There are often times in life when you’re at loss for words. And writing this review is one of those moments because there is so much to say but no words to express my emotions. Sushant Singh Rajput passed away on June 14 due to suicide but the mystery surrounding his sudden death remains, leaving one restless and searching for answers. His unexpected death impacted Bollywood fans across the world in a way no one could have imagined. In midst of all this, Disney Hotstar announced that they would release the actor’s last film digitally on their streaming platform and make it available to everyone with the aim to celebrate his life and legacy. The move was welcomed by his fans as they felt that the film would give them the closure they have been searching for. But unfortunately, the film ends up widening the void instead of closing it because, by the time the credits roll in, you’re emotional, teary-eyed and wishing that the film would never end because you just want to continue watching Sushant weave his magic on screen.
Dil Bechara is the official Hindi adaption of The Fault in Our Stars. It is the story of two cancer patients Kizie and Manny, whose paths cross at a cancer support group. Though Kizie initially finds Manny ‘irritating and annoying’, Manny with his goofy antics soon becomes the centre of Kizie’s universe. He makes her laugh and forget her worries and gives her ‘boring’ life a whole new meaning. The two bond over music and movies and become inseparable. But life throws them another curveball and Manny, whose cancer was believed to have gone, returns leaving him terminally ill.
While Dil Bechara Sushant’s last film, it is debutante Sanjana Sanghani’s first film and also marks the directorial debut of renowned casting director Mukesh Chhabra. Sanjana makes a sound debut and is confident in her role but for me, the film is only Sushant, who steals the shows with his infectious smile and on-screen presence. From the minute he comes on the screen to the minute he says Seri in the last shot, my eyes were glued to him throughout and I wished the film didn’t end. A master performer, Sushant did not let his fans down with his swan song. His expressions and body language were brilliant and he slipped into Manny’s character with finesse.
Given the circumstances surrounding the film’s release, emotions are naturally running high and it is impossible to not relate Sushant’s untimely death with Manny’s. In particular, the last scene, when everyone gathers to watch Manny’s film. At that point, the lines between real and reel were so blurred you forgot you were watching a movie because everything just felt so real.
A.R Rahman’s music beautifully blended in with the mood of the film and the setting of the frames, giving the film a magical touch. My personal favourite from the album has to be Main Tumhara.
Some of the film’s dialogues were also amazing and I see them becoming a thing. One of them – “Jeena kab hai aur marna kab hai yeh hum decide nahi kartay, laikin jeena kaisay hain, yeh hum decide kar saktay hain” – has already become iconic and synonymous with Sushant.
As much as I want to only heap praises on the film for having its heart in the right place and being a touching watch, it would be unfair to ignore its shortcomings which mainly lied in the direction and editing. The story and characters are underdeveloped, especially Manny’s. All through the film, I kept waiting for a backstory on Manny – just some basic details would have sufficed. However, apart from the fact that he’s rich and doesn’t need to work, we don’t get much on Manny or his family. Sushant’s portrayal of Manny was the only saving grace of an otherwise poorly written character.
More so, the editing is choppy and appears to have been lazily done. Given that the film was a tribute to Sushant, I wish the makers had put in more effort in post-production. The film currently runs for one hour forty minutes and could have easily been stretched to two hours to tie up loose ends.
Since its release, I’ve watched Dil Bechara twice and will perhaps watch it a couple of times more but only for Sushant. He effortlessly carried the weight of the entire film and pulled it through despite its shortcomings. Sushant lit up the screen every time he made an appearance and I wish the film was longer so he could have stayed with us more.