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Vikrant Massey on Haseen Dillruba Morality Debate: Films are not Public Service Announcements

Vikrant Massey

Vikrant Massey

Vikrant Massey defends his character in Haseen Dillruba, which is streaming on Netflix, against criticism that the film glorifies toxic love.

Vikrant Massey received wide critical acclaim for his impeccable performance in Vinil Mathew’s recently released Haseen Dillruba. The actor, who plays the character of an inhibited and vulnerable husband in the first half, took the audience by surprise with an interesting twist in the second half the film.

At the same time, a section of the audience have pointed out that the film glorifies toxic love. Defending the film, the actor says, “The film is set in a fictional world. We don’t intend to glorify anything or justify the behaviour of any character in the film. If people don’t like something, that’s fair because you cannot please everyone."

There are questions raised on the moral ground on which the characters function. “People want to see a utopian world on-screen, but they need to understand that we don’t live in a utopian world. If we start monitoring these people with CCTV cameras, their hypocrisies will be exposed. We are all perpetual hypocrites. Everyone wants to hold the higher moral ground and intellectualise everything but don’t want to look within themselves,” he says.

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Shedding light on cinema being a subjective form of art, Massey states, “Films are expected to be flag bearers of morality, but the reality is that cinema or any form of art is a reflection of the society we live in. If you can’t identify with it, that doesn’t mean you are wrong.”

The actor explains that in a world of fictional stories, nobody is right or wrong. He further adds, “Films are not public service announcements. Not every film has a message. If you are looking for that, then people can watch it on government websites. If The Godfather would have released today, people would have lynched Al Pacino’s character. I don’t think we can make a film like Baazigar or Darr in today’s time.”

At the same time, Massey feels that the Indian audience has developed an appetite for flawed characters. “This is a fresh thing that you get to see in films. A lot of grey characters have struck a chord with our audience. And the reason behind that is that we all have many faces and operate on different levels on a daily basis. We are living in a society with some kind of a mask and that reflects in these characters as well. People have started to own up to reality a little bit more. This is why there is an element of realism in the stories we tell,” he signs off.

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first published:July 13, 2021, 16:53 IST