Haseen Dillruba Movie Review Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (Two and a half stars)
Star Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Vikrant Massey, Harshvardhan Rane, Aditya Srivastava, Yamini Das, Daya Shankar Pandey, Ashish Verma
Director: Vinil Mathew
Available On: Netflix
It starts with a gas cylinder blast killing Rishu (Vikrant Massey) and making his wife Rani (Taapsee Pannu) a prime suspect in the case. Jwalapur’s Rishu is the stereotypical electrical engineer found in the jokes of stand-up comedians who hasn’t had any sex in his college and could marry the first girl he sees. Rani (Taapsee Pannu) has had a fair share of broken relationships in the past but finally decides to settle down with Rishu in an arranged marriage.
An ardent fan of mystery-erotica comic writer Dinesh Pandit, Rani, gets too bold to handle by the innocent, pill-popping Rishu. Their contrasting personalities restrict them from coming closer and enters Neel (Harshvardhan Rane). Rishu’s cousin Neel is the man straight out of Rani’s lusty fantasies. He arrives as someone Rani could identify with, eventually falling for him.
Rani’s life turns upside down when she confesses her liking for Neel. How all of this might end up killing Nishu? Well, you either have to watch this film or read a novel by a ‘fictional’ writer Dinesh Pandit to know what actually happens next.
Haseen Dillruba Movie Review: Script Analysis
Kanika Dhillon indeed takes a leaf or two from Satyajit Ray’s Charulata when she shows a bored ‘ardent reader’ wife falling for a cousin of her good-at-heart-yet-lacking husband. After penning movies like Manmarziyaan, Judgementall Hai Kya, writing dark & deranged relationships is Dhillon’s space now. Taking the same route in Haseen Dillruba, Dhillon keeps on peeling layers of her leads in a way that might not come across as rational at times.
She gives the ‘bubble burst’ joke to Rishu’s 70-odd-year-old mother living in Jwalapur. Here, she misses to shape the story around her characters but instead tweaks them to serve the purpose of the narrative. Great performances solidly back certain twists, but they’re too few to fill in the mighty 130 minutes the film asks from you.
One of the best things about Radhika Apte’s Phobia was how Jayakrishna Gummadi captured the protagonist’s mind through his sharp camerawork. Jayakrishna continues to impress with his reliable frame selection. It must’ve been extremely tough for Editor Shweta Venkat Mathew to chop out the clutter finding a flat base. Because the story tackles multiple genres in mystery, drama, crime, romance & Kanika feeding dough to every single one of them drags the story. The extra stretched 20 minutes hurts the grip attained by some establishes plot twists & performances.
Haseen Dillruba Movie Review: Star Performance
Taapsee Pannu is now at the level where she can actually take the risks of opting for good roles in mediocre projects. She’s as good as someone can get for a character like Rani. With every passing project, one thing Taapsee guarantees in her every film is ‘good acting’. She just can’t go wrong until she wakes up one day and decide to do Judwaa 3 for some reason (don’t cancel me, it’s a joke!).
The same goes for Vikrant Massey, who has reliably been good in all of his films (except Dolly, Kitty…) delivers a decent performance yet again. He gets the best character arc of all, and he gives not a single reason why he doesn’t deserve that. Despite being ladened with a thick beard, he retains the expressive bits of his face especially using his devouring eyes.
Harshvardhan Rane gets the weakest character of three. He is one of those actors I believe could do wonders if he gets placed in a right film. This isn’t that movie for him. He still owns his presence on the screen, no matter with whom he’s sharing it. Aditya Srivastava’s part is too weak to do justice to any good actor. He just doesn’t get his moment throughout the movie. Yamini Das is outstanding as the desi mother of Vikrant’s Rishu. Apart from the ‘bubble burst’ joke, she is the comic relief that deserved more limelight. You could’ve taken anyone else other than Daya Shankar Pandey, Ashish Verma for their roles; it still wouldn’t have mattered.
Sidebar: Haseen Dillruba has double L in its spelling, changing the usual spelling with single L. Writer Kanika Dhillon’s Judgementall Hai Kya also had the same thing with double LL tweaking the original spelling of Judgemental. I know that was Ekta Kapoor; this is just a useless easter egg I wanted to point out at.
Haseen Dillruba Movie Review: Direction, Music
Though I totally understand how solid this story must’ve sounded on paper, the somewhat flawed execution takes away the spark. The ‘Hasee Toh Phasee‘ fan in me knew there wouldn’t be any shortcomings from Vinil & that’s indeed the case. Direction isn’t the cause of bothering; the story he’s directing is. He keeps the visual charm of the film intact for a long time; the narration takes away the cake.
This is a bad day at the office for Amit Trivedi as well. If you don’t want to listen to a single Trivedi song on loop after a film with his songs, there’s surely something not right. Amar Mangrulkar’s background score stays right in between getting too chaotic going all-silent.
Haseen Dillruba Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, despite all the gritty elements it possesses, Kanika Dhillon‘s story tries extremely hard to touch & nail too many genres, eventually exploding right at the end. All this needed was cutting short 20 minutes, establishing a substantial footprint in at least one of the many things attempted.