Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan starrer Dear Zindagi has remained close to all our hearts, for talking about things and emotions that we choose to ignore. The film also gave us moments that feel like catharsis.
Another thing, that it managed to do was look at parenting from a different perspective than most Bollywood movies – the fact that parents can be flawed in their ways. And, these are just some reasons which make Dear Zindagi, a letter to life – the kind which is honest.
In a scene from the film, a relative mentions how being a parent is a difficult job, and children do not understand that. And here, Kaira, the character portrayed by Alia Bhatt, chooses to confront her parents for abandoning her. This scene is powerful, without being preachy. It’s a reaction you’d expect from your friend, your sibling, or even yourself. And that’s what makes it so relatable. She points out how it isn’t the nicest thing to blame children for every negative emotion. It’s tough being a parent, but it’s just as tough being a child.
Parenting isn’t something that people are taught. And hence, we do not expect our parents to be flawless. In fact, it would be easier for us to talk to them, if they are more like us – people who make mistakes. But, we’re not exposed to those sides of them. We grow up, knowing them as people who do not have to explain their actions. That what they do is right. The scene aims at speaking up about how parents should be able to own their mistakes.
After Kaira opens up about her past in therapy, we witness yet another calming response from Shah Rukh Khan’s character, Dr. Jehangir. He talks about the importance of looking at our parents as people, instead of putting them on pedestals. And, this doesn’t not mean that we stop holding them accountable for their mistakes. Parenting isn’t the easiest task and it comes with a lot adjustments and changes. Which makes it even more important for our parents to talk to us about how they feel.
Closing oneself off or not being honest with children doesn’t make parents look like better people, but only makes them less approachable. And as children, we’ve to deal with the added pressure of being ‘perfect’, or have it all together, just like our parents do.
This scene is a reminder that parents can be wrong, even when they think that they’re protecting their children. And that’s alright. But as children, we expect to feel safe around them, and not knowing them as people, wouldn’t feel that way.
We do not want heroes, we want someone, we can see ourselves in.