Dil Bechara will remain as an ode to Sushant Singh Rajput, who has made a strong performance in the movie which lacks a strong script. The film falls short of the original version.
Films are meant to evoke the audiences’ only after their release usually. But in the case of Dil Bechara (The Helpless Heart) — Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film which was released on 24th July — the late actor’s fans have already rated the movie 10 out of 10 on top movie rating platforms such as IMDB. The trailer of the movie directed by debutant Mukesh Chhabra was also well received by Sushant’s grieving fans.
Dil Bechara is an official remake of the 2016 Hollywood movie — The Fault in Our Stars — which is an adaptation of the novel of the same name. Dil Bechara is set in the steel city of Jamshedpur giving the audience a glimpse of the city’s major attractions like Jubilee Park, Tata Main Hospital, Payal Cinema, and Sakchi market.
Dil Bechara is an out-and-out Sushant film with his charismatic dance movements and flawless acting supported by Sanjana Sanghi’s impressive performance. A romantic tragedy, Dil Bechara doesn’t come across as realistic, but still is a watchable one — thanks to the on-screen chemistry between Sushant and Sanjana. Immanuel Rajkumar Junior aka Manny (Sushant) and Kizie Basu (Sanjana) meet at a cancer support programme.
Kizie is a college student, an introvert, and she is affected by thyroid cancer. She has to carry an oxygen cylinder to survive which she fondly calls as Pushpinder. Manny is a cancer survivor and Kizie’s senior at the same college. Both of them, having different characteristics, fall in love within a short span of time. The film is about the love story of Kizie and Manny, whose romance is similar to a fairy tale which, if written well, could have done justice to the original Hollywood flick.
Dil Bechara is a tribute to Sushant. Chhabra had said that he was disturbed while doing the final works of the movie after Sushant’s death. In the film, Manny loses his leg due to cancer and is using prosthetic legs. But he is positive and a vibrant lad, who is an ardent fan of Rajinikanth. He wants to be like the Tamil actor and perform heroic acts on screen.
The single-shot dance step choreographed by Farah Khan gives us a sense of the energy exuded by Manny, who loved to play basketball before he lost his leg. To woo Kizie, Manny too resorts to the usual stalking methods which films try to pass-off as ‘love.’ We know what happens next – they fall in love. Kizie wishes to travel to Paris to meet her favourite singer.
After initial objections from her parents and doctor, she manages to travel to Paris with Manny and her mother. Chhabra, who had earlier worked as casting director with Sushant in Kai Po Che has made sure that Sushant scores in all the scenes. Sanjana, who had earlier appeared in Fukrey Returns and Hindi Medium impresses as a self-determined girl who is inspired by Manny — but Sushant steals the show.
Manny hails from a wealthy family in Jamshedpur. He travels in his ‘Sholay-modelled’ motorbike. His passion for acting gets him to do a role in a Bhojpuri movie for his friend Jagdish Pandey (Sahil Vaid) who is also affected by cancer. Manny makes sure that his loved ones feel happy. But in sharp contrast to this, he organises his pre-funeral services and gives eulogies at the church which is hard to watch for the fact that Sushant is no more.
Falls short of original
Dil Bechara would have been dismissed as a normal love story if it was released before Sushant’s death. The movie romanticizes death through its central characters. Kizie had been attending funerals anticipating that she would face the same fate. But Manny as mentioned earlier takes her to Paris to meet her favourite singer Abhimanyu Veer. A twist in the tale awaits the duo at the French capital when the singer acts weird, giving a wrong impression to them. Saif Ali Khan appears in a cameo role as the musician. In the original Hollywood movie, the female lead is in search of her favourite writer who hasn’t completed his novel. This writer appears in the climax of The Fault in Our Stars during a funeral. But in Dil Bechara, the episode involving Veer is far less convincing. The portion wasn’t developed well and remains half-cooked.
Like its Hollywood original, Dil Bechara also has scenes where Manny and Kizie meet even at midnight. Manny is like an angel who can enter Kizie’s house whenever he wishes. Kizie’s parents are skeptical about Manny initially, but later they are shown as non-orthodox. The movie is a fun ride at the beginning but later changes its pace.
Some of the scenes were lazily written, like the one where Manny throws eggs at the house of his friend’s crush. Saif Ali Khan’s character also failed to have an impact. Similarly, the scene in which Manny was taken from a movie theatre to the hospital wasn’t conceptualised well. The adapted screenplay by Shashank Khaitan and Suprotim Sengupta lacks the essence of a convincing love story.
The witty parents of Kizie played by Bengali actors Saswata Chatterjee and Swastika Mukherjee were impressive to watch. The music by AR Rahman gels well with the film. The movie has a running time of only one hour forty minutes. Cinematography by Satyajit Pande, who had earlier helmed Lagaan, Dangal, Kahaani, and others, is the USP of the movie.
Chhabra could have made his debut direction better had he been more careful while remaking a critically acclaimed Hollywood movie. The movie premiered on Disney plus Hotstar for subscribers as well as non-subscribers.
––Arjun Ramachandran, film critic and blogger