Movie Review: ‘Haseen Dillruba’ (Netflix)

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The Netflix drama ‘Haseen Dillruba’ (2021) is a crime thriller that will quite literally have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The opening scene shows a severed hand following an explosion. Rani Kashyap (Taapsee Pannu) finds herself being under investigation as a suspect for her husband’s murder which she denies, so what is the truth?  The basis of this story revolves around city girl, Rani – who loves her crime novels by Dinesh Pandit – and Rishabh (Rishu) Saxena (Vikrant Massey), an engineer who is a simple guy from a small town.

The pair have an arranged marriage and it soon becomes evident to Rani that there is a spark missing in their relationship. She feels dissatisfied with the whole set-up and even tries to get advice from her mum and aunt how to encourage her own husband to romance her. Whereas Rishu is completely besotted with Rani, his only holdback is he’s unable to overcome his shyness around her and finds it difficult to be the type of husband Rani would like or he would like to be. Then comes the twist in the form of Rishu’s cousin, Neel Tripathi (Harshvardhan Rane) who is the complete opposite – confident, cool, heroic almost – and when Rani claps her eyes on him, she is automatically drawn to his macho ruggedness and notices there’s some attraction between them. The story develops on from here and takes an interesting turn for all characters.

‘Haseen Dilluruba’ has been very well written by Kanika Dhillon. The story unfolds is as if it’s being narrated straight from a crime-fiction novel. The storyline manages to keep its pace which is highly commendable. Although dark with plenty of twists and turns, it has a good blend of humour, love, romance, betrayal, suspense and emotion.

In terms of performances, everyone deserves a round of applause. Pannu takes the lead and showcases her complex character confidently be it as a crime suspect, wife or lover. Rane, plays the antagonist and stands out on his own merits and as for Massey, well, he was exceptional with the range of shades he was playing. As his character Rishu changes it was hard at times to know whether to love him or loathe him for what he was/had become.

Other notable performances were from Rishu’s parents – Lata Saxena (Yamini Das) and Brijraj (Daya Shankar Pandey) – who were both brilliant with their comical timing. Police Inspector, Kishore Rawat (Aditya Srivastava) essayed his role really well too along with his fellow colleagues at the police station. And last but not least Rishu’s best friend, Afzar (Ashish Verma), another small part but an important one.

Only slight criticism would be that there were some questionable details in the film that didn’t really make sense, but if you don’t over-analyse it then all-in-all this is a great film to watch with an incredible cast.

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