Vikrant Massey’s new film Haseen Dillruba has opened to mixed reviews. In the film, the actor plays a bespectacled engineer with a nervous, wiry energy, Rishu, who transforms into a terrifyingly effective creepy man when his marriage to a feisty and opinionated woman runs into trouble with the entry of another man.
Directed by Vinil Mathew of Hasee Toh Phasee fame, Haseen Dillruba also stars Taapsee Pannu and Harshvardhan Rane. Written by Kanika Dhillon, the film sees Vikrant in a grey character, a role that he hasn’t gotten a chance to play in his nearly 17-year long career.
“It was fantastic being violent. It was fantastic being nasty because as an actor I have not got this opportunity yet. I have been working for nearly 17 years and it took so long for someone to recognise that I probably could play something that ventures into the grey area. I wanted to capitalise on the opportunity provided and that is what I did because it was fantastic being Kanika’s Rishu, to be directed by Vinil, to be Taapsee’s Rishu and get a chance to work with some of the finest, creative heads in our country," Vikrant told us.
Haseen Dillruba is not the typical romantic fairytale. Rather, it is a part of a growing trend in films and web series that focus on the moral ambiguity of the main characters and plots that blur the line between good and evil, unlike the more traditional, black-and-white protagonists. When Vikrant took on the role of Rishu he had to disengage with his own sense of what is wrong and right so as to not let his personal reaction influence the narrative.
“I tend to completely disassociate my own sense of morality, my ethics, the way I see the world. It’s very important, otherwise I will be boxing myself as an actor. I really can’t do that. I cannot judge the characters that I am supposed to play or the world that my character is supposed to belong to with the prism of my own eyes. I can’t do that and there are some films that you probably feel very, very strongly for. There are certain things that probably stay with you for a long time but here, it was not the case.
“I knew the world that we set out to create. Firstly, this is a world of fiction and secondly I would also not discount the possibility of the world having many Rishus around. There are different people who react in a different way. So yeah, to each his own. But me sort of probably equating my judgments or my morality with Rishu would be really unfair. That would be sort of stifling my own self. Like I said, it is a world of fiction, it is pulpy, it is definitely the reason it is called pulp fiction. It is an out and out entertainer; it’s a murder mystery; it’s a love story in a garb of a mystery. So the primary target there was to create an out and out entertainer and disassociate your sense of moralities with the things that you are doing."
Talking about the seemingly exhaustive climax of the film, Vikrant said, “It was very challenging to wake up every day to continue from where you left off last. It really sort of does pull the best between you but I think it’s all worth it by the end of it today when we are sitting back and listening to what most people have to say I think it’s really, really makes us happy."