By Divya Solgama(21 Apr 2008)
Zindagiis a family drama whose title tries to portray a slice of reality. Parents do not spare any effort in bringing up their children in giving them the best education and the best possessions. But values have ceased today and the same children spare no effort in ensuring that their own interests are first met albeit at the cost of their parents' happiness. Shukla ji and his wife Saroj have led a middle-class life with their two married sons and their families. Shukla ji's nephew Prabhu also lives with them. What at first looks like a family living in complete harmony soon changes for the worse. Shukla ji has just retired from work and is due to receive his gratuity. The two daughters-in-law live in high hopes of getting fair shares from this money. So they act sycophants to Shukla ji. However as soon as Shukla ji announces that the money has been used to pay off an outstanding debt, the two daughters-in-law reveal their true natures. The two brothers have decided to part ways and in order to ensure equality in expenses the decision is to take up the onus of a single parent each. Naresh takes his mother away to Bombay with his family where Saroj is reduced to a maid who does all the household work. The elderly couple have never lived away from each other in all their married 25 years and the separation is the first punishment cast upon them. Their pleas to be allowed to spend the rest of their days together fall on deaf ears. Ramesh's wife spares no efforts in meting out a life no better in quality than Saroj's to Shukla ji. He doesn’t get all his meals, is forced to break up his cigarettes into pieces to serve several uses, refused a new pair of glasses. The two parents bear it all sans complaints. At this juncture Prabhu steps in as a foil to the two brothers. All along Prabhu has been portrayed as a good-for-nothing idler who lives off his uncle and cousins. Prabhu gets wind of the cruelty of his cousins and plunges forth to unite the elderly couple. He takes up a job as a mechanic. In the meanwhile Saroj is forced to leave her son's household after allegations of theft from her daughter-in-law. On the way she collapses and is rushed to the hospital. The family is informed of her illness and they all go to meet her. In the hospital Shukla ji refuses to ackowledge his sons. Saroj then plays an ideal mother by embracing her errant sons and clinching the film with the adage that children have the option of being irreverential towards their parents, parents don't.