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Film Review: Dil Bechara Makes You Relive Your Most Glorious Loss

The film was meant to be Sushant’s final act. Watch it, if only to see how God designs things.



Excerpt: Cancer can be painful, in every which way. Death, for those around the severely pained, in contrast, can often be a case of pain alleviation. Because the loss, for them, makes way for the restoration of ‘the good in entirety’, which was being disfigured bit by bit, right in front of their fatigued eyes. Director Mukesh Chhabra’s Dil Bechara, an average film that is replete with cinematic licences, is precisely that restoration — the ‘reclaiming of the real memory’ of a bright young actor from amid the macabre talks around him at the moment.

Review: Based on novelist John Green’s 2012 bestseller The Fault In Our Stars (also a 2014 Hollywood hit of the same name), Dil Bechara is a story of Kizie Basu (debutant Sanjana Sanghi) and Immanuel Rajkumar Junior a.k.a. “Manny” (Sushant Singh Rajput), two young people leading life amid extraordinary circumstances. Kizie is fighting cancer while Manny has fought and beaten cancer a few years ago.

Mounted on technical finesse in the form of fabulous cinematography (Satyajit Pande), unforgivingly razor-sharp editing (Aarif Sheikh) and embellishing background score (A R Rahman), the contrived nature of the storytelling is best exemplified by a mesmerising single-take title song/dance number pictured on the breathtakingly-rhythmic late actor. Most admirers of the talented late star would want to, and definitely, play it over and over again. But there is absolutely no reason for the film to have that song!

And that stands true for many things about the film. Forced and less than believable.

The original story is good — poignant and enduring. But this film fails at times in adapting it to the Indian milieu (as in the ‘smashing windows with eggs’ after a breakup of Manny’s friend Jagdish Pandey (Sahil Vaid) sequence or the almost ‘pop culture’ cancer support group meetings), and at other times in providing the requisite gravitas to an aspect of immense/principal pertinence to the movie (as in the film’s integral track of Kizie being overwhelmed by a song, leading right up to the three-minute cameo by an established Hindi film star, or the struggles of Kizie and Manny in trying to live ‘normal lives’ amid the challenges).

However, when it does not try to change too much from the original, it breaks magic on screen — especially in the ‘obituary speech before death’ sequence. One silent place, three good friends, two of whom read the obituary of the third one.

The only other scene — apart from the naturally dramatic scenes of illness and physical pain (well-created, nonetheless) — that helps lift the film to its potential is the late-night interaction between Manny and Kizie’s father, played by legendary Bangla cinema actor Saswata Chatterjee, where the former opens up about his successful but very costly fight against cancer.

Everything else, for some reason, is either rushed or imposed. Fortunately, with it being just 1 hour 40 minutes long, you can blame it for anything but being a drag.

Sanjana Sanghi is adequate. In a movie in which she is present from the first to the last one, in which even the narration is by her, and in which the character of the lead star is also defined by his interaction with her, she doesn’t emphatically grab the opportunity by the throat. She is good; but, perhaps, just about that.

With the country still not completely out of the shock of Sushant’s death, dissociating cinema from real life in many scenes of the film becomes nearly impossible.

There’s even a dialogue in the film (NOT by Sushant): “Khud ko maarna saala illegal hai, toh jeena padta hai [It’s illegal to kill yourself, so you’ve to live].”

The late star is enchanting when playing the hyperactive loverboy and exhilarating when being a silent sufferer. He would be remembered for this film for a long, long time. Albeit, it might also be because of irrational reactions (too) from all the viewers to his performance in the light of his passing. For that precise reason, this review too would not be writing more about his, what felt like, a stellar performance.

Verdict: Quite like the biggest opening for a movie streaming on Disney-Hotstar platform and a ridiculously high 9.8/10 rating on IMDB, the memory of Sushant Singh Rajput lords over everything in the film. And for that reason alone, you might want to watch his swansong. It helps that he is his usual good.

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“Sirf माँ Nahi…” Is an Inspiring Ode To Superhero Single Mothers

Being a mother is tough; doing everything single-handedly even more so. This one celebrates the latter.



Being a mother is an incredibly tough act; being an exceptional one single-handedly — sans the presence of the other parent — makes it infinitely more so. “Sirf माँ Nahi…”, an original song by Krishna Engineer, a lyrical poem in its more fundamental form, celebrates the latter challenge.

It is an ode to the single moms who face the world with challenges that are unique to them and rise above them like the ‘superheroes’ that they are.

So, while it is indeed a melodious composition, of which we shall talk more later, this music video — first and foremost — needs to be appreciated more for its subject (“mothers who have to put ‘daddy-hats’ too“) than the creative and/or production/presentation aspect of it.

An ode is often defined as a lyric poem. (Both ‘ode’ and ‘lyric’ are of Greek origin) Principally a lyric in an elaborate form, it conveys exalted and inspired emotions in a language that is dignified and sincere.

There are three typical forms of odes: the Pindaric (three-part form), Horatian (two- or four-line stanza), and irregular (uses rhyme). “Sirf माँ Nahi…” clearly belongs to the last one.

Released on Daughter’s Day this year (September 26), the autobiographical video naturally begins with narrative paeans for daughters, all daughters — though, with images videos of Krishna’s own daughter (Aadhya). Soon, it jumps deep into the subject of the former single-handedly promising all the life’s best to the latter — simply because she “Sirf माँ Nahi, Papa Bhi Hai.“.

Yes, the music video is about a daughter who also happens to be a mother that is raising her daughter, on her own.

In today’s world, an increasingly large number of mothers have alone carried the responsibilities typically shared between two parents in a nuclear family.

They, alone, discipline, support, provide for, and care unconditionally for their children without the help or support of a partner to share the load.

This song, however, instils soothing confidence into those mothers by its lyrics (Krishna Engineer) and equally by a very measured, dignified musical score (Parth Thakar).

Two portions of the writing that are particularly endearing, empowering and inspiring about the lyrics are:

बादल यूं बन के छाव दूंगी मैं, बिन बोले तेरी आवाज बनूंगी मैं….. क्योंकि मां नहीं पापा भी हूं सिर्फ मां नहीं पापा भी हूं


तो ,तू‌ डरना नहीं , तू रुकना नहीं, सहम सहम कर, कभी झुकना नहीं । तेरी हिम्मत बनकर मैं दुनिया में आई हूं‌ ।।

Beautiful. Meaningful. Strong.

Complementing those thoughts is the musical score that opts for instruments, pitch and pace that absolutely define the nature of a mother viz., calming and reassuring. There is nothing regimental or excessively ornamental about the score. Kudos to Parth.

While vocal texture has been captured well (Vatsal Patel), there are portions, especially in the beginning narration part, where the mixing (Rakesh Munjariya) could’ve been a notch more consummate.

Keeping in mind the subject and the purpose of the composition, we shall not get into the details of the camera and editing aspects (Sobhan Jana) in this piece. For, while the visuals too are easy on the eye, they cannot be expected to tell the enormity of the thought in such a short span, especially within the scale of the project amid COVID-19.

So, the baseline is that it is an easy-on-ear melody that makes fleetfooted smiles score over the mountain of odds that the principal actor of the story fights every single day.

Dear girls/women, you can take heart in your efforts by listening to this positive composition. So, scroll up again and give a listen again to the song. “Sirf संगीत Nahin, Sandesh Bhi Hai Yeh…

Pt. Harshwardhan

Pt. Harshwardhan has spent more than two decades being a part of, and writing about, cinema, music, and television (and all things media/culture/society) for a range of media platforms. He lives between Mumbai, New Delhi, Goa, and the HIMALAYAS.

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Legendary Singer SP Balasubrahmanyam Passes Away

His son SP Charan confirmed his demise to the reporters this afternoon.



CHENNAI (Tamil Nadu): Legendary playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam passed away this afternoon in Chennai. He was 74. His son SP Charan confirmed his demise to the reporters this afternoon.

The renowned artist SP Balasubrahmanyam was admitted into a corporate hospital in the city on the 5th of this month for Covid-19. The viral load dissipated, only after leaving his vital organs severely affected. It led him to be put on a ventilator and ECMO support. He breathed his last at 1.04 pm.

His condition in the last 24 hours had deteriorated further warranting maximal life support. A team of experts was closely monitoring his health.

On September 7, his son Charan had announced that SPB had tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

The veteran singer got himself admitted to hospital on August 5 after he developed symptoms of Covid-19.

Having rendered over 40,000 songs across 16 languages, SPB, as he was fondly called, touched many lives with his iconic voice. His humility and kindness were an inspiration to us all.

Balasubrahmanyam made his singing debut in 1966 with Telugu movie Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. He has sung over 40,000 songs in as many as 16 languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi.

Balasubrahmanyam was also a voice-over artist. He was the voice-over artist for actor Kamal Hassan, whenever the latter’s Tamil movies were dubbed in Telugu. Balasubrahmanyam also acted in a few movies.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter — both are playback singers.

Balasubrahmanyam sang thousands of songs in South Indian languages and in Hindi for five decades for generations of actors — from MGR, Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan, down to the stars of the present — and is the winner of six national awards. He also had won the hearts of several fans across the world for whom his songs have marked milestones.

Home Minister Amit Shah condoled the passing away of legendary musician and playback singer S  P Balasubrahmanyam. HM Shah said that he will forever remain in memory through his melodious voice and unparalleled music compositions.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar expressed grief at the demise of noted singer Padmabhushan S P Balasubrahmanyam. He said that the country today lost a melodious vocalist. Praying for peace to the departed soul, Javadekar expressed condolences to the family, friends and crores of people who loved the singer.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has expressed shock and grief over the demise of eminent singer and film actor, S P Balasubrahmanyam. In a statement, the Chief Minister said that the demise of SPB is an irreparable loss for the film fraternity. He felt it was unfortunate that the best of the best efforts by doctors could not save him.

Andhra Pradesh Governor Sri Biswabhusan Harichandan also expressed profound grief and sadness at the demise of S.P. Balasubrahmanyam.

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16-Year-Old Indian-Origin Boy Making Musical Waves In Switzerland

Studio recordings with and for other artists continue to fill his weekends with his passion for music.



The Swiss local media is going ‘Sa Re GA GA‘ over the precocious talent

Up above in the world so high, in Zurich, Switzerland, to be precise, an Indian-origin boy Aakash Sethi is making sure that the lockdown period would go down in his memory as the time when he first wowed the world with his music creation and production skills.

His mother, Aradhna, says, “It’s a passion that gets him up at all hours of the day, motivates him to just be on the job almost 24X7! He loves it. And even times his sleep pattern according to what raspiness or freshness he needs in his voice. Daily life situations, a fireplace, a rustling leaf — they all seem to inspire him to open his notes app and instantly write his ‘lyric of the moment’. Obviously, as his mother, I am super proud of him”.


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Abschlussprojekt 🙂

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And yet, he could well be mistaken for a regular Swiss teen.

After completing his nine years of obligatory schooling in the Swiss education system in June 2020, Aakash has cleared his entrance exam and been admitted into grade 10 at the local high school to pursue education according to his line of interest and competence: Computer Sciences and Information Technology.

Alongside his school activities and academics, he continues to attend Piano lessons and Karate, which lends a fine balance between studies, sport and the arts.

Studio recordings with and for other artists continue to fill his weekends with his passion for music.

Here’s a little chat with the rising star of an already accomplished family *:

You might be perhaps a bit too young to be able to answer this question in precise words, or, perhaps, with even precise awareness of it, but we have to ask this: Why did you get into making music?

AS: Out of all the creative things I have done, music kept drawing me back. I have always been very interested in the voice. It is capable of doing so many different things so I wanted to test that. I have also been playing the piano for nearly a decade. That definitely gave me a solid start.

Although I haven’t been producing for too long, I quickly realized how interesting and complex it is. It really grabbed me and never let go.

What inspires and motivates you?

AS: Lyrically, I’d say experiences, people and experiences with people. I love writing heartfelt lyrics that can make you feel something. Conceptually it’s different artists and producers from all around the world. People like Post Malone, Troye Sivan, Miley Cyrus and my friends/family are the ones who keep me motivated. Their styles and opinions intrigue me.

You are just 16. So, most probably, you would have begun understanding ‘guiding inspirations’ merely a couple of years ago. In the light of that, would you say you have any definite role models as yet?

AS: I have lots of role models. Moreover, it’s the different qualities in people that I look up to. The first few people that I think of are Meo, Sebastian, Eyelar and Valentin. Over time I have learnt an unfathomable number of things from these people. Eyelar has always had an answer for any question regarding the Industry. Meo inspired a new way of songwriting, Sebastian’s creative envisioning regarding photography and videography always amazes me and Valentin has always been able to answer my questions and give me tips on anything that has to do with music production.

With technology becoming infinitely more accessible today than, say, during your parents’ time, the competition too has become immense. In that sea of talent, what makes you stand out as an artist?

AS: Although I haven’t found my ideal sound yet I’d say there are two things. Definitely my age and the fact that I do everything myself. I’m only 16 so I still have a lot to learn… but the fact that I am doing absolutely everything from writing to singing and producing is pretty crazy. Especially to an outsider!

I’d also say my lyrics. I have a knack for constructing complex, thoughtful and thought-provoking lyrics with a dark undertone.

What are your music-related plans for the future?

AS: My plans include writing with people that I want to write with and bettering my voice as well as my productions. I’m really looking forward to social life in regards to music because I definitely want to collaborate more. Whether it’s with producers, writers or other artists. It doesn’t matter.

What is your whole process of creating music like? What is the thought process, what are the steps of execution etc?

AS: Normally I start off with a short lyric, or a metaphor that I like. I construct a concept if it isn’t already clear. Then I make a simple beat which consists of maybe a piano and a set of drums at most. I come up with some demo lyrics and records those. Then I work on the production. I add layers and use effects to give the result some movement. At this point, I finish the lyrics and create a structure. I record the lead vocals first, then I come up with up to four harmonies and record those. I don’t think about a music video at all. I focus on the concept and the message of the song.

Had it not been for COVID lockdown – would you have made as many songs as you have?

AS: (Chuckles) Probably not. COVID-19 removed school hours from my life so I had tons of time on my hands. I wasn’t just going to sit around and let go of that opportunity! I wrote around fifty songs during the pandemic, which by the way is still ongoing so keep your masks on! I even got to know some people through social media. I got the chance to partake in Zoom release parties and join songwriting courses. All these things really kept me going!

* Aakash’s mother, Aradhna Sethi, an elected member of the Council of Social Welfare (township), is an author and a marketing and communications coach. She runs a monthly online magazine for the Indian diaspora in Switzerland called, Namaste Switzerland. Aakash’s father, Anil Sethi, is a published management author and teaches entrepreneurship at the renowned ETH. He is an advisor for startups, keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur and advisor to the United Nation’s Initiative, Defeat NCD Partnership. The family also includes Aakash’s 14-year-old sister Aanya Sethi, who has also sung with him and shared his joys and inspiration related to music.

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