Sudhir Mishra’s Yeh Saali Zindagi initially made waves for its cast, then its slightly derogative title and lastly its 22 kisses. As the director fought tooth and nail for each of the above issues, he eventually managed to wriggle of them. But the real question was, why is Sudhir Mishra making a film that has nothing to do with socio-political issues especially since that is his genre? Yeh Saali Zindagi is said to be a film filled with love and hate, crime and justice but with no real political agenda, one began questioning whether or not the film was really going to click and work. The star cast, consisting of some of the best actors we have, includes Irfan Khan and Chitrangada Singh. But is that enough to bring in the audiences?
Set in Delhi, Yeh Saali Zindagi depicts Arun (Irfan Khan) and Mehta (Saurabh Shukla) work together in a business which is unstated. It does involve a tad bit of money laundering, some goondagardi vis-à-vis emptying homes and so on. When Arun is told to save Shyam (Vipul Gupta), he finds himself doing more than just that; he falls in love with the woman in Shyam’s life, Preeti (Chitrangada Singh). In another angle, Kuldeep (Arunoday Singh) is caught between completing his last criminal act while his wife is constantly threatening to leave him. Amidst the chaos, Preeti learns of a number of situations that were unknown to her and puts her life in danger. Now Arun must save her but not until he risks everything which could ruin or even kill him.
Considering as audiences we are used to Sudhir Mishra’s films being a lot harder hitting, Yeh Saali Zindagi cannot be considered one of Mishra’s best. In fact, the film is far too confusing for the average viewer to really fully understand and follow. It moves too quick and includes far too many plots which really in the spoils the broth – pun intended. Before you realize, the film takes a totally different stand and baddabing, you’re befuddled. As a director though, Mishra shines. He really does know his trade well and so, the direction arena of the film is spot on. You can tell Mishra is trying immensely to take on Hindi cinema and challenge the status quo. While there is a need for his styles and types of films, they also need to be coherent. Unfortunately, that is the main problem with Yeh Saali Zindagi. And oh, what the title of the film has to do with the film, I have no clue.
The star cast of the film help to up the film. Irfan Khan is at his best as usual. Although for an actor of his caliber, such films really come far too easy to him. Irfan really must re-examining his choices as an actor to assure they help him further his career. Chitrangda Singh looks and plays the part exceedingly well. On screen she brings life to her role with her fiery attitude and feisty persona. Now only if the industry would utilize her more! Arunodhay Singh displays immense talent and shows much promise. The rest of the cast provides great support too.
Yeh Saali Zindagi is worth a watch if you’re a Mishra fan. Otherwise, skip this zindagi.