Dil Bechara Movie Review: A near-perfect send off to Sushant Singh Rajput, a star who dared to dream
Dil Bechara is essentially a doomed love story held together by effervescent performances, especially by Sushant Singh and Sanjana Sanghi, and AR Rahman’s dreamy soundtrack
What is it about death that worries us the most? Is it our dreams going unfulfilled? Is it the hopelessness of not knowing how our loved ones would fare without us? Or is it just the unpredictability of what's in store after death? One might not know the answers to these questions, but in Dil Bechara, a film about two star-crossed lovers, each of these gets addressed.
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjana Sanghi, Swastika Mukherjee, Saswata Chatterjee
Director: Mukesh Chhabra
Streaming on: Hotstar
Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi) has thyroid cancer. Immanuel Rajkumar Junior aka Manny (Sushant Singh Rajput) has osteosarcoma. Even the hero’s best friend — JP (Sahil Vaid) has optic nerve glaucoma. With so many forms of cancer introduced to us in the first few minutes of the film, and knowing how such films essentially function, we know there will be death. We know there will be sadness. We know there will be copious amounts of tears shed. And yet, with star-crossed lovers, and even star-crossed friends in the mix, Dil Bechara is actually full of life. In ways, it reminds us of inevitability and its beauty, like we came across in films like Anand and Kal Ho Naa Ho. If Anand said, “Zindagi badi honi chaahiye lambi nahi” and Aman said, “Jiyo, khush raho, muskuraaho… kya pata Kal Ho Naa Ho”, Manny says, “Janam kab lena hai, aur marna kab, hum decide nahi kar sakte hain, par kaise jeena hai, hum decide kar sakte hain."
Adapted from John Green’s best-selling novel, The Fault in Our Stars, Dil Bechara (adapted by Shashank Khaitan and Suprotim Sengupta) is essentially a doomed love story held together by effervescent performances and AR Rahman’s dreamy soundtrack. Although there are one too many meet-cute moments, Sushant and Sanjana salvage it with their magnetic screen presence that makes us look past all the corniness. However, after a point, the proceedings do get a bit too run-of-the-mill. The Indianness of the adaptation gets compromised by the film following typical Hollywood romcom tropes. Nevertheless, debutant director Mukesh Chhabra’s experience as a casting director comes in handy as every actor on screen brings to life even the most stereotypical characters. Saif Ali Khan in a cameo brings in levity that would have felt too tacky if it wasn’t for the actor’s experience. Special mention to Saswata Chatterjee and Swastika Mukherjee who play the doting parents of Kizie. Look at the scene where Saswata dances with Sanjana just before prom night. It isn’t the most Indian of scenes but a father is a father, be it here or in the West. Similarly, the poignant scenes between Swastika and Sanjana bring out the insecurity and unfiltered love that comes from being a parent. In a way, it reminded me of the scenes between Kalki Koechlin and Revathy in the brilliant Margarita With a Straw.
As Kizie, Sanjana makes a mark in the meatiest role of her career. In any other film, the relationship between Kizie and her parents would have been the central plot point. But Dil Bechara is not any other film. How could it be with the impact of Sushant Singh Rajput's passing away, looming all over this film?
Every time Manny says something about life and death, the lines between real and reel get blurred. Manny even jokingly says he works in NASA and will soon be going to space. Hand to heart, when Manny says, “I dream big. But I’m not as driven to fulfill it now”, is it even possible to not think of Sushant himself? What about when Manny asks Kizie, “Can we just pretend that I’m not dying? That I’m not going anywhere?” How do you suspend disbelief? How can you simply brush it all away as a mere coincidence?
At one point, Sushant, I mean Manny, asks his best friend JP if he would miss him. Well… considering how over the past few weeks all of us seem to have thought of ourselves as his friend, all I can say is, “Hamesha… Always.”