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‘Dear Zindagi’ (2016) was released 5 years ago when we hardly realized how important mental health is. Gauri Shinde always brings forward stories that are practical and happen with most of us yet we fail to acknowledge them. It is produced by Gauri Khan, Karan Johar and Shinde. Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan play the lead roles in the movie.

The movie is a subtle blend of mental health awareness and metaphors teaching self-love. It’s a living example that says ‘failures are okay’ and one can move ahead with it accepting the fact that if they are not in a good space they can take a professional’s help. Depression and anxiety is something that needs to be dealt with instead of bottling them up. The movie deals with trauma and triggers that devastate one through the character of Alia Bhatt.

Shah Rukh Khan is her therapist who brings her out of her depression and teaches her that she is good enough to be alone. Alia breaks her childhood trauma and comes out of her grief. The movie is full of life lessons about how one should live their lives in the moment and not hold grudges of the past co-relating it with the present or future.

Sony Music India has the music rights for the film soundtrack. Apart from all the original beautiful compositions of Amit Trivedi, the soundtrack has a remake of the song “Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le” originally composed by Ilaiyaraaja for ‘Sadma’ (1983). Gulzar has given words to this song. The other tracks are penned by Kausar Munir. The songs are vibrant and well-placed.

Shot in Goa and Mumbai, Laxman Utekar’s camera has captured some magic moments. There are so many impactful scenes in the movie that anyone can relate to. The movie tried to break the stigma of seeing a shrink. The movie is an eye-opener for many and has been a prime reason for celebs to talk openly about mental health. The movie didn’t just show a regular girl struggling to get herself together but focus on the fact that talking about degrading mental health is not a subject of sympathy or shame.

Shinde always brings to our attention how important it is to be non-judgemental and empathetic. Visiting a therapist doesn’t require any strong reaction or secrecy, it is as natural as visiting a dentist. The movie deals with emotions anyone goes through such as guilt, shame, fear, trauma and ways to deal with it. It teaches one to own their past and present mistakes and find ways to accept them. Relationships are not about happiness and stability in our lives but are just a choice we make so that we can share our moments with them. If it doesn’t work out no one is to blame. Alia like any other person blamed herself for her failed relationships and she learned that they were just milestones.

Even after 5 years of its release, the movie continues to be a lesson for many who has lost track of themselves. It is not just motivative but introspective. The industry needs many more movies like this.

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