’, of which Shah Rukh isn’t a part.

The tweets exchanged between Shah Rukh and Alia to promote Dear Zindagi have the feel of old-school letters or diary entries, although they have been shared on a very new age medium. Karan Johar, whose Dharma Productions is backing the film, said that the promotional material was Gauri’s brainchild — perhaps harking back to her days in the films division of an advertising firm (which was where she and R Balki met).

"Dear Zindagi," Alia asks in one tweet. "Is it okay to not be okay?" to which Shah Rukh replies, "It's okay to not be okay. As long as you take care of one person — and that's you".

Now, with this charming first peek into Dear Zindagi, Gauri has proved that if anyone can present an unusual pair like Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt to the best advantage, it is her.

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Updated Date: Jul 20, 2016 16:54:17 IST