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Dil Bekaraar review: Adaptation of Anuja Chauhan's novel is an enjoyable and hearty nostalgia trip

Fans of Anuja Chauhan's work can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this adaptation doesn't bomb like The Zoya Factor. 

3.5
  • Devki Nehra

  • OTTplay

Last Updated: 02.26 PM, Nov 28, 2021

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A poster for Dil Bekaraar | Twitter

Story: Dil Bekaraar follows the chaotic and colourful lives of the five Thakur sisters, each in different stages of life, all named alphabetically. They reside in a Delhi of the 1980s where Deshdarpan (a riff on Doordarshan) is the only source of entertainment, time advances at a relatively idyllic pace, and the city is not the scary rape capital it’s now labelled as.

Review: When I learned of Dil Bekaraar, an adaptation of Anuja Chauhan’s Those Pricey Thakur Girls, I wasn’t in the least bit optimistic about the final outcome – it was a classic case of being once bitten, twice shy. There are far too many examples of book-to-screen adaptations going notoriously wrong, with many nuances integral to the story lost in translation.

Chauhan had told me, reassured me even, that the show lived up to her expectations. That’s a big compliment when it’s your brainchild in the hands of someone else. But I had to give the show a shot myself too.

It’s not all that disappointing. Naturally, the world of the Pricey Thakur Girls that I had envisioned is starkly different from the one the show’s team has recreated. However, as Chauhan had told me, one event ually settles into this world.

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The Thakur sisters | YouTube

Dil Bekaraar follows the chaotic and colourful lives of the five Thakur sisters, each in different stages of life, all named alphabetically. They reside in a Delhi of the 1980s where Deshdarpan (a riff on Doordarshan) is the only source of entertainment, time advances at a relatively idyllic pace, and the city is not the scary rape capital it’s now labelled as. Judge LN Thakur (Raj Babbar) and Mamta Thakur (Poonam Dhillon) are their parents, a deliciously charming pair. Joining them in the everyday din of Hailey Road is Padmini Kolhapure as the paan chewing, foul-mouthed Chachiji, always on the edge because of her husband AN Thakur’ (Pankaj Kalra) roving eye.

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A still from Dil Bekaraar | Twitter

The story of D for Debjani and D for Dylan’s love forms a major chunk of the show. They both have varying levels of journalistic ambitions — Debjani takes up the role of a news anchor at Deshdarpan, the state’s mouthpiece, while Dylan is a hustling reporter who is chasing a story on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. It’s not their jobs that make their paths cross. Their fathers are longtime friends, and in between hanging out at the Thakur’s for a casual cards’ session, the two develop an affection for each other. There is drama, after all, no love story comes to complete fruition without some bumps. 

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Akshay Oberoi as Dylan Singh Shekhawat in Dil Bekaraar | Twitter

Akshay Oberoi is not the Dylan that Chauhan had described in her book, not by a long shot. Yet he makes it work, and his chemistry with Sahher Bambba’s feisty Debjani will satisfy your inner romantic. The rest of the sisters have their own quirks - Anjini, the eldest always wants to be the centre of attention; Eeshwari is the sassy popular high schooler; Binodini has her own insecurities for having a different, Hindi-medium upbringing than her sisters, and has her eyes on the family property. The fifth sister Chandu is never in the picture after she eloped on her wedding day.

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Sahher Bambba as Debjani Thakur in Dil Bekaraar | Twitter

Dil Bekaraar is like a desi spin on a Jane Austen novel, though it does not give a lot of space to social and political commentary. Through the Dylan and Debjani subplot, the makers try to broach the topics of media freedom, exposing crooked politicians, and more but it’s not as hard-hitting as it could have been. Maybe it's because the creatives don’t want to stir this pot, and for that, I don’t blame them.

The setting in which the show takes place feels well broken into just like the show Yeh Hai Meri Family or Rishi-Neetu Kapoor's Do Dooni Chaar — It’s lived in, and authentic. Not for a second does it feel anachronistic to place a younger cast of actors into an analogue world. Roping in a set of retro actors like Babbar, Dhillon, Kolhapure, Tej Sapru (as Dylan’s father Sahas, and Chandrachud Singh (as politician Hardik Motla) is also a plus.

Verdict: Viewed as a standalone series by those who have no reference to the source material, Dil Bekaraar will be a hearty nostalgia trip to a simpler time. And for those who have read Those Pricey Thakur Girls, this won’t be a disappointment either. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this adaptation doesn’t bomb like The Zoya Factor.

Watch the trailer here:


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