Haseen Dillruba- a murder mystery, with a sprinkle of comedy and romance, backed by a stellar cast. Penned by Kanika Dhillon who has also written Kedarnath (2018) and Judgementall Hai Kya (2019) and directed by Vinil Mathew who previously directed Hasee Toh Phasee, Haseen Dillruba is an interesting attempt to bring crime thrillers into Bollywood. But was it a successful attempt? Should more of such movies be made? Find out ahead!
Needless to say, a good script is the first ingredient for a successful show or film. It sets the premise and determines how the rest of the project will go afloat. This is also the case for Haseen Dillruba. A crime thriller with a touch of romance and comedy to suit the Indian audience.
The story revolves around three protagonists and other side characters who are strategically introduced to the plot; enough to keep us entertained while not diverting us from the main story. It is the story of Rishu (Vikrant Massey)- a shy introvert engineer who in search of a girl for marriage meets Rani (Taapsee Pannu) who is shown to be the blunt Delhi girl always so sure about herself. As the mismatched pair get married it is inevitable that things will go wrong.
The story goes back and forth between flashbacks. Rani is accused of murdering her husband with whom her relationship was sceptical and quite challenging from the beginning. This leads the police to believe that she is the culprit? Well, could you blame them keeping in mind the current scenario? So as Rani goes through police interrogation she narrates her story.
The story progresses forward with the entry of Neel, who is 180 degrees opposite of Rishi. An adventure seeker with an edgy personality who loves to read the same books as Rani. Will she fall for him?
At this point, is that even a question?
Rani soon cannot resist what Neel has to offer and gets involved in an extramarital affair with him. She decides to run away with him. But well, surprise surprise, Neel runs away. Did you expect better from him? Well, we did not! From here, Rani’s character switches from the outspoken Delhi girl to an obedient wife. She confesses the truth to Rishi (who by the way, was naive enough to not notice a huge change in his wife’s behavior) and vows to become the perfect and dutiful wife and daughter in law.
The story unwraps simultaneously; at one end we see Rishi and Rani navigate through the obstacles and problems in their marriage and how the truth is revealed about the murder of Rishi. Will Rani and Rishi be able to overcome their differences and start fresh? Was Rani actually the murderer? What happens to Neel?
The Cast & Their Characters
The ensemble cast was certainly a refreshing change on the screen. Tapsi did a good job keeping in mind the fact that a lot of scenes done by her set the tone of the movie and how well the audience was able to connect. Unfortunately, her role as Rani was a bit hard to digest. It varies from a girl who speaks her mind and is least interested in doing house chores to a woman who dissolves herself into a small-town girl after she gets involved in an extra-martial affair. She is ready to do all the house chores, learn cooking and even make tea which she never did before. Also, why iddn’t this arouse suspicion from the other people living in the house especially her husband? Honestly, I can see why Tapsi took this role. Despite the more than occasional jumps from one personality to another, Tapsi had a lot of room to prove herself as a performer.
On the other hand Vikrant Massey impressed us more than a handful of times with his performance in Haseen Dillruba. We have previously seen him as Amol in Chhapaak and in other movies such as Dil Dhadakne Do and Half Girlfriend. He convinced us all with his role as the shy introverted guy and then as a possessive lover. As far as Harshvardhan Rane as Neel is concerned he also did a pretty good job. He slipped into character effortlessly thanks to his physique and aura but we do wish that he works a little bit more on his acting in the future.
All the other cast complimented the storyline whether it was Rani’s mother and aunt or Rishi’s parents. Aditya Srivastava as the police officer fit in his role really well and we did not had to think twice of him as the ACP as we are pretty convinced by his performance already as Senior Inspector Abhijeet.
The Impact of Cinema on the society
I would say straight without going around in circles that Haseen Dillruba did feminism no favour! A thing that I see more often nowadays is that the portrayal of a modern woman is shown by one who is moon path (outspoken), often fails to respect relationships, is blunt and does not care about what others think of her. And this is what we saw in Rani’s case. Can we not just show a woman who strikes a balance between her career and and home life? The one who is not afraid to speak her mind but also knows where to stop as a sign of respect. Perhaps not because we like to touch the extremes, but we want to strike a balance!
Rishta Culture & Arranged Marriages
Haseen Dillruba is one of many films that tried to depict the rishta culture in the subcontinent. We would love to see change depicted that it doesn’t always feel forced and at times can turn into a happy union for two.
Glorification of domestic violence?
When Rishi gets to know about his wife’s affairs he takes the leap into destructive and violent man from a reserved guy. I get that his ways of hurting Rani were part of a plot to show his aggression towards his wife but unfortunately, it was never reprimanded in the entire story. Rani didn’t object to it (and I get she was going through a guilt trip) which she could have done later when things had taken a turn for the better. The only time this was addressed was when Rishi helped her clean her wound and she said that the pain she felt after her hand was burnt was worse than this.
This might make the audience believe that when “you are in love or care about someone passionately” it is justified to hurt them in someway. Even if it was necessary to add this to the plot maybe the makers and the writer could have condemned it in some way.
The Thin Line Between Good & Evil
Spoiler Alert: We see Rani killing Neel in the end and then escaping from her crime. To say the least, it glorified and highlighted that it’s alright to reach a certain degree of madness for love. Can evil be killed by evil? Should extreme measures taken for love even when it ends in self harm be promoted or perhaps we should simply not overthink this one? Should we not censor what is shown in films and dramas as it is the right of a writer to exercise his freedom of speech and share with the world what he/she wants? But what if it gives the wrong message to the audience? Well, let us know how you feel.
Zainab Mossadiq is an A level student. She has a passion for writing. She believes that through writing we are often able to convey the message we might never say and unveil a hidden side of ourselves. “Writing helps me unwind. It allows me to explore a different side of my personality and to forget what’s happening around me. I hope that through my writing I am able to bring a positive influence.”