Film: Dil Bechara
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjana Sanghi, Swastika Mukherjee, Saswata Chatterjee, Sahil Vaid
Director: Mukesh Chhabra
Run Time: 101 minutes
Release Date: June 24th 2020
Platform: Disney+ Hotstar (free streaming)
Dil Bechara is a unique celebration of emotions- for not just the characters, but for fans looking for closure. While we tend to generally empathize with movie characters, this time, the characters empathize with us. This time, the pain of loss is real, and the routine line after sob stories – “It’s just a movie” – fail to console us.
The official remake of The Fault In Our Stars stays as true as it should to the original, leaving a little room for its own magic. And while the cigarette metaphor fails to be as impactful, and JP and his girlfriend disappointingly appear to be far less obnoxious, the movie has been adapted seamlessly into the Indian context.
Set in Jamshedpur, the movie follows the dull life of Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi), a college student battling thyroid cancer. She lugs around not just her oxygen cylinder, Pushpinder, but also her dreams of a normal life. She doesn’t seem to have much time left. And yet, Kizie is not afraid of death, but is instead desperate for a remedy to the sadness that she knows her looming death will bring to her family.
She meets Imannuel “Manny” Rajkumar Junior (SSR), a guy whose bone cancer is in remission. Kizie can’t help but get sucked into Manny’s happy, silly world of Rajnikanth movies, hurling eggs, ugly wigs, and unlit cigarettes. And once again, Kizie is not afraid of death, but of love. But it’s hard to not fall in love with the charisma and magical smiles that Rajput infuses into Manny. Together, they then embark on a journey across the world to find the artist of an incomplete song, but find the missing piece inside each other instead.
Rajput shines at his best in lighthearted scenes. Naturally, his smile, as opposed to his sorrow, is more often responsible for triggering tears in viewers. He nails the boy-next-door charm effortlessly. Likewise, Sanjana Sanghi’s acting is commendable. Her anguish, laughter, sorrow, and cynicism come off with great genuineness. It’s a solid debut for Sanghi as a lead character. Despite the movie having transformed into a tribute to the man behind Manny, Kizie’s story manages to stay latched to her.
Saif Ali Khan‘s cameo jarred slightly against the quaint, whimsical feel of the movie. His performance as the deranged musician lives up to and beyond Peter Van Houten from TFIOS. However, the background music to his scene seemed ill fitting in a A.R Rahman musical. It’s almost reminiscent of the overly dramatic Hindi soap opera music that PewDiePie enjoys ridiculing. Apart from that, the music in this movie is mellow and wonderful. ‘Taare Ginn’ and ‘Khulke Jeene Ka’ stood out from the sound track as they melded in beautifully with the dazzling lights at the dance and the stunning Paris visuals. Personally though, A.R Rahman really delivered with the title track ‘Dil Bechara‘. Farah Khan and SSR also deserve credit for bringing the song to life through the accompanying swoon worthy dance sequence.
Dil Bechara received a 9.9/10 on IMDB and 5/5 stars on Google reviews so far. Was it worthy of those ratings? Definitely not. At times the movie seems too hurried. It fails to pause and ponder at the right moments, resulting in it lacking the profundity that made TFIOS remarkable.
But it goes to show that it’s hard for anyone to critique this movie outside the context it’s been placed in- as Sushant Singh Rajput’s legacy, and as a Bollywood remake of a beloved story. Not to mention the fact that this movie is determined to make people emotional, from start to finish. The little quirks of the movie, from the comical little film they make to the “seize the day” moments they shared, combined with the real life parallel are what make this a cathartic, emotional watch.
And towards the end of the movie, the lines between reel and reality blur into one sweet swan song for Sushant Singh Rajput.