One of the most bittersweet movie watching experiences for me has been Dil Bechara, a Mukesh Chhabra directed adaptation of the 2012 novel by John Green, “The Fault in Our Stars”. The movie, based in the small town of Jamshedpur, is a beautiful (but tragic) love story that blossoms between Kizie Basu (played by debutant Sanjana Sanghi) and Emmanuel Rajkumar Junior aka “Manny” (played by Sushant Singh Rajput). The movie, although not perfect, definitely is not one without feeling, thus making it a lot easier to love.
Knowing beforehand, that the movie is based on The Fault in Our Stars, one of the most sentimental and tragic Young Adult novels of our generation, already makes us ready for the inevitable tear jerker that the movie is, just the way the original book as well as the 2014 movie with the same name was. Tragedy is writ upon the film right from the start. It didn’t help that A R Rahman created a really tender and emotional score of the movie including the soundtrack.
Credit where credit is due, Mukesh Chhabra did an impeccable job when it comes to the casting. Each character in the movie, be it the supporting cast or the lead pair, seemed to belong in Jamshedpur, and not a single talent felt out of place for me. Sushant did a fine job of playing a 23-year-old that you get inclined to believe him as one, and Sanjana, gave justice to her role, and for a debutant, definitely had a terrific acting performance in the movie.
On one side we had the goofy, charming, and happy go lucky Manny (going through a remission from Osteosarcoma) who was filled with infectious energy, the other side had the fatalist Kizie constantly worried about the effect her imminent death (due to her Thyroid Cancer) would have on her loved ones. But was apparent that Kizie always felt that she was living on borrowed time. The first half of the movie had a beautiful set of greatly gone happy moments with the right dose of cute, flirty, adorable and that feeling of helplessness from a first love. The idiosyncrasies of Manny and his best friend JP (played brilliantly by Sahil Wahid) always led to a bout of giggling and laughter.
With the story, Mukesh Chhabra took an adequate amount of creative liberty in this adaptation of the original novel. Where, in the original novel, what kept Hazel and Augustus constantly seeking for answers in life was an abruptly ended novel (An Imperial Affliction) which was unexplainable; the journey that Kizie and Manny seek for in Dil Bechara is through an unfinished song called “Main Tumhara.” (This song, in the movie, sung by Jonita Gandhi and Hriday Gattani stayed with me the most even after the movie ended)
This movie, like the book and the original film, in many ways, imparts several life lessons and shows us this constant need for humans to seek for answers and portraying everything in black and white whereas the reality is much greyer than we think. Manny’s quote in the movie “We cannot decide when we are born and when we die, but we can decide how to live” and this shows how the movie made itself a poignant way to remember the life of Sushant. Or as a song in the movie said – “Khulke Jeene Ka Tareeka Tumhein Sikhate Hain ; Hanske Dekho NaLateefa Tumhein Sunate Hain“
Dil Bechara developed in inconceivable pain in my heart and by the last 20 minutes of the movie, I was uncontrollably weeping and definitely could not help myself, since I already knew the fate of the movie. (The way Mukesh Chhabra directed the movie, he made the movie equally emotional for the one who already knew the story beforehand and for the one watching the first time ever)
As Kizie said in the movie, “Marne ke baad jo apne reh jaate hai, wo kabhi khush nahin reh sakte,” I know that the Bollywood and Sushant fans alike, are seeking for a closure, but will never get one with the way he departed. All of us can only contemplate how things would have been different for him had he been alive and what his career could have been ahead since he had just so much more to offer; but what is true for everyone affected by his departure is that this is time for all of us to introspect and re-engineer ourselves with the way we interact with one another and try to stay devoid of any judgement or malice.