Shraddha Kapoor’s prosthetics and poker face are the only convincing thing in Haseena Parkar

The Cinema Station’s Rating: Sleeper Chaircar journey (1.5/5)

Starring: Shraddha Kapoor, Siddhanth Kapoor, Sunil Upadhyay, Ankur Bhatia

Director: Apoorva Lakhia

The gangster genre has been the in thing for quite some time with Bollywood. With Arun Gawli’s biopic, Daddy hitting theatres earlier this month, Bollywood’s underworld characters have been quite in the limelight. While Daddy was a one-man show driven by Arjun Rampal, Shraddha Kapoor’s Haseena Parkar, even fails to cash on its protagonist, leave alone the story and supporting cast.

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Being in the buzz for quite some time, there is no question regarding the expectations from the gangster biopic. Apoorva Lakhia, takes you through this journey in a flashback mode which continues in the backdrop of a raw, meatless and deprived of taste court case. The journey across the underworld of Mumbai begins with a subtle yet power packed entry of Shraddha as Haseena, but the courtroom dramatics take no time to shift focus to their abysmal arguments and saltless screenplay. Every scene seems meaninglessly added as continuous flashbacks marr the momentum of the film which was pretty much going nowhere.

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To add to the soaring displeasure, Haseena Parkar’s marriage and love life are also equally tasteless and added just for the sake of it. The first half of Haseena Parkar shuffles around its characters way too much and its quite evident that they are unable to cope with the pressure, hence bringing the film down to a terrible low at the halfway mark. I would take a moment to figure how does Apoorva Lakhia come down from Shootout at Lokhandwala to something like this.

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After a punishing first half and with quite a lot already going to dust with this journey, the film suddenly starts focusing on moments and events rather than its characters in the second half. I would not say that the shift guides the film to success but definitely helped me sit through the rest of the film. Lakhia, sheds light upon the killings of Sabbir Kaskar, the Pathan’s, Haseena’s husband, Babri Masjid demolition, Mumbai riots and 93 blasts that at least guide the film to a sensible end. The film does well in aligning the events that shaped Haseena and the Mumbai underworld but once again miserably falters in depicting them on the celluloid. There were scenes of the truce of the Kaskar brothers with the Pathan’s and the killing of Sabbir Kaskar that could have been done with much more style, intent and perfection.

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Music of the film is pretty much like the script and screenplay, a no-show; the film could have done without it. Acting skills are again a debatable state of affairs. Just like their characters, Shraddha and Siddhanth step up their level while playing the later days of their real-life characters, while their younger versions are naive and spineless. The courtroom drama lacks everything you need in one as even the momentary comedy seems apologetic.

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The journey finally ends with an impacting speech from Shraddha Kapoor but it comes after the battle is completely lost. Haseena Parkar is the perfect example of purposeless cinema that only aims at making the celluloid look glossy. To sum it up, apart from the prosthetics of the characters and the scene setting, Haseena Parkar has nothing much to offer to anyone.

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