Dil Bechara: A roller-coaster of emotions
There’s just too much overlap with real life here to not get affected
By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 3/5
Monday 03 August 2020
Dil Bechara: A roller-coaster of emotions
Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjana Sanghi
I don’t easily tear up at movies. I have a friend who gets emotional watching ads, and I never fail to giggle at this odd propensity. But when Dil Bechara was in its final scene (the most emotional portion of the movie according to me), for a moment I felt Sushant Singh Rajput was talking to us, the audience.
There’s just too much overlap with real life here to not get affected. It’s only been a few weeks that the news that Sushant was no more jolted the country. No one could have anticipated what was to follow— accusations and arguments, analysis of the reasons why this happened, pertinent issues highlighted, people demanding justice, and several folks swerving the tragedy for personal agendas. This one soul managed to open the proverbial can of worms, leading to analysis and discussion, and we are still sorting out the aftermath.
I have always enjoyed watching Sushant on screen, but I was truly struck by his talent in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015) a brilliant yet underrated film. He followed it up with yet another blockbuster performance in M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story. Then on, he has given amazing performances in various films, even ones that didn’t do well at the box-office.
In Dil Bechara, Sushant plays Manny, a happy-go-lucky fella who you’d never guess had lost a leg to a cancer. He meets the adorable Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi), who is suffering from cancer and surviving on a portable oxygen tank. Having experienced the worst at a young age, the two connect instantly.
A remake of the 2014 hit ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, Dil Bechara is the directorial debut of well-known casting director Mukesh Chhabra (incidentally, Chhabra was reinstated after being briefly removed from the project over sexual harassment allegations that were later found unsubstantiated).
While it stays true to the story of the original movie and John Green’s best-selling book, Dil Bechara lacks their depth and layered emotions. Those who’ve seen the original film or read the book will especially find Dil Bechara a tad hurried and unwilling to deep-dive into character equations and plausible motivations.
For example, the extent of Kizie’s obsession with a song that leads to a risky trip to meet the singer in Paris, is not emphasized enough. As a result, the audience is lost as to why this character would want to take this huge leap of faith.
While the film feels hurried, it is also paradoxically too slow-paced in other portions. There are some scenes, like the one where Kizie and Manny meet the singer (in Paris), that are awkward instead of impactful.
However, the film also has a lot going for it. It seamlessly folds in the inherent Indian texture— the story set in Jamshedpur, Manny’s devotion to Rajnikanth, him teaching the word ‘Seri’ to Kizie (‘ok’ in Tamil), and their fun film project that comprises scenes from DDLJ and other blockbusters. AR Rahman’s soulful music is another plus.
The performances elevate the film, of course. Sushant is spectacular in some of the film’s most potent scenes. It is truly testing to acknowledge that this was his last film.
Sanjana Sanghi (she has earlier appeared in Rockstar, Hindi Medium, and Fukrey Returns) is impressive in a complex role that requires her to be both vulnerable and resolute.
The film is a roller-coaster of emotions. We’ve had too much to process in 2020. Sushant’s passing away is still raw and many of us are yet to process and grieve. This film gives us that opportunity. I am not a person that cries easily in movies, but as the film ended, I teared up as well.
(Dil Bechara is streaming on digital platform Disney +Hotstar)
Sonia Chopra is a critic, columnist and screenwriter with over 15 years of experience. She tweets on @soniachopra2
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