‘Haseen Dillruba’ started streaming on Netflix in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil on Friday noon. Here is our review of the crime thriller.
Rani (Taapsee Pannu) is a beautician who gets married to Rishabh Saxena (Vikrant Massey) in an arranged marriage. A Hindi literature grad, she loves reading novels and her biggest problem post marriage is that she doesn’t find her husband interesting. When her husband’s cousin Neel Tripathi (Harshvardhan Rane) stays at their home as a guest, Rani falls in love with him. Days later, the local police begin their investigation into the murder of Rishab. The cops suspect that Rani and her lover have colluded to kill Rishab. What is the truth? The answer to the question is unravelled in the last 30 minutes of the film.
Taapsee Pannu, after playing a negative role in the Telugu film ‘Neevevaro’, behaves as though she is a negative character in ‘Haseen Dillruba’. How villainous is she? That’s something you will have to discover by yourself. The ‘Anando Brahma’ actress brings a certain intrigue to her character.
As Rishabh, Vikrant Massey is able. His performance in the second half of the suspenseful story deserves applause. Harshvardhan Rane, who has played under-written roles in Telugu movies, is good in the role of a rafter who likes to be adventurous.
Aditya Srivastava as Inspector Kishore Rawat is too straightforward. Yamini Das as the irritated mother-in-law and Daya Shankar Pandey as the coy father-in-law are good. Ashish Verma as the husband’s friend is okay.
Amit Trivedi’s music is used well in the suspenseful segments. The BGM comes to the fore in the final act. The songs are worth a listen for being situational. Jaya Krishna Gummadi’s cinematography is passable.
The perplexing thing about ‘Haseen Dillruba’ is that it sets up its lead characters in a mildly exciting or overtly questionable manner. Taapsee Pannu’s Rani pines for a husband who has got a strong sense of humour and who is dashing. She expects a few other traits, too. In her thinking, Rani reflects the expectations of a lot of young women from their husbands. She gets into a traditional household. Rani doesn’t like to live in the small-town Jwalapur. Interestingly, her lover promises a life in Delhi. All this is quite a well-written stretch.
The problem lies somewhere else. Director Vinil Mathew resorts to cliches by showing the husband’s character in a deliberately contrived manner. He looks bumbling and too good to have sex with his wife. And, later on, he suddenly turns distinctly aggressive.
A lot of crime thrillers feel forced because of the artificial characterizations they inhabit. ‘Haseen Dillruba’ doesn’t play smart with the Inspector’s character either. He looks impatient and makes his presumptions way too obvious.
The unfolding of the suspense in the second half is underwhelming. But that is a lesser problem. What is stunningly bad is how the equations between the husband and his wife shift within a span of few days in an unrealistic fashion. They ooze darkness and love conveniently, without looking weathered or making it clear to us that they have been through a lot of grinding.
As a result, the climax doesn’t quite work.
If you are a fan of crime thrillers, watch this Bollywood offering that is available in Telugu as well. Don’t expect a roller-coaster ride, though!