Tanuja Chandra has missed the bus the third time! She had everything going for her ? a talented cast, a seasoned writer (Mahesh Bhatt) and a veteran producer (Mukesh Bhatt) ? but YEH ZINDAGI KA SAFAR is akin to soda without fizz.
20-year-old Sarena's (Amisha Patel) world is picture perfect ? she has an adorable relationship with her industrialist father Vivek Dewan (Gulshan Grover) and is on the verge of major stardom as a pop singer.
Jai's (Jimmy Shergill) world is, however, poles apart. As the struggling editor of a near bankrupt tabloid, he dreams of one day having an office in Nariman Point. And to reach there, he searches for a sensational story that'll actually get him there.
Jai stumbles upon the secret that pop star Sarena is not the real daughter of industrialist Vivek Dewan, who had taken great pains to ensure that on one knew she was adopted.
Jai realises that this could be the story he was looking for and goes ahead and publishes it, thus incurring the wrath of Vivek Dewan. An enraged Vivek Dewan not only takes legal action against the errant journalist, he also tries to suppress any further information about this being leaked.
Sarena, however, notices her father's anxiety and confronts him, only to discover that Jai, despite his crude ways of going about it, had written the truth about her.
Ignoring her father's protests, Sarena goes in search of her mother. Ironically, at every stage, her companion in her mission is Jai himself, who follows her through the journey from Mumbai to Ooty to get the legal notice withdrawn.
With no headway in her search, Sarena seeks Jai's help, inspired by his go-getting ways. As Sarena discovers layer upon devastating layer of truth behind her identity, Jai too learns many things about life.
In the end, both Jai and Sarena fight together to correct the wrong that had been done to Sarena's mother.
The basic premise of the story ? a child born out of rape ? is interesting, but the storytelling makes an outright mockery of an otherwise sensitive issue.
Writer Mahesh Bhatt seems to have taken the audience for granted. There are no justifications for various sequences in the narrative. Why does Nafisa Ali desert her own child, despite the fact that she's later shown as a caretaker in an orphanage? Isn't that contradictory itself?
In between too, the screenplay is of convenience. How the still photographer manages to unearth the negative of a photograph, shot almost 18 years ago, looks far from convincing.
Besides, the songs have been incorporated in the story without valid situations whatsoever. Just when the story is about to get engaging, a song throws a spanner in the goings-on.
One wouldn't have felt agitated had the music been lilting, but here, the slow-paced numbers test the patience of the viewer.
The second half shows promise once the truth ? the flashback ? unfolds, but the sequences that follow, chiefly towards the climax, are bizarre and slipshod.
The Commissioner (Ehsaan Khan) attacking Nafisa Ali in broad daylight, in front of the entire press, is implausible and unpalatable. Ditto for the unwarranted courtroom drama in the concluding reels.
Director Tanuja Chandra has chosen the right story, but her interpretation is uninspiring and highly over dramatised. Dialogues are well worded at places.
Amisha Patel grossly overacts. A role like this should've been handled with kid gloves, but Amisha makes a mess out of it. Jimmy Shergill gets no scope to perform. Gulshan Grover is routine. Rajpal Yadav and Ehsaan Khan are loud.
On the whole, YEH ZINDAGI KA SAFAR is a weak fare with nothing to salvage it. Below average.