Directed by Vinil Matthew and written by Kanika Dhillon, Haseen Dillruba starts off with a bang. Quite literally. This film begins with a lot of promise and all the right elements for a thrilling murder mystery. But as the story progresses, the high expectations set by the actors and the makers of the film are slowly left unrealised.
Taapsee Pannu plays Rani Kashyap, a 28-year-old woman obsessed with a crime novelist and suspected of murdering her husband, Rishabh (Vikrant Massey). Rani and Rishu meet on a traditional arranged marriage date which goes wrong for his mother but very right for Rishu. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the two settle down for their happily-ever-after in Jwalapur, a small town in northern India.
As Rani settles into her new home, the comic angle enters the story. The newly married couple struggle to get along, plagued by their own awkwardness around each other and a mother-in-law who feels cheated because her bahu can’t do any housework.
Within a month of their marriage, Rani and Rishu drift further apart and their fights become more serious. Things get even more complicated with Rani suspecting Rishu of cheating on her and the arrival of Rishu’s adventurous and sexually charged cousin, Neel (Harshvardhan Rane).
All of this is narrated in flashback as the police interviews Rani, their main murder suspect, and witnesses who speak of their tense marriage. But here’s one major flaw in the story. Instead of making evidence their main focus, the investigating officer, played by Aditya Srivastava of CID fame, is more interested in knowing the whole story of Rani and Rishu’s marriage. The investigation seems illogical and doesn’t really lead the audience astray to then shock them in the end.
Another major flaw in the film is its dark celebration of violence as a display of love. Without giving too many spoilers here, the story could have done without Rani silently tolerating Rishu’s literal murder attempts.
To its credit, the film moves fast which is unexpected with a running time of over two hours. The vibes of a dark romance evoke some curiosity which is instantly let down by its twisted romanticisation of violence in a relationship.
Halfway through, the film starts becoming a mess and keeps getting messier. Taapsee Pannu’s talent is wasted in her role which needed more than just being blunt as a personality. Vikrant Massey’s Rishu seems unfinished, and it looks as if the writers couldn’t spend too much time shaping his character fully. There was a lot of potential here with strong actors and a good story, but the execution has let them down.
Haseen Dillruba is streaming now on Netflix.
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