Sushant Singh Rajput starrer Dil Bechara which is the Hindi adaptation of English novel “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green has had a web release in India on July 24, 2020, on Disney+ Hotstar. As the story unfolds, two things surface instantly and strikingly. First is the realization of the enormity of the loss of Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput. His untimely demise by suicide had already shaken the nation and with this film, the feeling of emptiness is further heightened.

Dil Bechara celebrates life, love and joy in the face of impending and inevitable death. The second feeling is of regret that the fine lead actor who put up a number of fine performances in a tragically short-lived career probably deserved more stimulating songs. From the very outset of the movie, Sushant Singh Rajput hits off with a strong performance but the inevitably heart-breaking movie could have done better with stronger gusts of emotions.

In the film, Sushant portrays a bubble boy from Jamshedpur who makes light of his disability caused by cancer. He draws his zest for life from his growing bond with a girl who is terminally ill and her lungs are often posing trouble for her. The Jamshedpur boy with one artificial leg and the girl who has to carry an oxygen cylinder around is determined to not let morality weigh them down as time runs out for them.

Unconventionally for a Hindi film which is a Hollywood remake, Dil Bechara by debut director Mukesh is 20 minutes shorter than the original film. At some portions of Dil Bechara, the editing appears to be rushed that undermine the flow of the film. For once, viewers might wish for additional minutes to paper out creases.

For the original book by John Green and the screenplay by Josh Boone film of the 2014 movie are acknowledged in opening credits. Adapted in Hindi by screenwriters Suprotim Sengupta and Shashank Khaitan, the film blends unaltered borrowings from the original one with plot deviations for the story to suit Indian sensibilities. In the process, the screenplay pulls here and there sometimes and ends up with the feeling of being stretched at times.

In spite of this, one cannot help but fall in love with Sushant and debut actress Sanjana Sanghi. They look lovely and lively onscreen and shine through sparkling passages infused with warmth and humour. Dil Bechara is all about disease, distress and death but looks at the brighter side of life through the tears brought about by the fear of losing loved ones.

The story revolves around Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi) and Immanuel “Manny” Rajkumar Junior (Sushant Singh Rajput) who meet at a college fest before coming closer through a cancer support group operated by Dr R.K. Jha (Sunit Tandon). Manny loves Rajnikanth, old movies and music in general whereas Kizie digs the work of her favourite musician who left her favourite song incomplete. As Manny does all he can to spread cheer in Kizzie’s life, they try to make the most of the limited time that she has left but fate takes an unexpected turn leaving them (and the audience in general) too emotional.

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