To emit: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjana Sanghi, Saif Ali Khan, Swastika Mukherjee, Saswata Chatterjee, and Sahil Vaid
Director: Mukesh Chhabra
Classification: 3 stars (out of 5)
How Dil Bechara it unfolds, two things come to the surface instantly, and poignantly. One is an understanding of the sheer magnitude of loss that Sushant Singh Rajput’s premature disappearance represents. This awareness is painfully heightened by the film itself. He rejoices in life and love in the face of imminent death. The other is the feeling that the lead actor, who had several excellent performances in a tragically short career, perhaps deserved a more exhilarating swan song. Sushant Singh Rajput hits his beat from the start, but part of the inevitably heartbreaking Dil Bechara It could have done with a strong emotional blast under its wings.
The lead actor develops a bubbly boy from Jamshedpur who teases a disability caused by cancer. He draws his enthusiasm for life from his growing bond with a terminally ill girl whose lungs act frequently. He has a false leg; she has to carry an oxygen cylinder. They are both running out of time, but the couple is determined not to let the feeling of mortality weigh on them.
Unusually for a Hindi movie that is a remake of a Hollywood hit, director Mukesh Chhabra’s debut feature film is 20 minutes shorter than the original. There are portions in Dil Bechara where editing seems somewhat rushed, leaving in its wake jolts that undermine the flow of the film. For once, you wish you had a few extra minutes to wallpaper the folds.
Adapted by screenwriters Shashank Khaitan and Suprotim Sengupta from The fault in our stars (both John Green’s book and screenplay for the 2014 Josh Boone film are recognized in the opening credits), Dil Bechara It combines unaltered loans from the original production with significant plot deviations in the process of shaping the story for Indian sensibilities. He pushes in one direction here and then he pushes in another there and he ends up feeling a little stretched at times.
However, one cannot help but fall in love with Rajput and debutant Sanjana Sanghi. They establish a living relationship. The brightest passages, infused with humor and warmth, owe their existence to the source material. Dil Bechara is a film about disease, anguish and death that analyzes the positive side of life through tears caused by fear and the experience of losing a loved one.
Tatanagar takes the place of the Indianapolis suburbs. Kizie Basu (Sanghi) and Immanuel “Manny” Rajkumar Junior (Rajput) meet at a university festival before approaching a cancer support group led by Dr. R.K. Jha (Sunit Tandon). An early dance number introduces the audience to the male lead’s love for Rajinikanth in particular and popular movies and music in general. The girl, who lives with her parents (Swastika Mukherjee and Saswata Chatterjee), digs the work of an alternative musician who disappeared from the scene, leaving her favorite song incomplete. While Manny and his best friend Jagdish Pandey (Sahil Vaid), another cancer patient who is about to lose his sight, they want to make a movie with Kizie as the heroine.
Convincing the girl takes some work, but once she is on board, seri, she is fine in Tamil, it is the motto of the couple, the relationship between her and Manny flourishes quickly and the two become inseparable even when the mother of Kizie worries about her delicate medical condition.
For her part, Manny does her best to spread the good cheer in Kizie’s life with her pranks, kind jokes, and uninhibited ways. Together they seek to make the most of the limited time available to them. They take a trip to Paris, where Kizie’s favorite singer now lives. She wants to find out how the retired singer’s unfinished number should end.
In The fault in our starsThe young couple’s visit to Amsterdam results in a disappointing meeting with the heroine’s favorite writer (played by Willem Dafoe) and the recognition that he is a terribly eccentric human, unworthy of being idolized. In Dil BecharaThis crucial part of the story is inexplicably overlooked. Lone singer Kizie adores presenting himself more as a man who is out of his rocker than as a cynical musician fighting against world fatigue.
The atmosphere of the small tale town is exploited with reasonable competition. Jamshedpur landmarks, Tata Main Hospital, Jubilee Park, Tata Steel Plant, and Payal Cinema provide the backdrop for Kizie and Manny’s exploration of the little joys of camaraderie. However, the city does not acquire the kind of centrality that would have made it an integral part of the script.
The character of Laura Dern, mother of Hazel Grace, had much more play in The fault in our stars. In Dil Bechara, its importance is considerably reduced, although the calibrated performance of Swastika Mukherjee ensures that it does not completely back down into the background. On the contrary, the role of the father is greatly improved. This extended career gives Saswata Chatterjee a chance to be a scene thief more than once. The first time Sanjana Sanghi is charming, even if, in terms of impact, she is not exactly in the Shailene Woodley league. Sahil Vaid, playing the hero’s friend who, in one scene, gets excited about Manny’s “killer smile” and triggers a lump in his throat, has limited imagery, but plays a chord.
Dil Bechara Obviously it will always belong to Sushant Singh Rajput, a reminder of an interrupted career and a lot of blocked potential. As for the money, his performance shows exactly why the chops he owned were not normal.
The fault in our starsWith his disarming simplicity and youthful enthusiasm, he tugged at our hearts with the help of elements that were within the narrative scope of the film. Dil BecharaOn the other hand, it will go down in the history of cinema not so much for what it contains in its text but for the fact that it lowers the curtain on the career of a talented young actor who showed grace for creative challenges (witness Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, Sonchiriya and the Mahendra Singh Dhoni biopic he owned despite never having had a cricket bat in his life until he landed the role) and delighted in carrying loads heavier than Dil Bechara places on your shoulders.
Dil Bechara, which premiered at Disney + Hotstar on Friday, is slightly below the benchmark that Sushant Singh Rajput set for himself with his most successful films. But nonetheless, look at it to celebrate a race that deserved a much, much longer career.