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Features
November 25, 2016

“Dear Zindagi Is Not A Typical Hindi Film”

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena

Director Gauri Shinde talks about her latest release and her experience with Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan

On her two female leads – Sridevi (English Vinglish) and Alia Bhatt (Dear Zindagi)…
“I was very lucky to have worked with two fantastic actresses. They come from different generations but have something uniquely in common – raw talent and love for the camera. The cameras come on and there is magic. There is no method, it is just strong instinct. I love working with people who are not bookish, there is not much of ‘intellectualisation’ but they just get it. They both understood the characters and instinctively knew what was needed.”

On creating strong female characters…
“I’d like to believe that my characters precede and take over the gender. As a filmmaker, I would like all my characters to be strong and worthy of the role. Maybe as a woman I do sense things more strongly and that is reflected in the characters. But, Shah Rukh Khan’s character is a strong one too.”

On putting herself into her characters…
“People tell me this when they see the film – a lot of yourself does get seeped into the characters and in your films. And that is only natural because it is your voice at the end of the day. I think it will have shades of me, shades of my experiences and shades of other people.”

On the title Dear Zindagi…
“It’s a fun title and goes with the ethos of the film – which is a letter to life. The title track Love you Zindagi… indicates that the movie is about loving and living life, appreciating it with all its imperfections and in all its moments.”

On working with Shah Rukh Khan…
“He is an instinctive actor. He is childlike, so all three of us worked very well together in a playful way. I can’t deal with having long-drawn discussions on why a character is like that. I love working with my stars because they are very sensitive people. Both Shah Rukh and Alia pay a great deal of attention to detail, which is something even I do. And often with just a smile, a grimace or a small action, we would connect.”

The equation between Alia and SRK…
“The story is not about age. Dear Zindagi not a typical Hindi film where there can be only one kind of relationship between a man and a woman. There are tons of relationships in the world and this is one of them. It’s a special one.”

Lessons from Dear Zindagi
“It’s not about other people. We all go through the same problems. You are not alone and you have to love yourself, not run yourself down. Look within, the answers are there. It is okay to open yourself up to close friends, connect with people and ask for help. It takes a lot of strength to be able to do that.”

On life living to the fullest…
“Experience everything fully, whether its sadness, joy, grief, fun or adventure. Just experience it all to the very core.”

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