Done with the Gawli, Shobraj etc, Bollywood now finds inspiration from the godmother of Nagpada - HASEENA PARKAR aka Aapa in Apoorva Lakhia's latest film, starring Shraddha Kapoor.
Known for telling stories cashing on sensationalisms rather than substance, Apoorva Lakhia does another crime after the unpardonable remake of Amitabh Bachchan's ZANJEER in 2013. The only saving grace this time is that the protagonist lacks sympathy in any case as the movie is about the sister of the notorious most wanted and how allegedly she used her blood relation to run the business of extortion in Mumbai.
First thing first, the idea of glorifying real life gangsters can never be right and it's a clear cut example of how far some filmmakers can go in water downing an alleged criminal for mass consumption. HASEENA PARKAR is a classic case of a discombobulated effort that is unintentionally amusing in parts. Poor Shraddha Kapoor, her 'mouthful' efforts go wasted as the erstwhile cute and talented actress will find her role as 'Aapa' getting maligned by the unintentional 'siyapa' (mockery, gimmick,caricature) of a movie created by Apoorva Lakhia.
Here we have a judge smiling at will during the hearing of Haseena's case, as if he is watching a debate on TV. He even says, '' Hum log yaha case discuss kar rahe hai, koi novel nahi likh rahe' (rough translation - we are discussing a case here not writing novels). This is exactly the problem with this film; it doesn't know what it wants to be. Even after all the arguments over story of real life gangsters on screen, the premise of HASEENA PARKAR still evokes some interest as the lady don of Mumbai. It could have been made into a completely fictional account but Lakhia's desire to make a biopic and show intelligence when not required ruins the film. After the introduction of Haseena coming with a convoy of kali peeli taxis clad in burkha, nothing else manages to hold the audience.
The movie fails to answer the question that whether Haseena Parkar worked as her brother's aide in Mumbai and operated his business or not? The victim card is played to justify her action but the chances of such a character to gain sympathy of the audience is very minimal. There is no emotional connect with the audience and HASEENA PARKAR is just a surface scratcher.
The movie opens with Haseena Parkar (Shraddha Kapoor) being summoned to court as a case of extortion is registered against her. Soon the court becomes a spectator where the life of Haseena Parkar gets discussed by the prosecution and defense lawyer and the Judge watching it in all smiles. We see Haseena changing shades faster than a chameleon, she turns feisty from timid and cleaver from innocence in a snap. The writing is juvenile and fails miserably in adding any layers to the story.
Shraddha Kapoor gives a 'mouthful' performance but it will go in vain as the character Aapa is undoubtedly the weakest on screen Bollywood don. The prosthetic don't do any good and it looks like either she had filled her mouth with marbles or stuffed with chocolates or lollipop. So much liberty was taken, Shraddha could have easily chewed a pan and that would have been better. Even in such a film, Shraddha managed to get a scene in rain. Batao...
Bhrata shri urf brother Siddhanth Kapoor as Dawood Ibrahim is a misfit. Supporting performances by Ankur Bhatia, Priyanka Sethia and Rajesh Tailang are just plain routine and nothing else.
The craft is better with some deja vu feeling of the underbelly during the 80's is felt. Cinematography by Fasahat Khan is fine. While Steven H. Bernard's editing is just okay. Production values are good.
Concluding it with a line said by that unintentionally amusing judge to the prosecution and defense lawyers in the film, 'Mujhe tum dono ki baat ko sunne ke paise milte hai' (rough translation- 'I get paid to hear you both). Ha ha.. on the contrary you will have to pay to experience this disaster. The choice is yours.