Review: Dear Zindagi ‘I Love You’!

dear-zindagi

I know it’s been a while I reviewed any of the new releases, however, I was busy with the release of my new book Alfie The Elf. Anyway, at no cost I wanted to miss out on Dear Zindagi that released this week starring Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan and directed by Gauri Shinde of ‘English Vinglish’ fame. Let me directly dive into the plotline of the movie.

Kaira aka Koko (Alia Bhatt) is an ambitious cinematographer (wait aren’t they called DOP these days?) who like many millennials has a messy love life and a yet to bloom career. She falls in and out of love instantly. She parties and also cheats on her boyfriend (Angad Bedi)  with another man. However, her entire world comes crumbling down first with a heartbreak when the guy of her dreams Raghvendra (Kunal Kapoor) dumps her and gets engaged to someone else. And, then her landlord  slaps her with an eviction notice and our cutie-pie Kaira processes this cumulative assault while biting into green chilies. Throughout you are subjected to a slight hint of her strained relationship with her parents.

Enter Jehangir Khan aka Jugs (Shah Rukh Khan) who is a DD – Dimag Ka Doctor, who tries to help Kaira with her problems and to love her Zindagi. In his ‘out of textbook’ ways, Jug helps Kyra open up about her on the surface problems and further digs into the bigger ones. With his ‘cool’ stories, he wins over Kyra’s fears and teaches her to embrace life. Alas, our baby-faced Kaira falls head over heals in love with Jugs. Now, what? Would Jugs reciprocate to her love or leave her like her previous crushes? Find out by watching Dear Zindagi at a theater near you!

Coming to the script and screenplay, which seems to be good, however, Gauri seems to have gone on a trip of her own. She tries to weave in multiple issues into one story for the character. The parental issues, love life issues, career issues etc. and in that process losses track. The sparks she showed with Sridevi starrer English Vinglish is missing. The dialogues though initially interesting tends to be very preachy and boring in the second half.

Performance wise, this is Alia’s best. She rises above the screenplay and gets perfectly into Kiara’s character making it more believable. Shah Rukh Khan as Jugs is impressive, however, the dialogues let things down. As the entire focus of the movie is on Kaira’s character, the characters supporting hers viz; Raghu (Kunal Kapoor), Sid (Angad Bedi) or Rumi (Ali Zafar) get no background whatsoever.

The music is average only the title song ‘Love You Zindagi’ and a rehash of yesteryear superhit song ‘Ae Zindagi’ from Sadma composed by maestro Illayaraja stands out. Editing in the second half could have been crisper.

On the whole, Dear Zindagi is a great watch for all Alia Bhatt and SRK fans.

My Verdict:***

Have you watched the book trailer of my latest book Alfie The Elf? No? See Below! 🙂

Book released all over the world… also now available for Amazon Prime customers!

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Let’s Make A Child’s Dream Come True Today!

Alfie The Elf’s story begins all the way back in 2012, while I was in the middle of writing my most ambitious book; “A Pocketful of Sunshine.” (Fingers crossed, one day it will be released.) It was around Christmas and my brother and his family were visiting and my nephew – Nathan (four, then) had a head full of questions about Christmas. Santa Claus, how he got his gifts.

Alfie The Elf Shaiju Mathew
Meet the gang of Alfie

As I answered his curiosity, a story spun in my head about the magic of Christmas. I wanted to tell a story about hope, about spreading joy, about magic, about wishes coming true, a story that was set in a magical land, a story that would bring all the magical creatures to life and then suddenly I had a character coming to life and that was Alfie.

To me, Christmas has always been special, it was all about waiting for gifts and spending time with family, eating yummy Christmas goodies and going to church to sing carols and this time felt magical to me and I wanted this feeling to be translated into my book.

As impossible as it may sound, I wrote about Alfie in nine days straight and like Alfie and the other characters in the story, I went through an emotional roller coaster; mainly to get this story out to the world. Almost all the publishers I approached had the same response about this book: “It’s too Enid Blyton-ish, we are looking for something that is more J K Rowling.” Some publishers who showed interest asked me to don a western penname. And by the end, my literary agent, too, gave up hope, raised her hands up in surrender and wished me luck with Alfie.

Alfie The Elf, Shaiju Mathew
Book Cover

Determined to bring Alfie and his friends to the world, I reached out to the public and asked for their opinion, I shared a few of the chapters with about a hundred people of varying age group (8 years to 65 years) and the response I got was overwhelming; they loved the story, they loved the spirit of Christmas and innocence Alfie and his friends brought with the story.

This motivated me to self-publish my book that was so dear to me and now you hold in your hands.

During all those self-doubting days, there were a few wonderful people who were my support system and stood by me through thick and thin. This book would be incomplete if I go on without mentioning them.

The two people without whom Alfie would not have been possible and to whom I am indebted for life: Anusha Jha Rohom, my book editor who after reading Alfie The Elf, was kind enough to come on board with zero expectations and molded my story beautifully. Secondly, Vikram Nandwani, my childhood friend, and illustrator who brought every character to life and came up with the beautiful book cover.

Apart from that, I would love to thank my friends and family especially my parents who always taught my brother and me to never lose hope and to always pursue our dreams how much ever they seem to be impossible.

And last, but never the least, my nephews and niece – Nathan, Jeremiah, and Kiara – the little kids with big ideas; I hope I made you proud.

Dream A Dream, Shaiju Mathew, Alfie The Elf
Inside Cover of Alfie

Now coming to the question of ‘How Can You Make A Child’s Dream Come True?’ By buying a copy of Alfie The Elf, you will be able to do that, how? I have tied up with Dream A Dream Organization who is backing Alfie to fulfill the dreams of many less privileged kids. Every book sold will help a child’s dream come true as 40% of the profits are going to this cause. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and order your copy from any of the leading online bookstores where you can find the paperback as well as an E-Book version. Also, don’t forget to send me your feedback on mattshai@gmail.com

Please order your copies from the following links;

Paperback edition in India: Amazon.in,Flipkart, PayTM, Shopclues, Infibeam, Notion Press etc.

Paperback edition abroad: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, BarnesandNoble,

Ebook Edition: Kindle, Google Play, KoBo, Dailyhunt, iBooks, Rockstand

Let’s Talk Films With Sameer K Singh

Today on Let’s Talk Films With, I have one of my older associates and now a dear friend Sameer K Singh who is the Founder of Yoola. A fellow filmy guy and the biggest fan of Akshay Kumar, let’s hear what he has to say about his ‘Filmyness’.

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What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
Well if there’s anything apart from my work and family that can excite me then it’s movies. I would rather watch an already seen movie again than going out to party. My favorite genres are comedy and thriller or something that can keep me on the edge of my seat. If it’s about my favorite Akshay Kumar and if my schedule allows, I can watch from 2 to 3 movies of his in a day be it same or different, doesn’t really matter.

Since what age are you watching movies?
I don’t remember exactly, which somehow suggests that I started watching movies from a very young age, not that I am not young now (laughs) but I assume I must be around 10-12 (smiles).

You being a business guy… tell me one movie that you remember that has the main lead playing a businessman to the T?
Well, there are so many that I am little confused here, if you watch Bollywood movies closely, you will get some or other entrepreneurship tip from every 2nd movie that releases. I will name few of my favorites which are Guru, Rocket Singh Sales Man Of The Year, Band Baja Baarat, Badmash Company, etc but the one that would be on top of my list would be Lagaan. Yes, you must be wondering what has Lagaan to do with business? But as you go deep into it, there can be no better motivational character than Bhuvan as an Entrepreneur. The character goes against all odds, builds a team, leads it till the end and wins because of team work, belief and his determination and of course a little luck (tongue out). These are the characteristics of a true entrepreneur.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your briefs over your pants and tried to save the world?
Haha!! I am a 90s kid, pure desi who grew up watching Shaktimaan, pointing a finger towards the sky and rotating 360 degrees was more me. Never tried wearing my briefs over my pants at least not that I remember but yes I did wear capes and act like I could fly.

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
My secret fantasy is to be immortal and the only medium that can make me immortal is movies. I believe whoever comes on the silver screen becomes immortal, we have lost so many legends in past but because good movies have that charm to connect with its audience by heart, actors stay with us forever. Like for example, I was watching DDLJ recently and didn’t realize that Legendry Amrish Puri isn’t between us, this sudden realization saddened me but at the same time, I was cheering that he will always remain with us throughout our lives because of his work. So yes, if given a chance I would love to try my skills to act as well, not immediately but definitely (smiles).

The most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Believe me, I try and watch each and every movie that comes across. I have watched Bollywood movies that many don’t even know the names of. I do survive even the bad ones but one of the most bizarre movies was Jism 2, it was like a nightmare and I wanted to leave the theater but to maintain my track record of watching every movie till the end, I stayed and survived.

Your favorite movie and why?
It has to be Garam Masala on top, I watch it when I am upset, it makes me cheer up, I can watch it again and again and it will never be enough for me. I remember I once watched Garam Masala thrice in a day, it sounds crazy but yes that’s what I am when it come to Akshay Sir and his comic timings in his movies. Other favorites would be Dil Chahta Hai, Hera Pheri, Race, Taare Zameen Par, Munna Bhai, etc.

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
Can I mention my favorite instead?

Go ahead (smiles).
Okay, there’s this dialogue from the movie Ishq where Kajol and Amir Khan burns property papers to make a cup of tea and later after tasting it says, “Dhai crore rupaye jab ek cup chai ka zaika nahi badal saka toh hum pyaar karne walon ka irada kya badlega” Sheer brilliant!!

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
“Kyun Thaak Rahe Ho??” from Houseful 2 is one of the funniest and can be used in day to day life. I am very good with dialogues and easily relate to any situation with apt dialogues to express myself.

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Yes please, if possible, let’s sponsor a one-sided ticket for the maker of Jism 2, it was such a disaster that I still can’t forget the trauma after so many years of its release.

Any actors you want to add with the director in the same island 😛 ?
Imran Khan maybe?

Any message to fellow movie buffs?
I have messages (laughs).

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Alright (laughs) let me reframe my question… Any messages to fellow movie buffs?
1) Don’t support piracy, a movie requires a lot of effort, time and hard work of a team. Piracy kills the enthusiasm and charm of watching a movie on the silver screen, ultimately making it less attractive.
2) Not all movies are same and comparing two different movies isn’t right. There are good movies and bad movies but every movie has a target audience if you go to watch an adult comedy, make sure you are in that mood and don’t expect it to be classic PK or 3 idiots. If you do so, you will be disappointed but if you don’t you will definitely enjoy it.
3) Don’t compare Indian Film Industry with Hollywood, If you do, compare the ticket prices and budget too. Indian films are as good as they should be. Movies are meant for entertainment, get entertained.

Wish you all the best for Yoola and may you have a great year ahead Sam!
Thank you and wish you all the best for your next book Alfie The Elf… I believe it is releasing in a couple of weeks?

Yes it is and like movie piracy, please do not ask a free copy from any author (winks)
Arre nahi, I will be buying my copy, First Day, First Show.

Err… it’s not a movie (laughs)
I know, sometimes the filmy keeda makes me say such things (laughs). On a serious note, I will be buying the book and I am sure it will be magical like your previous one.

Thank you (smiles)
So guys, if you are in Pune, then please do download Yoola and try it out. I am sure you will love the features of the app. Get more details at http://yoola.co/