While watching Apoorva Lakhia’s Haseena Parkar, you find it difficult to decide whether the bigger flaw in the film is the unconvincing narrative or Shraddha Kapoor’s faulty casting. But, by the time this loud underworld saga ends, you realize that the biggest problem with the film is something else.
The film tells the story of Haseena Parkar (Kapoor), sister of most wanted gangster and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. Parkar was one of 12 siblings born to police constable Ibrahim Kaskar and his wife. Dawood (Siddhanth Kapoor) takes to crime and becomes a feared gangster, but he flees the country to escape a police crackdown leaving his beloved sister behind.
Life continues to be tough for Parkar as her husband gets killed for no fault of his. With time, however, she becomes ‘Haseena aapa’, a dreaded mafia queen. Her rise in the underworld is easy as she is Dawood’s sister. But there comes a point when she has to justify every act of hers in court.
The idea of getting someone to court and presenting her life story as part of the case is creative. The way the protagonist arrives in court with a dozen other burkha-clad women (all in different taxis) is also creative, though it is fictional dramatization. Unfortunately, these don’t help the cause of the film as the flashback portion, which is the majority of the film, lacks appeal.
Haseena Parkar’s life story has nothing to move or entertain you. The narrative is full of events that you have witnessed innumerable times in gangster films. For example, the rise of a gangster peppered with age-old shootouts. Though there is some novelty in the story being told from the point of view of the gangster’s sister, the unconvincing twists, uninteresting dialogues and Kapoor’s miscasting prevent any sort of interest emerging.
The second half also glorifies Haseena aapa by smartly not giving much footage to her bad side. Even Dawood Ibrahim isn’t shown as that menacing. Plus, the director relies overmuch on the cliched technique of using unnecessarily loud sounds when nothing exciting is happening, to create the impression that a lot is. The camerawork is fine except for the forced use of bird’s eye view shots.
Coming to Kapoor, we wonder how the makers were convinced she could pull this role off. She gives forceful, over-the-top expressions when she plays the young Haseena. Her act in the honeymoon song deserves special mention. But as soon as she ages, her expression becomes fixed and she starts speaking in a strange accent through a mouth filled with paan, which makes you laugh after a point.
Siddhant Kapoor is way better. But even he becomes a victim of unintentional hilarity later on. Ankur Bhatia as Haseena’s husband Ismail Parkar is the best of the lot, but he gets limited screen time.
But the two lawyers and the judge take the cake. The lawyers outshout each other, even if it means bringing up irrelevant topics. The judge behaves as if he is a reality show judge. What else to say when he, with a generous smile, tells one lawyer, “She has given you a tough fight!” Well, at least this film gives you many laughs, even if unintentionally.
In the end, you realize that the film’s biggest flaw lay in the very decision to make it. Seriously, what was the need to tell this story?
– By Keyur Seta