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Zara Si Zindagi (1983)

Remake of Balachander's Tamil hit Varumayin Niram Sivappu, Kamal Haasan reprises his role as Raja, a graduate looking for work in capital, sharing a small home with two other unemployed ... See full summary »


K. Balachander


Gulzar (dialogue)




Credited cast:
Kamal Haasan ... Rakesh Kumar Shastri
Anita Raj ... Kusum
Arjun Chakraborty Arjun Chakraborty ... Tilak
Nilu Phule ... Jaggu - Kusum's father
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arun Bakshi ... Arun
Mazhar Khan ... Pratap
Shreeram Lagoo ... Mr. Shastri - Rakesh's father
Sulochana Latkar ... Mrs. Shastri - Rakesh's mother
Karan Razdan ... Amit


Remake of Balachander's Tamil hit Varumayin Niram Sivappu, Kamal Haasan reprises his role as Raja, a graduate looking for work in capital, sharing a small home with two other unemployed youth. He falls in love with a struggling actress, whose life is likewise wretched. Fairly unrelenting grim view of urban unemployment, with the usual dose of Balachander moralizing. The Tamil version with Bharati poems was somewhat more interesting. An interesting study of the perception of government. Written by Joyojeet Pal

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

unemployment | remake | satire | See All (3) »


Drama | Family | Romance







Release Date:

7 January 1983 (India) See more »

Also Known As:

A Short Life See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

NH Studioz See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Raj Babbar was shocked the Hindi version flopped. He had seen the Telegu version and agreed to do the Hindi version. But the producer told him he was planning to sign Dasari Narayana Rao. This did not sit well with Babbar . He wanted the original director K.Balachander to direct the film. Babbar left the film. But when Kamal Hassan was approached he stated he would only do the remake if K.Balachander was retained. See more »


Remake of Varumayin Niram Sigappu (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Satire on 70's lost socialist young generation
6 December 2009 | by hbdave_77See all my reviews

Seventies was an era of unemployment crisis was so palpable and corruption and favors of politicians rules in job interviews. All those hopeless lost generation of jobless educated youth took solace as socialist rebel. They just smoke, do whatever is available and kill their time.

Written & Directed by K Balachander, the film portrays the life of a bunch of three jobless bachelors living strugglers' life in Delhi. The film is woven with satirical humor and captures delicately the everyday reality of that era. Watch fake lunch scene full of overacting. Some of the dialogues penned by none other than Gulzar are really so ironic and striking one to the scenes depicting reality. For example every time a man tries to post his application/postal order into the postbox, he heard sarcastic laughter sound inside the postbox. In another scene all three guys were sitting on road pavement with hunger in stomach and struggling for money and above them we see the huge signboard saying 'Have you paid your Income Tax?' Wow what a contrast!!! These are just few examples, there are many such brilliant sarcasm running throughout the film.

Where most of the Directors often highlighted either the melodrama or light comedy while dealing with such a subject, K Balachander had kept the spirit of both of them alive in right proportions and that's make the film a fine sensible and sensitive watch. Perhaps he would have made some more such films in Hindi!!! Kamal Hasan has done a few films in Hindi and this one is hardly remembered by anyone but as a jobless struggler poet and hater of hypocrisy, he once again gave his well nuanced performance here. Perhaps a few people of today's generation know about Marathi actor Nilu Phule who almost did the negative roles of street gambler, drunkard in so many films. Watch him here in one of his fine act of good for nothing scornful father and I bet any other actor can do justice to it. Actress Anita Raj ruled in 80's B graders revenge flicks but here she too is so natural and average. The only unfortunate parts of the film are its last half an hour which is quite stereotype and dragging one and the other is music. LP failed to score the magic of memorable melodies they composed in Balachander-Kamal's blockbuster hit 'Ek Duje Ke Liye'.

Recommended to all sensible cinelovers.

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