02 Jul 2021: 'Haseen Dillruba' review: The crime and mystery factor feels uninspiring
"The best crime novels are all based on people keeping secrets." Director Vinil Mathew and writer Kanika Dhillon try to paint their own crime novel in Haseen Dillruba. But a story that so heavily quotes Pandit Ji's books, the crime and mystery in the film feels uninspiring. Also, how crazy is the definition of limitless love? It sure seems stretched here. Here's our review.
Premise: The commentary on arranged marriage feels too surface level
The Netflix production is well over two hours long that stars Taapsee Pannu and Vikrant Massey. Although it has been pitched as a "romantic thriller" where Pannu's Rani is suspected of killing her docile husband Rishabh (Massey), the entire first half is about critiquing the concept of arranged marriage. While a necessary topic, Rani refusing to cook feels like spoon-feeding social commentary.
Plot: Rani is suspected of killing her husband
The story goes back and forth between Rani-Rishu's married life and Rani being suspected of murdering her husband. While the investigating officer (Aditya Srivastava) is sure it's her, Rani remains seemingly honest, revealing everything about her turbulent marital relation. Her strong rebuttal has even created a fanbase among the police officers. However, we know anything substantial about the murder only in the second half.
Comment: It is Massey's acting that elevates the second half
Already distanced because of their different expectations, Rani and Rishu are sent to the verge of breaking up with Neel's entry. In the second half, we see a changed Rishabh, and Massey's acting skills deserve special mention. His menacing eyes and body language drive the second half, by which point even Pannu's character seems to have lost its direction. Other characters are mostly one-dimensional.
Character: Rani feels like distant cousin of Rumi from 'Manmarziyaan'
Those who have watched Manmarziyaan will find Rani to be a distant cousin of Rumi, both played by Pannu, and written by Dhillon. She doesn't like her "homely" husband, but is attracted to the ripped brother-in-law Neel (Harshvardhan Rane). And her way of flirting is to cook for him, thereby choosing to be defined by her cooking skills, which she so valiantly refused earlier.
Fact: Exploring Rani's sensuality is commendable, film gets 3.5/5
Mathew had said Rani's sensuality was an "organic" aspect of her character and not a means to titillate the audience. He sure stays true to this. Female characters embracing their sensuality must be celebrated. Definitely deserves to be watched once, Haseen Dillruba gets 3.5/5 stars.
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