Haseena review

Shraddha Kapoor and Ankur Bhatia are seen in a still from their film, “Haseena Parkar,” which released Sept. 21. (photo provided)

The film starts in 2007, when Haseena Parkar was facing charges of extortion and more as Dawood Ibrahim’s sister. She arrives in court anonymously in a taxi, along with similar burqa-clad women, and finally reveals herself on the judge’s request.

From here, the film goes on a flashback mode as Haseena (Shraddha Kapoor) narrates her life story to the cynical prosecuting attorney (Priyanka Setia, brilliant). The ‘sob’ story involves her family of 12 siblings, including Dawood (Siddhant Kapoor) and another brother prone to crime, which is hated by their constable father, who is honest.

The film shows the love and affection between the two siblings that intensifies when they are left alone (How? What happens to their parents? The film shirks details on this) and he even begins to call her “beta” (child). By this time, Dawood, India’s most wanted, is already in Dubai, and operates from there.

After the bomb blasts of 1993, when Haseena is mercilessly quizzed by the cops about her brother, she decides to be tough, and soon gets the opportunity to be the guardian angel of so many needy people or those facing injustice. She becomes known as the beloved ‘Aapa’ (elder sister) and soon finds herself on the wrong side of the law. She is exonerated in 2007 in a lower court, but the case goes on until her real-life death in 2010 (this is not shown in the film).

The story is narrated in flashback fragments, not always sufficiently detailed, but the whole onus seems to be on glorifying the woman who could see her brother do no wrong (she seriously believes and tells the cops during the bomb blasts interrogation that Mumbai is Dawood’s first love) purely because of her emotional bond with him.

The glorification begins to grate very soon and the film ends up also pointless as a story, and actually concludes with a series of their family photographs during the end-credits! Will the audience be sympathetic to them and this movie? So far, all biopics of negative characters have been rejected.

The only angle worthy of identification here is how a simple, uneducated woman is at all points at the mercy of the kind of parents, family, brother and siblings she has, none of whom, as she points out, have been out of her choice. If this was a fictional tale (like the 1975 “Deewaar”) we could have identified with her angst, her psychological dependence on her errant brother, due to whom, indirectly, she even loses her hardworking husband (Ankur Bhatia) and later her son. But as things stand, this film joins the negatively elite list of films nowadays glorifying all the wrong ‘uns.’

Also, a glaring flaw is when we see “Shudddh Shakahari” (Pure vegetarian) written on her husband’s restaurant’s front glass, which is one of the mysteries here as the man is also from a Muslim community and operates in a Muslim-dominated area as well, with nothing to suggest that he is a vegetarian! The film has some (unintentionally) laughable scenes and lines in court, with the judge being too tame, and the defense attorney (Rajesh Tailang) coming across as a cartoonish caricature.

While the technical side is alright, Sachin-Jigar fail as composers and the background music (Amar Mohile) is again a textbook on how not to score that vital department. Shraddha Kapoor is herself as the young Haseena, but adopts a certain measured style and swollen cheeks as she turns into “Aapa.” Generally speaking, she is good. Siddhant is effective only in parts. Ankur Bhatia as Haseena’s husband is effective. The rest of the supporting cast fit the bill.

Rating: **

Swiss Entertainment presents "Haseena Parkar."

Produced by: Nahid Khan

Directed by: Apoorva Lakhia

Written by: Suresh Nair & Chinatn Gandhi

Music: Sachin-Jigar

Starring: Shraddha Kapoor, Siddhant Kapoor, Ankur Bhatia, Priyanka Setia, Rajesh Tailang & others

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