Review: ‘Dil Bechara’ is the Hindi film adaptation of John Green’s popular 2012 novel, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. In fact, the book’s Hollywood adaptation with the same name in 2016 met with much critical acclaim.
‘Dil Bechara’ sets itself in Jamshedpur and introduces us to the Basu family. Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi) suffers from thyroid cancer, which has now affected her lungs, requiring her to be on oxygen support almost all the time. With rock solid support from her parents, Kizie takes life as it comes, even taking the bleak, daily multiple hospital visits in her stride. But what she craves for, is a normal life like any girl her age – with regular problems like boyfriends, crushes et al. Instead what she ends up doing is attend funerals of people she doesn’t know, to feel a connection of the inevitable that lies ahead of her. She meets Immanuel Rajkumar Junior or Manny (Sushant Singh Rajput) in college at first and later at a cancer support group. And given her quiet, introvert nature, at first, she is wary of his high energy, exuberance and cockiness. Manny has his own story – he has survived osteosarcoma and his cancer is currently in remission.
The two strike up a beautiful bond as a smitten Manny manages to wriggle his way into her heart, despite Kizie trying hard to avert a heartbreak for him, eventually. Their cutesy chemistry grows on you as they zip through the lanes of Jamshedpur in his scooter. And also as they shoot a Bhojpuri film together for Manny’s close friend, Jagdish Pandey (Sahil Vaid), whose dream is to direct a film before losing his eyesight to cancer. When Manny decides to go all out to fulfill Kizie’s long standing wish of meeting her favourite musician, Abhimanyu Vaid (Saif Ali Khan), she realises she has fallen for him, too. But little does she know that a tragic twist in the tale awaits her.
Given its poignant premise, ‘Dil Bechara’ makes for a very emotional watch. Even as the story’s underlying message, of celebrating life despite knowing the inevitable, injects it with an infectious energy. Especially in the form of Manny’s character who wants to literally grab every moment of the day.
Sushant Singh Rajput, navigating the depth of his character, shines with a stellar performance that is sensitive, intense, lively and vulnerable. It is with a heavy heart that one watches him effortlessly get under the skin of his character and exude a natural charm. With this, the fine actor adds to his legacy of commendable work in a short span of time. And watch out for his brilliant moves in the one-shot title track, choreographed by Farah Khan.
Sanjana Sanghi who makes her debut in a leading role gives an assured, confident performance. The supporting cast, especially Swastika Mukherjee and Saswata Chatterjee as Kizie’s parents are superb and Saif Ali Khan in a cameo is noteworthy. The soundtrack (composed by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya) is peppered with some fantastic, foot-tapping music – particularly Khulke Jeene Ka, Taare Ginn and the title track, Dil Bechara. The chemistry between the lead pair is refreshing to watch, especially in the beautifully shot (cinematography by Satyajit Pande) sequences in Paris.
Director Mukesh Chhabra and writers Suprotim Sengupta and Shashank Khaitan ensure the narrative flows, taking you through some tender, touching moments between Kizie and Manny and Kizie and her parents. And be prepared for some scenes that will definitely bring you to tears.
Even though the film’s spirit and breezy pace triumphs, the melancholy that augurs it, will leave you in a puddle of emotions and with a heavy lump in your throat as the end credits roll. ‘Dil Bechara’ will always be remembered as Sushant Singh Rajput’s swan song. Watch this movie simply to witness Sushant Singh Rajput’s last act. A brilliant one at that.