Film review: Sushant Singh Rajput at his best in swansong 'Dil Bechara'

Sanjana Sanghi one to watch after effortless performance as love interest Kizie Basu

Sushant Singh Rajput stars as Manny in ‘Dil Bechara’, the last film he made before his death in June at the age of 34. YouTube
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I was never a massive Sushant Singh Rajput fan. I enjoyed his debut film Kai Po Che, as well as MS Dhoni and Sonchiriya, but never had any strong feelings about any of his other performances.

After he passed away on June 14, his fans were eagerly looking forward to his last film, Dil Bechara, and even rallied for it to get a theatrical release as opposed to streaming online, but given the measures being taken to Covid-19, it was released on Disney+ hotstar on Friday, July 24.

Dil Bechara is the Indian adaptation of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, which was also adapted by director Josh Boone in 2014 and starred Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. It was touted as a tearjerker, and while it didn't have that effect on me, Dil Bechara sure did.

Rajput stars as Immanuel Rajkumar Junior, or Manny, an osteosarcoma survivor, who falls in love with Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi), who is battling thyroid cancer.

They live in Jamshedpur city in Jharkhand, and while the film follows the original plot for most part, a few bits have been changed up.

For example, Manny and his friend JP (played to perfection by the effervescent Sahil Vaid), are in the process of making their comedy film and cast Kizie as their actress. The scenes where their movie is being shot are among the most hilarious in the film.

Instead of Amsterdam, the characters head to Paris to meet an Indian musician who Basu is a fan of.

But director Mukesh Chhabra ensures these changes don’t feel jarring.

He adds his own touches to make the story his own.

One aspect I particularly liked was the camaraderie between Manny and Kizie’s father (played by Sawata Chatterjee, most popularly known for his terrifying turn as Bob Biswas in Kahaani).

It is very unlike other Bollywood films that usually show the hero and heroine’s father at loggerheads.

Sanghi makes her debut with Dil Bechara, and gives a commendable performance, but the hero of the film is truly Rajput.

Lovable, over the top, dramatic, yet vulnerable, he instantly makes you fall in love with him.

Manny is smart, funny and persistent, much like Rajput in real life, and it is difficult to view the two apart in the actor’s last performance.

Knowing how the film ends makes it even more heartbreaking.

This short (at least by Bollywood standards at 100 minutes) and sweet story is worth a watch for the myriad characters, including an appearance by Saif Ali Khan.

It is also well worth your time for Sanghi’s effortless portrayal of Kizie, which marks her as one to watch, and, of course for Sushant Singh Rajput, who has bowed out with a bang.

Dil Bechara

Stars: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjana Sanghi

Director: Mukesh Chhabra

Rating: 4.5 stars