The bittersweet saga will tug at your heartstrings

Aye Zindagi Story: A 26-year-old software engineer and liver cirrhosis patient, Vinay Chawla, has six months to live unless he undergoes a liver transplant. As he tides over various challenges, he bonds with the hospital’s grief counsellor, Revathi Rajan, as they wait for a liver donation for his surgery. As an incident drives them apart, will they reconcile?

Aye Zindagi Review: The film opens with Revathi Rajan (Revathi) preparing to persuade a couple to donate their deceased family member’s organs. At first, the devastated duo turns her down but soon concedes. The powerful sequence sets the movie’s tone and tells you what to expect in the 104 minutes of its runtime — a heartrending story about loss, despair, and estrangement, but above all, how hope and humanity make life beautiful despite all the odds.

The following person Revathi has to counsel is Vinay Chawla (Satyajeet Dubey), a 26-year-old software engineer suffering from liver cirrhosis who has only six months to live. Thereon starts a story about friendships, selfless love and the power of human emotions. It celebrates compassion through the people who rally around Vinay, from his brother Karthikeya (Sawan Tank), who puts his life and career as a surgeon on hold to look after him, friends from work who help him financially and fill in for him so that he doesn’t lose his jobs, and his employers who accommodate his needs. It’s incredibly heartwarming since the film’s based on a true story.

Anirban Bose’s screenplay and direction are heartfelt. The premise does not dwell only upon anguish or over-dramatise events. It strikes the right balance between agony and hopefulness. Vinay and Karthik’s banter (the latter compares his condition with pregnancy, which doesn’t sound offensive), rapport with his nurse Manjula (Mrinmayee Godbole), and Revathy’s equation with her family have charming depictions. Combined with stellar editing, the taut narrative keeps one hooked. When one thinks that the surgery and the events leading up to it form the crux of the movie, Anirban surprises with another compelling track. The flick also comes with an appeal to donate organs, but that bit is not overbearing.

Aye Zindagi’s strength also lies in its powerhouse-performer star cast. One can witness Revathi’s incredible range as a kind, firm, baffled, helpless, but a virtuous person. Satyajeet as Vinay gives an outstanding performance, whether in the pink of health or an ailing, balding, and debilitated young man. His look and make-up are on point, and he looks the part completely. Your heart goes out to him when he confesses that even though alcoholism causes cirrhosis, he has never even sniffed alcohol. Shrikant Verma as Vinay’s boss, Hemant Kher as his doctor and Mrinmayee Godbole as his love interest also perform well.

This wholesome saga is a must-watch. But do keep a tissue box handy.

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