Haseena Parkar movie review: Not Shraddha, Siddhanth is the real takeaway from this partly effective biopic

Directed By: Apoorva Lakhia
Produced By: Nahid Khan
Cast: Shraddha Kapoor, Siddhanth Kapoor
Duration: 2 hours 12 minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 2.5/5

‘Doctor ka beta doctor banta hai. Gangster ka beta gangster. Aap ne aur aap ke bhai ne apne bete ke liye misaal hi kya rakhi thi? Aakhir option kya tha uske paas?’… the opposition’s lawyer interrogates Haseena in the courtroom. Haseena Parkar. A daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother. But after all, Dawood Ibrahim’s sister. A felony. A godsend. An identity, inescapable.

Why I chose to begin with that particular dialogue is because the underlying connotation behind those words is what commands ‘Haseena Parkar’ throughout; however, effective at parts, abortive at parts.

Apoorva Lakhia’s latest outing efforts to trace Haseena’s journey from being a middle-class family’s protected daughter to Mumbai’s only Aapa among many bhais. Haseena (Shraddha Kapoor) who was introduced to her brother’s (Siddhanth Kapoor) illegitimate deeds at a young age, initially reacted with dread. But she is trapped in love throughout. As Dawood (mind you, the name isn’t mentioned even once in the film) becomes the country’s most wanted gangster from being another local goon, Haseena too keeps paying for an identity she didn’t choose. In the meantime, she has had her share of slices from life. She gets married to Ibrahim (Ankur Bhatia) and begins to dip into the bliss called love, only to be widowed after a few years. The crisis strikes real when being an apparent criminal’s sister takes away people she dearly loved – her husband, and a brother.

Served with a well-written screenplay by Suresh Nair that pretty much conveys Haseena’s secret sufferings, Shraddha’s character is the intriguing part about this film. Beyond a woman who arguably aided hundreds of women, you discover the sister whose belief on her brother was hardly shaken, till the time she breathed her last. What disappoints is Shraddha herself. She delivers her best  and hasn’t been seen this full of efforts in any of her previous films. But the roughness of a woman who has once endured the most difficult phases, doesn’t show up. Shraddha, before she becomes Haseena aapa, is rather more expressive. Once naive to romantic affection, we like how she rises to another chapter of life. But inside the gloomy courtroom, as she essays Haseena in her 50s, Shraddha along with her prosthetics and fabricated dialogue delivery, is a turn-off.

It is rather Siddhanth who can be well called a discovery. With a lesser share of screen time, he manages to pull off his character really, really well. He is this person, on a voyage to find escape from poverty and shortcomings. He becomes a gangster and probably has done things unjustified, but the fond brother deep down is alive. Siddhanth promises to be an actor with fine control of emotions. The next one who deserves a mention is Ankur Bhatia. In limited span, his hard work shows.

The melodramatic courtroom sequences are likely to find quite a few takers. While Priyanka Setia as the prosecution’s lawyer is a fine actress, her game here goes over the top. Not sure it was a deliberate choice from Lakhia’s end in order to tone up the sequence’s seriousness. It doesn’t turn out very well.

A collection of flashbacks and present-day sequences, ‘Haseena Parkar’ tries to be a narration of different times. It partly succeeds. Further, it is far away from being objective when it comes to character treatments. It is a rather sympathetic take on Dawood Ibrahim, his dynasty that he achieved by hook or by crook, and the legacy that he (even though reluctantly) left behind with his sister.

Ornamented by situational background music by Sachin-Jigar and neat cinematography by Fasahat Khan, the film spares you any boredom. To our delight, it is neither dragged, nor falls out of its pace. However, Haseena’s crisis doesn’t stir up. Neither does it stay with you for long. That way, the film might boast of a story worth sharing, stays way behind what it could stand up to.