Dil Bechara Review: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjana Sanghi steal show on performances amid a fragile narrative
Dil Bechara begins on a self-derived note by narrator Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi), a young, college-going Bengali girl (from Jamshedpur), that we are gullibly in love with films served to us by Bollywood because they are crazy, stupid and overloaded with love. And also, with folklores of prince-charming falling in love at first sight with a princess, their coming together and subsequent happy ending.
As per Kizie, the concept of happy endings are a myth. There are mere endings when both partners die; it doesn’t matter who faces death first.
Watch the official trailer of Dil Bechara:
Kizie’s despair is for her suffering from thyroid cancer. Conscious of her numbered days, she is deep on thoughts revolving around death. The only child of loving yet subconsciously alert parents, Kizie attends the funeral of strangers to hug everyone as a token of sharing loneliness, envisaging them as her family and friends.
Her physical world is dull and full of medicines. Her soul, though, seeks and aspires simple joys of life as her peers. It does not ask for pity but desires to live a normal life of a girl in society. Contrarily to her passable appearance, Kizie is loaded with wit and much self-amusement within her own world, to a laughable extent of naming her oxygen cylinder Pushpinder, something that she has to carry with her every single moment. She is hopelessly in love with Abhimanyu Veer, an indie musician who has vanished from the scene. Kizie’s only joyful aim is to meet him and ask the reason for leaving his last song incomplete.
Enters Immanuel Rajkumar Junior aka Manny (Sushant Singh Rajput) in her life. A cancer patient himself, Manny hasn’t let the illness dispirit him. Losing his right leg to osteosarcoma was as well not enough to pull his cheerful self down. He seems to be an old alumnus of Kizie’s college with a high popularity quotient. His charm and harmless fun has him loved by everyone around.
Manny’s only friend, JD (Sahil Vaid), is another patient in the film, fighting eye cancer and is on the way to losing his eyesight in a matter of a few days. JD’s dream is to make a Bhojpuri film.
Despite calling him unsafe in the first meeting and remembering him as arrogant post their second, Manny’s wit and vivacious spirit bedazzles Kizie. She stuns him equally with her gentle appeal. It only, slowly, gets unbelievably surprising for both to subconsciously contradict their own self for the other. Affinity brews further, and Manny decides to decode Abhimanyu for her while she agrees to be the heroine of JD’s with Manny as the lead. Jamshedpur, which forms the backdrop of this romance, goes green, love blossoms.
And as fate would have it and Kizie believed, “nothing is Hamesha”(nothing is forever). JD loses his eyesight, his film gets stalled, and there is surprisingly a response from Abhimanyu Veer willing to meet Kizie and Manny if they travel to Paris.
After a brief yet unnecessary dramatic turn of events, Manny, Kizie and her mom land in Paris where the two meet a deranged Abhimanyu Veer (Saif Ali Khan). His eccentric choice of words makes them walk out furious only to realise what they mean for each other. Just when their fairy tale seems to be moving towards a sweet culmination forever, life throws a shocker.
Adapted by Shashank Khaitan and Suprotim Sengupta, Dil Bechara is bang on its emotional messaging but weak on narrative. There are many loose ends, some basic questions unanswered, most important is that of Manny’s backstory. The slight glimpse of his grandmom and parents do no help. Manny’s initial visit to Cancer Counselling Group is confusing to be deciphered by the naïve if it is to assist JD as a friend or to follow Kizie.
Editing seems rushed to reduce the duration, and it occurs jerky at times. The Achilles’ heel of Dil Bechara is the issue of sound mixing. There are multiple occasions where it gets frustratingly tiresome to hear the dialogues with ease, especially when Manny makes the major revelation at the graveyard in Paris. The particular scene is the bridge for sending us into pre-climax with the right set of emotions, but poor sound only takes it away from us.
The romantic drama’s music is a mixed bag. “Main Tumhara” is exceptional. Apart from the title track, “Taare Ginn” and “Khulke Jeene Ka”, A.R. Rahman’s music on songs penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya goes unnoticed. The background score by AR Rahman, however, is phenomenal and does a remarkably marvellous job in uplifting the core theme and emotion of Dil Bechara.
Art direction by Rupam Paul and Avijit Ghosh is exceedingly honest to goodness and never do we sense anything unreal. The paramount technical superiority of Dil Bechara lies in its cinematography by Setu. The film is visually supremely rich, and it only enhances the audience’s primary sensory experience.
It is only astonishing that it is Mukesh Chhabra’s directorial debut. A casting biggie in Bollywood, he could’ve picked a much commercial subject with bigger stars, possibly. Him deciding to go with an adaptation of “The Fault In Our Stars” with Sushant and a newcomer Sanjana Sanghi only tells us the strength of his cinematic vision and sincerity in achieving his dreams.
A bang on casting only adds further genuine appeal to the film. Sahil Vaid as JD does justice to his character while Saswata Chatterjee and Swastika Mukherjee are effortless and beyond excellence. With beautifully sketched characters delivered honestly by them, never do we feel the three are an on-screen family. Mukesh Chhabra has been able to add multiples shades to their characters with a subtle fineness, especially for Mrs Basu.
Regardless of an unsaid understanding that Dil Bechara has only one star, Sanjana Sanghi deserves all the accolades for an incredibly appealing portrayal of Kizie. It is narrated from her point of view after all. Much evident are the sincere efforts she has taken to portray the character of a terminally ill person, and her confidence has translated beautifully on screen. We now only wish to see more of her.
Watch the title track of Dil Bechara:
While one may sense a lot of SRK’ish cheekiness in Sushant Singh Rajput as Manny, the star has delivered one of his finest performances. There are moments when he gets you drooling over his charm and innocence while seeking love while there are some that leave you stunned by his honest efforts in bringing the scene alive. He manipulates you into having fun with him, laughing over his witty comebacks, falling in love with the way he loves and also feeling vulnerable for him. Such has been his performance in Dil Bechara.
It is only human for one to watch him on screen and simultaneously remember him as a lost talent. Truly, gone too soon, SSR.
Dil Bechara breaks the notion of traditional love stories. It is practical and prosaic, but with a heart. It tells us that death is inevitable. It reconnects us with the innocence of falling in love, surprising ourselves by contradicting self for the sake of one we love, happily surrendering our dreams for our partner and that fulfilling someone else’s dreams is sweet silliness of a different level that one must undoubtedly experience in his/her lifetime. Keep no hope; only surrender yourself in love and let destiny play its part.
(Anup Surendra Jaiswal is a marketing and creative professional working in the Indian film industry. When away from films, he’s submerged into cooking, Indian politics, singing and watching cricket. He tweets at @anupsjaiswal.)