Seri?

“Gaana adhura kyun tha?

Kyunki life hi adhuri hai.”

You rarely come across a film in which it becomes impossible to separate the art from the artist. On the 24th of July, the entire nation braced itself to witness the final chapter of the stupendous journey of Sushant Singh Rajput. And what an epic end it was!

An adaptation of the John Green classic ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, Dil Bechara managed to create an authentic telling of the popular novel, carving its own niche while maintaining the integrity of the original.

The movie, which marks the debut of both Director Mukesh Chhabra and actress Sanjana Sanghi, is a heart wrenching and heartwarming tale of a young woman named Kizie Basu, whose youth is plagued by thyroid cancer which has spread to her lungs, and depression. And how her life changes when an absolute ray of sunshine enters her life, in the form of Immanuel Rajkumar Junior a.k.a. Manny.

 

 

Surprisingly, the first half of the movie doesn’t make your tear ducts hurt. Instead, the first half is actually hilarious and light-hearted, mainly because of the highly cocky and cheesy antics of Manny. He is a ridiculously good-looking (and he knows it), happy, excited little muffin. He starkly contrasts the gloomy and angsty outlook on life that Kizie has. A former cancer patient with a wooden leg, he lives life like the star of a blockbuster action movie. Sushant’s immaculate portrayal of Immanuel makes you instantaneously fall in love with him. His infectious energy simultaneously intrigues and cautions Kizie. What then ensues is a beautiful symbiotic relationship between the two, despite them both knowing the impending doom.

The palpable chemistry between Sushant and Sanjana is very believable and earnest. Right from the hilarious “chal jhoothi” to the heartbreaking “tumhara mujhe iss tarah se ignore karna, won’t change my feelings for you”, and all the dark and intense moments– the fictional relationship they create is simply awe-worthy. Sanjana, in her debut, puts forth a commendable performance as the young woman who craves a normal life– a boyfriend, going to parties, etc.—a performance that is equal parts sweet and agonizing. She also does an excellent task of nailing the Bengali dialect and mannerisms. However, Swasthika Mukherjee and Saswata Chatterjee, who play Kizi’s mother and father respectively, simply steal the screen every time they’re on. The critically acclaimed actors’ portrayal of the everyday Indian parents is simply perfect. The ease and effortlessness with which they bring the pain, love and unwavering hope for their dying daughter will make you want to pause and go hug your parents.

 

“Tum mere heart ke liye zaroori ho.

It beats faster every time you come closer.”

While Dil Bechara is indeed a beautiful film, it has its fair share of flaws. The movie seemed heavily edited. Since the intermission point, the plot developments were very hurried and glossed over. The changes in the character arcs weren’t fully developed. The film would’ve been much better if it had taken time to establish the gravity of the changing atmosphere. It has been said that about 20 minutes of the film was chopped off due to it being on a streaming platform. Regardless, the film deserved to be at least 2 hours long, to fully justify character motivations, deepen the relationship, and overall elongated for a more satisfactory ending.

A.R. Rahman’s music perfectly echoes the theme of the film. Every song flawlessly encapsulates the message that the director was trying to convey. A very unconventional but one of the best albums of recent times which was graced by all the greats i.e. Shreya Ghoshal, Arijit Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan, Mohit Chauhan etc. (We can talk about that Raja Kumari song later).

 

 

A small but integral part of the movie was Saif Ali Khan’s cameo as Kizie’s musical idol Abhimanyu Veer. Those 5 minutes of his presence in the film were deeply impactful and poignant in furthering the story.

The film was at times very over-scored at places, where the dramatic music which was intended to make you feel amplified emotions can actually take you out of the moment as it overpowers the visuals, despite the commendable performances of the actors.

Despite the hastiness of the 2nd half, all the performances were extremely sincere and never over the top. Undoubtedly, the acting is this film’s biggest strength, which is not surprising, considering Mukesh Chhabra is a great casting director.

The cinematographer, Satyajit Pandey, has shot the film beautifully, especially the Paris sequences which emphasise on the lead pair’s undeniable chemistry.

 

There are some applaudable cinematic moments in this film, for example, the scene where Manny puts his head on his grandmother’s lap and gently weeps while she caresses his hair. Suddenly, his parents enter the room and see him. Not a word is exchanged between them. The silence, their emotions transparent on their faces, and the torrential rain pouring outside makes for a very gripping and effective scene.

 

 

“Jisne mujhe hasna sikhaya wo mere saamne

 ro raha tha, chilla raha tha. Aur main phir kuchh nahi kar payi”

This movie essentially is a teenage romantic tragedy, and had we not been in the situation that we are in, it would’ve been classified as just that. But the events of real-life make this movie so much more emotionally stirring and intense. There are several parallels drawn which hold an uncanny resemblance to reality (especially during the end)– through dialogues, character arcs, and so much more– which makes it incredibly painful to watch. Almost as if art was imitating life. It was an emotional ride for sure, but a beautiful end nevertheless.

This film must be watched to marvel at the sheer range of Sushant Singh Rajput, and how he completely submerges himself in this 20 something bubbly man, who’s larger than life persona is a façade to shield the underlying vulnerability and insecurity.

The film never shies away from the grit and ugliness of the character’s situation.

His evergreen smile as he emotes “Seri, Kizi Basu” will break your heart and make you smile simultaneously.

In spite of the melancholic theme, the spirit of the movie is a positive and inspiring one, celebrating the triumphant victory of love. Which is exactly why you are left with a lump in your throat as the credits rolled.

Sushant shines brighter than ever in his last act.

Dil Bechara is a refreshing and touching movie that deserves to be released in theatres with a director’s cut version after the pandemic.

“Janam kab lena hai aur marna kab hai

hum decide nahi kar sakte.

par kaise jeena hai, woh hum decide kar sakte hai”

 

 

Seri.

 

– Anandi Ganguly, Amity International School, Noida

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