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|Directed by||Mukesh Chhabra|
|Written by||Shashank Khaitan|
|Based on||The Fault in Our Stars|
by John Green
|Starring||Sushant Singh Rajput|
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Edited by||Aarif Sheikh|
|Distributed by||Disney+ Hotstar|
Dil Bechara (transl. The helpless heart) is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language coming-of-age romantic drama directed by Mukesh Chhabra in his directorial debut. Based on John Green's 2012 novel The Fault in Our Stars, it stars Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjana Sanghi. Principal photography commenced on 9 July 2018 in Jamshedpur. The film's release was postponed multiple times, first due to post-production delays and then again due to the COVID-19 pandemic in India. It was eventually released on 24 July 2020 on Disney+ Hotstar. It features the last film performance by Rajput, who died in June 2020.
Kizie Basu is fighting thyroid cancer when she meets Immanuel 'Manny' Rajkumar Junior, who has previously suffered from osteosarcoma and is in remission. Manny and his friend JP, who is suffering from glaucoma and is blind in one eye, are making a movie together, inspired by Rajinikanth's films. Manny invites Kizie to be the female lead. The two bond over his love for Rajnikanth's movies and her love for music, specifically an incomplete song by retired songwriter Abhimanyu Veer. Kizie and Manny gradually fall in love as they shoot scenes for JP's film. They decides to make 'seri', the Tamil word for 'okay', their secret word that will help them remember that everything will be okay in life and to stay positive. After an operation, JP loses sight in his second eye, making him go blind.
One day, Manny informs Kizie that he has managed to track down Abhimanyu Veer and get in touch with him. Kizie e-mails Veer, who replies that she can visit him in Paris to get her questions answered. Kizie and Manny convince Kizie's parents to allow them to take the trip, with the condition that Kizie's mother joins them. As they are making arrangements for the trip, Kizie's cancer gets worse and she is hospitalized.
After her recovery, she is weakened and initially distances herself from Manny but later relents. They go to Paris to visit Veer, who turns out to have no conclusive answers, disappointing Kizie. Soon after, Manny informs Kizie that his cancer had returned and is now terminal.
As Manny's health deteriorates, Kizie convinces him and JP to finish the film. Manny then invites JP and Kizie to his mock funeral, where they deliver eulogies that they have both prepared. Manny dies a couple of days later, leaving a letter for Kizie, explaining that he had finished Veer's song for her and had even convinced Veer to help him finish the song. JP's finished film premieres in an open air theatre, where Kizie and the crowd get emotional. In the final scene of the film, Manny breaks the fourth wall and directly speaks to Kizie, to which she replies "Seri".
- Sushant Singh Rajput as Immanuel Rajkumar Junior, also known as Manny
- Sanjana Sanghi as Kizie Basu
- Sahil Vaid as Jagdish "JP" Pandey
- Saswata Chatterjee as Kizie's father
- Swastika Mukherjee as Kizie's mother
- Subbalakshmi as Manny's grandmother
- Sunit Tandon as Dr. Jha
- Saif Ali Khan as Abhimanyu Veer (cameo appearance)
In August 2014, India's Fox Star Studios announced it would adapt the novel into an Indian Hindi-language film, with the working title of Kizie Aur Manny. Producer Karan Johar was supposed to produce the film but eventually backed out.
Mukesh Chhabra launched the film in October 2017, making his directorial debut and announcing that it is the film adaptation of John Green's 2012 novel The Fault in Our Stars, with Sushant Singh Rajput as the male lead. In March 2018, A. R. Rahman was confirmed as the music composer. Later, newcomer Sanjana Sanghi was selected opposite Rajput and Sony Music India acquired the music rights, with Amitabh Bhattacharya as lyricist.
Chhabra was suspended from his services after being accused of sexual harassment in October 2018. Eventually he returned, after receiving clean chit from ICC on the allegations. This resulted in the delay of final schedule and completion of post-production.
While the film was initially titled Kizie Aur Manny (transl. Kizie and Manny), in February 2019 the title was officially changed to Dil Bechara. This was felt to perfectly embody the theme and had been chosen from lyrics penned by Bhattacharya and composed by Rahman as one of the tracks in the film.
Principal photography began on 9 July 2018 in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. The few remaining portions in the last schedule were filmed across Paris, France. On 29 August 2018, Farah Khan shot a song with Rajput. This was later revealed to be the title song of the movie. Khan took no payment for choreographing the song, which was shot within a single take from Rajput after only one day of rehearsal.
The film score and soundtrack album are composed by A. R. Rahman with lyrics penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya. The soundtrack consists of nine songs and were released on the record label Sony Music India on 10 July 2020.
On 22 July 2020, the film's musical team, consisting of singers Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, Mohit Chauhan and Jonita Gandhi joined by lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya and led by composer Rahman, conducted a virtual concert on YouTube to honor the film's late lead Rajput. The 13-minute tribute opened with Rahman who teamed up with his daughter Raheema, son Ameen and musician Hiral Viradia to sing the title track of Dil Bechara. Rahman acknowledged that in the wake of the actor's demise, the nine tracks he composed "have a whole new meaning today, a whole new life". Sunidhi Chauhan performing the track Maskhari with Hriday Gattani added, "I think this song connects Sushant of reel and real life. Perhaps this is a small glimpse of his off-screen playful and mischievous self". Singer Mohit Chauhan dedicated his track Taare Ginn to Rajput's love and passion for "space, stars and astronomy".
Dil Bechara was initially set to release on 29 November 2019 as revealed by Rajput via his Twitter handle. However, the film was postponed due to post-production delays. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh announced on 15 November 2019 that the film would be released on 8 May 2020. It was postponed yet again as the country's cinemas were closed as part of a nationwide lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in India. Following Rajput's death by suicide in June 2020, Fox Star Studios announced that the film would be streamed for free, irrespective of subscriptions, on Disney+ Hotstar from 24 July 2020. Chhabra said that this would ensure that the film could be "watched by many".
The official trailer of the film was released on YouTube on 6 July 2020 and became the most liked trailer in the world within 24 hours of its release, with 4.8 million likes. It has since gone on to become the most liked movie trailer of all time on YouTube with over 10 million likes, beating the previous record holders Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame which have amassed 3.6 and 3.2 million likes on their first trailers respectively as of 26 July 2020.
The film won praise for its acting performances and soundtrack, but drew criticism for its direction and writing. Some drew parallels between the character of Manny and Rajput, noting that the film, the actor's sole posthumous release, served as a tribute to him. Sreeparna Sengupta of The Times of India wrote: "Sushant Singh Rajput, navigating the depth of his character, shines with a stellar performance that is sensitive, intense, lively and vulnerable. Sanjana Sanghi who makes her debut in a leading role gives an assured, confident performance. Director Mukesh Chhabra and writers Suprotim Sengupta and Shashank Khaitan ensure the narrative flows, taking you through some tender, touching moments." Writing for NDTV, Saibal Chatterjee gave the film 3 stars out of 5, opining: "There are portions in Dil Bechara where the editing appears somewhat rushed, leaving in its wake jerks that undermine the flow of the film. It pulls in one direction here and then pushes in another there and ends up feeling a bit stretched at times. Yet, one cannot help falling in love with Rajput and debutante Sanjana Sanghi."
In a review for Firstpost, Anna M. M. Vetticad rated the film 2 out of 5 and called it "a shoddily produced film that, far from building on the positives of the original, subtracts from them with its slipshod rewriting, sloppy editing and ordinary production quality" but praised the lead acting performances and soundtrack. Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express concurred, writing: "Choppy and lopsided aren’t great ways to give us a complete, soul-satisfying young love story, which switches on only sporadically. It is the occasional sweetness that Rajput and Sanghi manage to rustle up that carries the film." The Wire's Tanul Thakur criticised the direction and characterisation, remarking that the film "has the luxury of an impressive source material, but it confirms an old filmmaking truth: that a good movie needs much more than a compelling story." Kennith Rosario echoed this sentiment in his review in The Hindu, writing: "Dil Bechara relies on the age-old tools of sentimental background score to compensate for its inadequacy in characterisation, and the film appears to be a sequence of incidents, rather than a peek into full lives."
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With an aim to honour the legacy of the actor, the streaming platform is making the movie available to even the non-subscribers, which, Chhabra said will ensure that "Dil Bechara" can be watched by many.
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