The Fault in Our Stars (2014) was not an easy film to remake in Hindi. Perhaps the most difficult aspect was the cultural differences. It was handled well at Dil Bechara. The fit in the Indian context is believable and has even been used for the comics.
For those unfamiliar with The Fault in Our Stars, nor the John Green novel it’s based on, it’s the story of a girl with stage four cancer, who meets and falls in love with a recovering boy. Their blossoming romance and how they support each other through many challenges and a common dream make up the rest of the story.
The film moves forward at a steady pace and, like the source material, focuses on the human spirit rather than the tragedy surrounding the protagonists. There is almost no unnecessary time wasted in the procedure. But, just as the public, at least the uninitiated, is imbued with a false sense of security, there is a grim reminder to the fierce opponent that cancer is.
The scene where the main woman, Kizie Basu (Sanjana Sanghi), has to be hospitalized seems a bit dramatized; but only someone who has suffered from similar symptoms will be able to comment conclusively about it. Perhaps the most important scene in the film is the one with Saif Ali Khan’s cameo. The changes in the script and a bug in the quality of the writing did not do the scene any favor. But it is well worn by Khan.
The game is generally good. Sanghi is impressive in her first leading role. Sushant Singh Rajput gives a memorable performance in her latest film, and is extraordinary at times. Indian cinema will be missed. The supporting cast puts in a strong performance. Swastika Mukherjee plays the overreacting Indian mother to perfection, but some of the cliched ‘overreacting’ scenes could and should have been avoided. These seemed to be the only unnecessary scenes in an otherwise compact plot (the runtime is only 1 hour and 41 minutes).
The music of A.R. Rahman is refreshing. While some of the tracks felt ordinary regardless of the movie, they fit right into the narrative. The background music is wonderful.
If you liked The Fault in Our Stars, you may find fault with Dil Bechara. And while comparisons to the Shailene Woodley star are inevitable, her Hindi remake is definitely worth a look. Mukesh Chhabra’s directorial debut is a well-made film in its own right.