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Vikrant Massey, Taapsee Pannu, and Harshvardhan Rane discuss why it’s impossible to choose sides in Haseen Dillruba’s brutal love storey.

Hassen Dillruba, directed by Vinil Mathew and written by Kanika Dhillon, begins with Vikrant Massey’s Rishu out on the road, on his way to see an arranged marriage prospect. Rishu is drawn as an ordinary, ‘homely’ person, with a tucked-in shirt, slicked oiled hair, eyeglasses, and somewhat lower shoulders. His meeting with Rani (Taapsee Pannu) and subsequent marriage, on the other hand, is anything but conventional.

Rishu initially fails to win his wife’s heart due to performance anxiety and feeling overpowered by Rani’s fiery temperament. When Rishu is killed in a blast, Rani, who had fallen in love with Rishu’s cousin Neel (Harshvardhan Rane), is elevated to the position of prime murder suspect. But there’s more to the storey than meets the eye, as we learn that each character has flaws and is covered in shades of grey.

In an interview with Firstpost, Pannu states that in this film, one cannot take sides. “We never claimed that the picture is full of idealistic people; each one is imperfect. All of these characters profit from each other’s flaws, and one frequently excites the other to show off their flaws.”

Pannu, who previously worked on Dhillon’s Manmarziyaan, is once again caught up in a love triangle, but this time the circumstances are vastly different. Haseen Dillruba is a sloppy person. Lust, love, murder, poetry, thrills, and a blame game are all present. Pannu claims that getting into the skin of Rani was difficult because she thought she was closer to Rumi’s (her character in Manmarziyaan) personality. “It was far out of my comfort zone.”

I don’t exploit my character’s sensuality or sexuality for personal benefit. I’m not sure how, but Rani does, and with such plumpness.

This was a struggle because I haven’t uncovered that side of me, never seen it in real life, forget about onscreen. So everytime you take this kind of risk, where you are clueless about this part of yours, you discover something new and maybe something fresh comes out of it in comparison to individuals who are recognised for their sensuousness, and would have done it in a different way. It would also have been easier for the audience to predict it, but I’ve never done it before, so I’m confident it will be a new perspective for my viewers,” the actor says.

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The use of flaw as a character trait is skilfully threaded throughout the film. Rishu, who we first meet as a loving husband, undergoes a major turnaround after learning of his wife’s infidelity. He ignores her apologies, picks on her, and even attempts to kill her to some extent. For an outsider, it can be disconcerting, but Massey believes that humans have certain patterns that they are unlikely to recognise on their own, let alone how others or even their loved ones perceive them.

“If I had to sum up human potential in a nutshell, I believe we are the most unpredictable machinery on the planet,” he says. We have no idea what brings out the best in us. Rishu had a different outlook on life in this situation, yet the circumstances were so difficult that he experienced a range of emotions. That’s perhaps why he began to see the world in a different light than he had before. I believe that some situations and events in our lives tend to change who we are, and the degree of change varies from incident to incident. However, as living organisms, we cannot afford to remain unaffected or unchanging. Rishu is on a mission, and he has some goals in mind.While some may agree with them, others may not. However, I believe that this is the allure of human connections. “Aapke Rishu ke saath kaise rishte the?” Pannu’s Rani is asked. “Kuchh acche, kuchh bure,” she responds twice. That, I believe, is how life is.”

Rane as Neel is pleasant and athletic, yet his bad behaviour toward Rani cannot be overlooked. Rane confesses he had some reservations about taking on the part, but he was willing to put his faith in his director to help him shine.

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“When you’re lost and clueless as an actor, it’s the director who puts you in the appropriate frame of mind, and that’s exactly what Vinil sir did. With the range of work he’s done, even in the advertising world, it’s simple to see how well he understands human emotions. And he’s the last person you’d expect to treat something superficially. As an actor, I had to rely on that type of faith. And, happily, he showed me the correct side of the road. And, as you correctly pointed out, all three characters have grey sides because that was the film’s premise, and one cannot argue with that. So I had to play the part, and I’m thrilled that this project gave me the opportunity to practise the actor-director relationship.”

While the film appears to be a murder mystery, it contains other subplots, including a bizarre love storey. However, Massey promises that it is not aiming to convey any kind of message and is simply a show.

“Not every film contains a message in and of itself. We must first recognise that this is an entertainment industry, and while it has recently been expected of movies to play the function of a PSA, this is not the case. Haseen Dillruba is a love storey, and we’ve been romanticising love for generations, whether it’s Romeo-Juliet or Heer-Ranjha. So, when it comes to seeing something onscreen, especially cinema with a variety of genres and subplots, I believe we need to separate our moral sensibilities.

When I bring up Rishu’s atrocities in the second half of the movie, Pannu quickly points out that she agrees they were wrong, but that doesn’t make Rani’s flaws go away. “We can’t overlook Rani’s wrongdoings while she was in a relationship with Rishu. As a result, we can’t conclude that one is oppressed by the other because both Rishu and Rani are wrong in this scenario.”

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Hassen Dillruba, Mathew believes, will bring a new perspective to the love storey genre. He previously directed the scintillating romantic drama Hasee Toh Phasee. “I’m glad I took on the task of making this film, which is so different from the others.” Repeating the genre would be tedious. I’ve also been enthralled and intrigued by stories with complex human relationship dynamics. I believe it will also come as a pleasant surprise to the audience who have come to expect Hasee Toh Phasee and instead get something completely different. You don’t want to hear the same thing over and over again. We didn’t want to be pigeonholed into one particular genre, and that’s what we did with this one.”

Hassen Dillruba is available to watch on Netflix India.

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