Released on Netflix 2nd July 2021
Vinil Mathew’s Haseen Dilruba starts off as an investigation thriller but as the story progresses it turns out to be more than that. Vinil Mathews last film was the romantic comedy Hasse Toh Phasse. This one is a dramatic shift in terms of many things but fortunetly he pulls it off for most part.
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Tapsee Pannu plays a middle class girl from Delhi( Rani Kashyap). She has done a beautician course and has certain qualities in mind that she wants in her life partner. Vikrant Massey plays Rishabh Saxena from Jwalapur, he’s an electrical engineer with a government job. His only hobby is repairing electronic items whenever he gets an opportunity. Rishabh is a far cry from the husband that Rani wants but she still ends up in an arranged marriage with him. However the marriage soon starts falling apart. One reason for that is the sexual incompatibility and other reason being the timid nature of Rishabh.
At this point you have the arrival of Neel played by Harshvardhan Rane. Neel is someone who is into adventure sports and it doesn’t take long for Rani to get attracted to Neel. Both of them have a secret relationship and that includes physical too. Things take a huge turn when Rishabh is supposedly dead in a gas explosion and Neel has disappeared. Rani is considered to be the prime suspect for the alleged murder of her husband.
The biggest reason why Haseen Dilruba works is due to the way Vinil Mathew portrays the various stages of Rani and Rishabh’s marriage. It swings between Intense disklike and intense love for most part.
Intially Rishabh comes across as a henpecked one but there is a sudden shift in the character when Rani reveals about her having an affair with Neel. The darker tone has been portrayed with subtlety and it never goes over the top. You only have a subtle gesture in terms of the facial features that suggest what is going through Risabh’s mind. Vikrant is good as the timid husband but he is even better when the tonality changes.
The passion that the characters share comes out very palpably and we firmly root for the couple.
The film also looks at how time and circumstances shape our actions and behaviour. There are no heroes and villains here as each character comes out with its own set of flaws. We are ultimately shown how we do crazy things for each other and to each other just because at that time we feel this is the right thing to do.
The film also talks about how men get uncomfortable when women openly choose to express their sexual drive. There are scenes in the beginning of the marriage when Rani drops her pallu to excite Rishabh but Rishabh feels very uncomfortable.
Like most films of this genre Vinil Mathew employs the technique of going back and forth. The thriller aspect has also been done well since you are constantly guessing about what actually happened.
The thriller format isn’t something new for Tapsee but she still delivers a wonderful performance. She is someone who knows that she has flaws and has a hard time accepting them. However at the same time she has the ability to change as well. Tapsee pulls off all these shades well. Harshvardhan Rane leaves an impact in his small role. He fits the part of the handsome hunk and you can easily understand why Rani falls for Neel.
The only things which stick out are parts of Tapsee’s family. They simply dissapear when the story takes a dark turn and you are not given any proper explanation.
Haseen Dilruba isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it is worth a watch for the plot and the performances.