With keen (and probably vested) interest, I went to watch Dear Zindagi on the very first day of its release. Didn’t want to take a chance on being influenced by the reviews that could possibly dampen my spirit and weaken my legs. I say keen interest because ‘therapy’ is a sensitive topic and the troika of Gauri Shinde, SRK and Alia is as good as it gets in doing justice to the subject. Vested, because after launching Happ Coach (a platform for Life Coaches and Mentors) – there can be no better promotion for the ‘life coaching’ category.
Bollywood is often guilty of trivializing and over-dramatizing subjects. However, one can’t dispute the reach and impact that films have on society at large. I remember reading an interesting dissertation on the LGBT community that looked at the positive impact of a mainstream movie like Dostana in terms of creating awareness and acceptability. A movie like ‘My Brother Nikhil’ might have been a more realistic and sensitive portrayal, but it failed to garner reach. Infact, SRK’s Chak De rekindled the dwindling love and respect for hockey, a sport that won India 8 Gold Medals at the Olympics.
From sports coach to life coach, both roles would certainly feature in the list of SRK’s most impressive and restrained performance. The regular cine-goer might feel a tad under-whelmed by Dear Zindagi due to the lack of dramatic plot-twists. But, a subject as ‘fragile’ as life coaching requires a slice-of-life treatment to portray the ‘normalcy’ of the whole process.
There is often confusion with the terms – counsellor, therapist, mentor and coach. Everyone tends to believe these are synonymous and often use them interchangeably. Counselling or therapy deals with understanding problems. Many a times just understanding the problem does not offer a solution. However, with those who suffer from deep personality issues or are stuck in extreme trauma, it might be the first step to healing.
Life coaching is a new entrant in the field, it’s just 15 – 20 years old. Coaching focuses on dreams, opportunities and challenges, not problems. The coach unlike the mentor, does not ‘tell’ you what to do, but gets you to experience a 360° perspective of your situation by asking insightful questions. It is a self-directed process. Studies show that when someone comes up with their own solution, s/he is 5 times more committed to it. SRK played a fabulous life coach in Dear Zindagi. All the nuances of coaching were well captured – the process, the powerful and emergent questions, the use of metaphor and the eventual transformation.
There is no better time for the realization on the need of coaching. India ranks a dismal 118th in UN’s World Happiness Index. The stress levels on the personal front and the workplace are going out of whack. All of us need to reach out to someone who will get us ‘unstuck’. Dear Zindagi should be able to ‘move the needle’. It would be apt to pun an earlier SRK and Dharma Production blockbuster – Coach Coach Hota Hai! May their tribe increase…
Sorbojeet Chatterjee is a marketing consultant, media specialist, certified life coach, avid traveler and a doting dad. He is the Co-Founder of Happ Coach (an online platform for Life Coaches and Mentors). He tweets @sorbojeet