Starring: Taapsee Pannu, Vikrant Massey, Harshvardhan Rane, Aditya Srivastava, Ashish Verma, Yamini Das, Daya Shankar Pandey
Director: Vinil Mathew
Romance and revenge going hand in hand isn’t an unfamiliar theme. ‘Haseen Dillruba’, streaming on Netflix, is a mad mix of blotted characters coming together to put up a decent watch.
The sassy Rani Kashyap (Pannu) is an uptown girl locked in an arranged marriage with the nerdy Rishu Saxena (Massey). Even after multiple attempts at sparking their relationship, their very distinct personas seem to repel them from one another to a point where it gets increasingly awkward.
Rani’s outgoing nature is a misfit to the Saxena household. The typical Indian saas bahu drama lightens the uncomfortable energy when Rishu’s mum (Das) passes brash comments about his wife as she refuses to participate in the domestic chores.
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The void in the life of this housewife is filled when the tanned and chiselled Neel (Rane) enters the scene. Neel is everything Rani has wanted in her man – tall, seductive, flirtatious – hitting it off with her at first sight. The small town along the banks of the river Ganges, Jwalapur is now witness to an extramarital affair and soon a brutal murder.
Cutting between the past and the present, Rishu was no longer the good ole chap as seen at the beginning of the film. The story takes an eerie turn when vengeance and hate have been a gateway for his sinister transition. This got me wondering if this was the real Rishu or was he just impersonating one of the characters from Rani’s much-loved thriller novels to bridge the relationship drift. Writer Kanika Dhillon gradually unfolds the mystery with Rani, accused of the murder of her husband, making endless visits to the police station to express either her innocence or her guilt.
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This isn’t the first time that we have seen Taapsee in a thriller and her portrayal of the quirky Rani was once again well etched. Her spot-on expressions, constant smirks, can get you either closer or farther away from guessing who the murderer is.
Vikrant’s performance of the very flawed Rishu is a sight to watch as it will leave you baffled about your own emotions toward his character: empathy or loathe? Besides the minor faux, the obscurity and unpredictability of this film has the potential to keep you rather hooked to the screen.
* iGlobal Review Series