Dil Bechara Hindi Movie ReviewFeature Film | U | Drama, Romance | 1h 42min
Mukesh Chhabra's directorial debut 'Dil Bechara' is a faithful adaptation of Josh Boone's English film 'The Fault in Our Stars'. It stars Sushant Singh Rajput as Manny and Sanjana Sanghi as Kizie Basu. They are lovers who form a deep bonding over a chronic condition, which forces them to seek closure to virtually everything in life.
In his introduction scene, Rajput's Immanuel Rajkumar Junior is seen dancing to Indian music, with Sanghi's Basu standing near him. It is a far cry from the scene in The Fault in Our Stars where Shailene Woodley's Hazel Grace and Ansel Elgort's Augustus Waters meet for the first time in a cancer support group session. This is a Hindi film, and Chhabra wastes little time to establish its and our sensibilities for an Indian cinema audience.
This uniqueness even in a remake is what I have found strikingly remarkable about Dil Bechara. The scene in the cancer support group does arrive a little later, and so do numerous other scenes that stay loyal to the Woodley and Elgort starrer. Yet, what keeps the film from being a mere rip-off are the Bollywood professionalism on show and the vast cultural differences. Grace and Waters from The Fault in Our Stars bond over literature, and they develop a physical relationship. Conversely, Manny and Basu's tool of romance is their common interest in a Hindi album and Indian movies, plus their relationship remains platonic.
Chhabra and his scriptwriters Shashank Khaitan and Suprotim Sengupta, with able support from A. R. Rahman, create charming little touches that make the film rooted in Indian culture. Two of these elements are Basu's oxygen tank 'Pushpinder', and her and Manny's inclination to occasionally slip into local lingo. The oxygen tank does not just get an Indian name, but it also features on the shoulders of other characters when they dance with Basu.
Most of the film is breezy and charming, but there is no escaping the same borderline mawkish feel as in 'The Fault in Our Stars'. But much like the original movie, it is the director's focus on the two leads that makes Dil Bechara work. There is also another factor that makes it eminently watchable: Sushant Singh Rajput, in what turned out to be his final feature film. The actor plays Manny at an energy level that is vastly different from Elgort, and he is reminiscent of Shah Rukh Khan in his younger days. There are moments in Dil Bechara that blur the lines between real life and reel life, and this is owing to our realization that Rajput the man is no more. Dil Bechara is a fitting swansong of the singular talent that is Sushant Sing Rajput.
As for the other cast members, they all put in reliable, winning turns. Sanjana Sanghi initially appears a fish out of water here, but she gradually gets to the skin of her character, playing Basu as competently as a newcomer can. She does her best here, and does not imitate or try to outdo what Woodley did in a career-defining role of Hazel Grace.
Saswata Chatterjee and Swastika Mukherjee are fine in small yet important enough parts as Basu's parents. A 39-year-old Mukherjee plays the role of a 50-55 year old with utmost conviction. Seeing her act, chances are you will fail to recognize her from that Amazon Prime show 'Paatal Lok'.
Still, to nitpick, one would expect a better, more poignant role than Sahil Vaid's JP. There is also a surprise cast member in Dil Bechara that I would let you discover for yourself. After all, this is that rare Hindi film whose biggest surprise factor has more to do with a real-life incident than what unfolds on the screen for close to 2 hours.