Be it Manmarziyan or Judgmental Hai Kya, the female protagonists in the scripts written by Kanika Dhillon are always on the atypical side. Her new movie, Haseen Dillruba, directed by Hasee Toh Phasee fame Vinil Mathew is also not different in terms of the writing of the female character. Yet again, Kanika uses the opportunity to break a stereotypical gaze on “good” women and try to display the morally fragile shades. But this murder mystery that started off very interestingly loses its crazy energy as it approaches the end, and what saves it is the conviction with which its lead pair performed.
The story is set in Jwalapur, and our leading lady Rani arrives there after her marriage with the local boy, Rishab, aka Rishu. Rani is that outgoing Delhi girl who was a fan of these Savitha Bhabhi-inspired sleazy crime thrillers. But Rishu wasn’t the husband she was looking for, physically and emotionally. This lack of chemistry and obsession with those novels make her fall for Rishu’s hot cousin Neel, and the consequences of that affair are what we see in Haseen Dillruba.
As I said, Kanika Dhillon always tries to free the women in her movies from all the burdens put on the heroines to be “Sundar” and “susheel.” Rani, on the first view, is just another variant of Rumy from Manmarziyan. But there is a back and forth happening here, which sort of shifts the focus from one character to another. The idea might have felt like an exciting challenge on paper. Taking two polar opposite characters and making them made/mad for each other by pushing them to their limits is indeed an exciting and yet challenging concept. But these shifts are a bit problematic. The girl who was fighting with her in-laws by being herself starts to tolerate creepy level abuse just because she feels guilty. And what we see at the end somewhere feels like a romanticization of toxic behavior as mad for each other.
Taapsee Pannu’s abundance of confidence in playing these chirpy loud characters makes Rani an exciting character. Even in the sad bits, she transforms into that character very comfortably and maintains that mysterious undercurrent to the character. My favorite here was Vikrant Massey. Rishu is this underconfident character who, in one scene, is literally thrown like a pillow by Harshvardhan Rane’s Neel. But the writing offers a wide playing arena for Rishu as the relationship between him and Rani escalates to interesting levels. The swiftness in writing which causes some troubles in the enjoyment level gets a cover-up through Massey’s terrific performance. Harshvardhan Rane is there merely to be that eye candy seducing hunk. Aditya Srivastava as the inspector and Yamini Das as the mother-in-law offer some genuine moments of laughter.
As I said, this is a concept that excites a filmmaker as there is a challenge in it. But Vinil loses the grip by the time Haseen Dillruba gets into that post-interval phase where everything is clumsy. To be honest, it was difficult to understand whether the script was going after the grey shades of the characters or being ridiculously crazy. In her quest to find an unpredictable plot twist, Kanika Dhillon opts for a twist that makes the whole movie look filmy, leaving its crazy quotient completely. When you sort of look back at the whole story, the mad decision at the end doesn’t get enough emotional juice to justify it. Amit Trivedi’s music caters to the mood perfectly, and the small town texture and the emotional turmoil were captured neatly by Jaya Krishna Gummadi.
Haseen Dillruba is a movie that couldn’t handle its wackiness after a point. In some ways, this is a movie that tries to interpret the “madly in love” phrase in a quirky way. While they succeeded in making the madness part convincing, the love track felt unbaked and confusing. Vinil Mathew’s Haseen Dillruba is interesting but not entirely convincing.
This murder mystery that started off very interestingly loses its crazy energy as it approaches the end, and what saves it is the conviction with which its lead pair performed.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended