CHENNAI: The Hindi-language film “Dil Bechara” (“The Poor Heart”), just premiered on Disney+, gains immeasurable importance because it is the last work of the highly popular and talented actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who committed suicide some weeks ago. He was just 34, dashing and debonair with a smile that mesmerized thousands of fans, who adored his tremendous dancing skills and performances.
“Dil Bechara” is inspired by the chart-topping 2016 Hollywood movie “The Fault in Our Stars,” which in turn was adapted from John Green’s 2012 novel of the same title. Directed by Mukesh Chhabra, “Dil Bechara” is set in the north Indian steel town of Jamshedpur, where we see the Basu family.
The daughter Kizie (Sanjana Sanghi) is suffering from cancer and requires oxygen support for most part of the day. Lugging an oxygen cylinder, she tries to live life as it comes, but she craves for something normal, which any girl her age would.
Kizie sees Immanuel Rajkumar Jr., or Manny (Rajput), at her college. But it is only later, at a cancer support group session, that she meets him formally. He has beaten cancer but has lost a leg, and his infectious manner attracts Kizie. They are opposites — while she is reserved and shy, he is witty, exuberant and even mischievous in a nice way.
Kizie tries hard not to fall in love with him, afraid that she would eventually break his heart. But his persistence pays off, and the two zip on his scooter along the lanes of Jamshedpur. They even make a small film.
“Dil Bechara” is not a great work. It is casually written and poorly directed. But it is difficult to ignore it because of its superb cast. Rajput is so endearing in his swan song that one just forgives the film’s faults.
Sanghi is also impressive, first as a girl tired of living on borrowed time, and later blooming as one in love. When she insists on visiting Paris to meet a musician (Saif Ali Khan in a cameo), we see her steely resolve, and scenes between the lovers in the French capital are captivating.
While Oscar-winning composer A. R. Rahman’s music and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are fantastic, Chhabra fails to flesh out the characters played by Kizie’s parents — Swastika Mukherjee and Saswata Chatterjee. They appear flat, given the fact that they have a very sick daughter. But “Dil Bechara” will be remembered for Rajput’s extremely memorable acting.