Haseen Dillruba (transl. Beautiful Beloved) is a 2021 Indian Hindi-language romantic mystery thriller film directed by Vinil Mathew and produced by Aanand L. Rai, Himanshu Sharma, Bhushan Kumar and Krishan Kumar under the banner Colour Yellow Productions, T-Series and Eros International. The film stars Taapsee Pannu, Vikrant Massey and Harshvardhan Rane.
The film premiered on 2 July 2021 on Netflix. The film draws inspiration from Roald Dahl’s infamous short story, Lamb to the Slaughter. Upon release, Haseen Dilruba received mixed reviews from the film critics.
Rani, a housewife, is outside her home, feeding dogs, when her house suddenly explodes, presumably killing her husband, Rishab “Rishu” Saxena. The police find a body charred-beyond-recognition, with a severed hand which Rani identifies as Rishu’s. The movie alternates between the past (narrated in flashback) and the present; the reality of the explosion is interwoven with the police investigation going on in the present-day.
A flashback reveals the arranged marriage between the two, where he fell for her instantly, while she married him only because her boyfriend had abandoned her. There remain tensions and awkwardness between her, Rishu and his family after the marriage. To add to the tense atmosphere, a nervous Rishu fails to consummate. The next day, he overhears her telling her parents about his failure to have sex. Hurt, he stops acknowledging her completely and their relation dwindles. His well-built and charming cousin Neel Tripathi comes over to visit, and Rani gets attracted to him. They subsequently begin a relationship and have sex. Rani falls in love and even learns how to cook mutton, despite being a vegetarian. Some time later, she tells him that she would like to marry him instead. A commitment-phobic Neel panics and runs away. Hurt, Rani blurts out the truth to Rishu. He develops a disliking for her but still protects her from others who chastise her actions.
Meanwhile, in present-day, the police, aware of the history between Rani and Rishu, is convinced that she and Neel planned and killed Rishu. They use polygraphs and various other methodologies to find out her motive. They find footage where Neel can be seen escaping from the house, moments before the explosion. They also catch Rani cheating on one of the polygraphs by manipulating her blood pressure.
Back in the past, after Rani tells Rishu the truth, he transforms into a sadist and deliberately causes physical harm to her multiple times. Having fallen in love with him, she bears it all, as repentance. Over time, they reconcile and become intimate.
Narrating the events of the day-of-explosion, she tells the police that Neel came over to visit and got into an argument with them. Rishu, subsequently, wanting to settle things with him, asked Rani to wait outside. The explosion occurred soon after. The police, know that she is lying, but fail to find any evidence or misdoing in her polygraph. Rani is subsequently acquitted and leaves the police station smirking.
It is revealed that when Neel came over, he tried to blackmail them using Rani’s sex tapes. Angered by this, Rishu attacked him, and, in the ensuing fight, Rani hit Neel over the head with a mutton leg, killing him. Not wanting to be jailed, they dress the crime-scene with Rishu cutting off his own hand and placing it next to Neel’s body. They rig the gas stove to blow up and Rishu leaves through the backdoor, dressed as Neel. Rani goes out and gets the mutton leg chopped, which she later feeds to the dogs. The explosion occurs and covers up their evidence of murder.
Five years later, the police inspector, while leaving town buys a copy of a murder-thriller book that Rani had talked about multiple times in her statement. Reading the book, he realises the real story but can no longer do anything about it. The ending shows the couple reuniting, Rishu without an arm.
Taapsee Pannu as Rani Kashyap Saxena
Vikrant Massey as Rishabh “Rishu” Saxena
Harshvardhan Rane as Neel Tripathi
Aditya Srivastava as Inspector Kishore Rawat
Ashish Verma as Afzar
Yamini Das as Lata
Daya Shankar Pandey as Brijraj Saxena
Alka Kaushal as Mrs. Kashyap
Amit Singh Thakur as Mr. Kashyap
Puja Sarup as Beena Masi
Atul Tiwari as Senior Inspector
Deepesh Jagdish as Navrangi
Aashiq Hussein as Rastogi
Alok Chatterjee as Gandhi
Preeti Singh as Bindiya
Shyaam Kishore as Misra