Ek tha raja, ek thi rani… You know how that ends. They die. That’s the end of the story. On reel as in real life, Sushant Singh Rajput left us all with this very lesson. On the inevitability of death but till that blow lands, there’s nothing to stop you from living your life to the fullest. If you have seen The Fault In Our Stars, you already know what Dil Bechara will be like. But Sushant Singh Rajput’s swan song, his last film, is one for the keeps. At an hour and a half, it is beautifully made. Director Mukesh Chhabra gets Jamshedpur right and his hero and heroine better. In another time, this could have been a big-screen, theatre release. But this time is all we’ve got. So while the pandemic pulls us apart from friends, family, loved ones, a Dil Bechara is there to say it will be alright.
You probably have seen the trailer of Dil Bechara. The story is simple. Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi) has thyroid cancer. She carries her oxygen cylinder Pushpinder all around and the pipes come in the way of a first kiss. Immanuel Rajkumar Junior enters her life dancing. In the jersey of Reggie Miller. We are told the reason later in the film, on one night when the sky has broken open and two men sit on an iron swing, discussing why life is the way it is. One of these men is Manny (Immanuel), Sushant Singh Rajput. The other is Kizie’s father, Saswata Chatterjee.
Life hasn’t been kind to any of them. But while ‘dangerous Bengali woman’ Kizie and her even-more-dangerous mom (Swastika Mukherjee) are too worried about getting through this life, weighed down by a cylinder, Manny is the sunshine. There’s hardly any way the irony of life – real, outside of your TV screens – will not bite you. Sushant Singh Rajput, his smile, the numerous Rajinikanth acts, everything.
Manny teaches Kizie how to live. Outside of that screen, your mind will go back to those numerous videos of Sushant Singh Rajput, where he was the epitome of dreaming big. “I dream big,” says Manny in Dil Bechara, before going on to add, “lekin adhoora chhod deta hoon.” You will feel the white-hot pain of those words.
Director Mukesh Chhabra’s camera captures every detail of this strange relationship. Normal in their strangeness. Where cancer is neither glorified nor made a devil of. It is treated as a part of life. A part of life, but one that doesn’t let you live the way you want to. In this journey on screen, director Mukesh Chhabra gets a trustworthy ally in music director AR Rahman. The title track of Dil Bechara, of course, has already made it to our chartbusters. Seeing Sushant dance in that long one-take song is the added bonus here when you’re watching Dil Bechara the film.
In a five-minute special appearance, Safi Ali Khan leaves an impression on you; as does Sahil Vaid as JP, Manny’s best friend. While Sushant Singh Rajput, of course, will take most of all reviews, Sanjana Sanghi makes a cracker of a debut with Dil Bechara. Sanjana, along with Swastika and Saswata, both well-known Bengali (and Hindi too) names, fit in this perfect little middle-class Bengali family in Jamshedpur. Sanjana brings out the vulnerability of a person who has to live with the knowledge of death. And then there is Manny, who laughs in the face of this inevitability. Because death will come when it has to. Doesn’t mean we stop living, right?
Farewell, Sushant Singh Rajput.
(No stars for this one. Watch Dil Bechara. Live it. See Sushant Singh Rajput one last time.)