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Masala Reviews: Haseen Dillruba

by Aiden

A delectably dark love story with a thrilling twist!

By Pooja Shah

When it comes to dark and twisted thrillers, Taapsee Pannu has been the go-to actress, constantly amazing us with her remarkable acting skills. Having won our hearts in Badla (2019), Pink (2016) and Thappad (2020), there was no uncertainty that Taapsee was going to be similarly outstanding in her role in Haseen Dillruba, which was released on July 2nd on Netflix and also stars Vikrant Hassey and Harshvardhan Rane. We reviewed her latest thriller below. 

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

The saga follows Rani Kashyap (Pannu) and Rishabh ‘Rishu’ Saxena (Massey), who battle awkwardness as they enter an arranged marriage and try to build a successful connection. The tragic plot twist is that Rishu is murdered in a dramatic explosion after they are married, and the story transitions between the present, where the police are interrogating Rani, the prime suspect behind Rishu’s murder; to the past, where the ups and downs of the couple’s marriage are revealed. Through the flashbacks, Rani as the narrator shares her and Rishu’s relationship: the awkwardness, hardships, underlying love, and their eventual change of heart. 

Set in a traditional middle-class Indian society, with a patriarchal household and arranged marriages, the movie explores modern societal concepts, from extramarital affairs and toxic relationships, to unsuccessful arranged marriages. The opening scenes of shy and inexperienced Rishu are hilarious, with some R-rated humour by supporting actors. Rishu is played as a humble, nerdy engineer opposite Rani’s fierce, rebellious, and bold character, and their marriage fails initially. This incompatibility leads Rani to an affair with Rishu’s cousin, Neel Tripathi (Rane). After Rishu discovers the affair, Rani’s and Rishu’s relationship deteriorates. Throughout this film, you see how Rani’s and Rishu’s relationship shifts from awkward, to problematic, to obsessive.

Meanwhile, in the present, discovering the culprit behind Rishu’s murder is getting more and more confusing, with the truth being blurred further with each revelation. The climax, in the last 15 minutes of the movie, features a showdown that you may have seen coming, but will still take you by surprise. The plot is so well crafted, with excellent background music, and like a true Bollywood movie, there is plenty of drama, plot twists, sarcastic humour, and thrills that grasp your attention till the very end.  

As great as the movie is, the ultimate praise goes to the performance of each of the actors. They bring out their respective characters exceptionally, justifying the A+ casting choices. Taapsee often takes on strong feminine roles that battle societal expectations of women, and Rani is no exception, showcasing a phenomenal character who is bold, unlike what people expect of Indian daughters-in-law. Contrastingly, Vikrant’s character Rishu is depicted as a shy homely character, although there are some amusing moments when he is attempting to fight his nervousness. Vikrant was exemplary in his role and outdid his transition from a gentle loverboy to a maniac. Supporting the main couple, Harshvardhan’s entry as Neel is just as fitting, adding more ‘masala’ to the story by creating a love triangle. The movie doesn’t miss out on comedy either, as Rishu’s parents drop some sarcastic gems. The whole film consists of great elements, a storyline that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and phenomenal acting by each star. 

All in all, Haseen Dillruba (2021) is the complete Bollywood package, with romance, lust, comedy, a murder-mystery, and family drama. It is a must-watch during lockdown 3.0, especially if you are a crime thriller fan!

Rating: 4/5

Haseen Dillruba can now be streamed on Netflix.

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