I did it…again.
I willfully had my heart broken. I opened the wounds that Hazel and Augustus left in me all those years ago. Yes, that’s right, I watch The Fault in Our Stars again. I couldn’t help myself, not after watching the Bollywood rendition of John Green’s tragic love story, Dil Bechara. In all fairness, Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjana Sanghi’s Dil Bechara is a decent adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars. However, Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley captured our hearts way back in 2014 with an unforgettable book-to-movie adaptation. So, as much as I loved Kizie and Manny, I love Hazel and Augustus more. That said, here are some key things in each movie that are different, similar, and in the end made the flicks moving.
I’ll Read Yours, You Read Mine
The biggest element that connects Hazel and Augustus and Kizie and Manny, apart from cancer, was their steps towards understanding one another. In The Fault in Our Stars, we see Augustus volunteering to read An Imperial Affliction and asks Hazel to read a book based on his favorite game in return. It was his way to know her thoughts better, to view the world from her eyes, and reluctantly enough, Hazel allows him to. Although he finds the name of the book rather boring, he took the initiative to read it.
In Dil Bechara, however, we see Manny making fun of Kizie’s favorite music, and later, being forced (blackmailed) into listening to it by her. Kizie, then, takes the initiative, without his recommendation, watches Rajinikanth movies. In the Bollywood rendition of TFIOS, we see a slight shift in the two central characters’ personalities, veering away from the original story.
Tell Me I Haven’t Reached the End
In The Fault in Our Stars, we see Augustus reading An Imperial Affliction and agonizing over the end or the lack of it. Dil Bechara, too, shows Manny going crazy over the incomplete song by Abhimanyu Veer. However, the key difference is how the two approach it. Where Manny goes Bollywood by barging into her room with zero forethought, Augustus chooses to text and call her about his situation. We at TRB feel the latter had it more realistic. I mean, how many guys have snuck up into your house?
Should You Find Yourself in Amsterdam (Paris)
One of my pet peeves about Dil Bechara was Abhimanyu Veer never got the screen space the character deserved. He is the Indian version of Peter Van Houten, the rude author of Imperial Affliction. In The Fault in Our Stars, we see Hazel and Augustus meet in Houten’s house in Amsterdam and losing their cool in the process. Willem Dafoe, who played Van Houten, has more space in the movie to portray the unpleasantness of the author. Saif Ali Khan, however, did not have enough screen space to emote the bitterness and rudeness.
Moreover, Abhimanyu’s character was not even close to being as rude as Van Houten was. On the contrary, the singer seemed rather concerned about Manny’s health with his remark on cigarettes. Yet another unnecessary change in Dil Bechara was the place of meeting, in a café. The public scene was not called for in the movie, where a private meeting would have been more suitable. Not to mention, you don’t see a whole lot of Abhimanyu’s assistant, who set up this meeting either.
We are going to Amsterdam!
One of the central conflicts of Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars was her concern about her mother, whose world seemed to be revolving around her. Her concern is obvious in the way she obsesses over the need for closure for Van Houten’s book. After all, the book is about a girl with cancer who passes away. In Dil Bechara, we do see Kizzie’s mother being concerned about her inclination to attend funerals. In a way, this was Kizie’s way of trying to consoling grieving loved ones, something she may never be able to do should she die.
However, what sets the two book-movie adaptations is the initiative Hazel’s mother takes. Mrs. Lancaster wanted to make the Amsterdam trip happen, and she worked behind the scenes to make it happen. On the flip side, we see Kizie’s mother, who vehemently opposed the idea of flying to Paris. Perhaps the difference is the latter is an Indian mom, and we all know how Indian mothers can be so lovingly overprotective (a big hug to all the mothers of India <3).
You Gave Me a Forever Within the Numbered Days
Anyone who has read or watched TFIOS will never be able to forget Hazel’s eulogy to Augustus. The line, “You gave me a forever within the numbered days,” broke our hearts as much as Augustus’. John Green’s words are what made The Fault in Our Stars so memorable, beautiful, and subtle. The innate subtly in the dialogues that you can find in TFIOS is missing in Dil Bechara, especially in the eulogy. Kizie’s eulogy was rather…dramatic, a disappointing turn of events considering how good the movie was up until that moment.
The Indian Hazel Grace Lancaster
For the most part, I could see Hazel in Kizie with the same jaded and realistic view on love and life. However, what sets the two apart is how guarded Hazel was and how relatively open Kizie was in their respective movies. Kizie Basu, despite being realistic and with a no-nonsense attitude, had a child-like innocence when she experiences life with Manny. When Kizie was in awe and wonder, Hazel was slightly amused. The difference between them could very well be An Imperial Affliction. Reading a book coupled with her past experiences (something left unexplored in Dil Bechara) turned Hazel into an adult even in her teen years. However, in all fairness, Kizie is probably what Hazel would have been, had she lived in India instead of Indianapolis.
The Bollywood Augustus Waters
Manny is the textbook definition of a Bollywood hero sans the action sequences (unless you include the ones in the film within the film). He is overconfident, has no qualms in barging into a girl’s bedroom, and the one who strives to make the girl’s dreams come true. Augustus Waters, too, is a confident fellow, who has no qualms in being direct about his feelings and does make the girl’s dreams come true. The key difference? The script of the movies The Fault in Our Stars and Dil Bechara.
The former, like its book, shows a more vulnerable side of Waters with his admission of fearing oblivion. He wants to be a hero, a memorable one, but he also fears people not remembering him. The TRB team and I feel Manny needed a bit more exploration as a character. He seemed a bit two dimensional right until he is diagnosed with cancer again.
To conclude, The Fault in Our Stars and Dil Bechara are two really good adaptations of John Green’s book. TRB would recommend watching both of them if you haven’t already. However, as Van Houten and later, Hazel, said, “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” Let’s not forget that, Okay?