What a RIDICULOUS movie! Which knew perfectly well it was ridiculous. If you can’t handle tension and twists and thrillers, read this review to just know the basics of what happened and talk about it with us. Or if you saw it and have Thoughts, you can read my summary and my thoughts and then we can talk!
Whole plot in two paragraphs:
We start with Taapsee returning home to an explosion, and finding her husband’s hand on the ground. And then we leap forward two months to find the police frustrated with an impossible investigation. Through a series of police interviews and flashbacks we get the rest of the story. 2 years ago, Vikrant was a sweet small town engineer who came to meet sexy pretty Taapsee for an engagement in Delhi. They both agree to the engagement, and slowly flirt over phone and email and stuff. Then they are married and she is disappointed by the house, and the first night kind of doesn’t happen. They keep failing at intimacy, plus Taapsee doesn’t even know how to cook and disappoints the family. While the marriage is in a terrible shape, Vikrant’s cool cousin Harshwardhan Rane comes to visit. He easily seduces Taapsee, she even learns to cook for him. And then he leaves without saying goodbye while she is dreaming of running away with him. Taapsee tells Vikrant the truth, he doesn’t blame her, but tells her she either has to go back to her home or he may kill her. She chooses to stay and Vikrant starts creating elaborate accidents that almost kill her many times while he watches. Until finally she tries to jump off a wall and he saves her and forgives her. They slowly get closer, than Harshwardhan reappears and disrespects Taapsee and Vikrant chases him for revenge. They don’t catch him, but it brings them together and Taapsee and Vikrant finally have sex. Just when everything is fine, Harshwardhan reappears. Everyone sees him enter the house while Taapsee is home alone, then Vikrant enter, then Taapsee leave, then Harsh sneak out the back, then the house explodes. The police are sure Taapsee did it but have no proof and have to let her go. 5 years later, the investigating officer picks up Taapsee’s favorite crime novel at a bookstall and reads it. In the novel, the killer escapes by cutting off his hand so everyone will think the body is his instead of the man he killed. And the police officer realizes that is what happened, Harsh died in a fight with Taapsee and Vikrant, the only way to escape justice was for Vikrant to cut off his hand and go on the run while Taapsee pretended the body was his. And then meet up once the investigation was over. Happy Ending, Taapsee and Vikrant walking hand in hand.
What makes this film so incredibly fun is that it always always ALWAYS zigs when you think it will zag. Bored beautiful sexy wife who can’t cook, of course she is going to be evil and destroy her husband. But no, wait a minute, she is having an affair and instead is unfulfilled in life and love and sympathetic and this is a tragic triangle. No wait, her lover is abandoning her, this is the classic “affair brings couple closer and she appreciates kind man” story. But then her husband tries to kill her MULTIPLE TIMES? And she is kind of into it??? So he’s not that nice either! And she doesn’t actually want a nice man. The final twist turns out to be the most expected. Which is why it is unexpected. By now, we think it will turn out she’s been in love with the lover all along, or the husband and lover set her up, or something like that. But instead, the husband and wife really did find true love together! In their sick sick SICK way!!!
It doesn’t just zig in the plot, it zigs in the atmosphere. This should be a super dark movie, or at least a darkly comic movie. And instead it feels more like a slice of life rom-com than anything? Sort of weirdly enjoyable in its darkness. And it gives the audience permission to find it enjoyable! One of the first scenes is the police officers sitting around talking about what a fun crime this is, no terrorism, no robbery, no mafia, the kind of crime you can enjoy talking about over chai.
Taapsee as the sexy difficult daughter-in-law who only knows how to do hair is FUNNY!!!! Vikrant hiding in the bathroom because he is afraid of his wife is FUNNY. And the cops struggling to understand Taapsee’s dramatic story of love and violence is funny too. It’s just a fun fun movie. A movie that is so fun, I think I would enjoy watching it a second time, knowing what is going to happen, as much as on the first go round when I wasn’t sure.
A large part of that is of course performances. Taapsee has a BLAST playing the immature difficult woman. She isn’t “bad” and she isn’t “good” and she definitely isn’t childlike in the classic Hindi film heroine sense. She is just a little spoiled with a little growing up to do. And the bits where she acts overly sexy to seduce her husband are HOT!!! Heck, her whole attitude of “what, I’m hot and sexy, that’s enough, I shouldn’t have to do any more as a wife” is great.
And Vikrant! Going from sweet innocent to burning scary quiet anger, to little bit crazy smile in his eyes. It’s the perfect Vikrant role, plays to all his strengths. Including letting him have a beard and a slight frame, I do not want to see a musclely Vikrant ever.
Mixed in with all the melodrama are some interesting statements. Taapsee complains from the start that arranged marriages mean no one works hard enough. And she’s right. Only, she’s right about herself too. She isn’t even willing to learn to cook until Harsh tempts her with sex. Vikrant may be a bit dull, and a bit bad at sex, but he’s not the only one being lazy. In their crazy way, they come together by finding a shared interest and learning what matters to the other one (Taapsee cooks, Vikrant finds his inner strong man, and then they both get into violence and murder). The statements on Taapsee in the world are especially good. On the one hand, the film shows that she is punished out of proportion to her crime. Her husband, who hasn’t even really slept with her yet himself, is ready to kill her for sleeping with someone else. The man she slept with is forgiven by her husband and treated as a friend after one brief fight. And of course, the police immediately suspect her as a “bad woman”. But on the other hand, the film shows her internalized need for punishment. She wants a strong husband. She wants to be abused, she wants to be dominated, she wants to be ordered about. I don’t think the film is saying “all women want this”, I think it is saying “some woman want this kind of passion in their relationships, respect that”. Only, of course, to an insane degree. It’s one thing for Vikrant to take the lead in the bedroom, it’s something else entirely for him to try to kill her by rigging the stove to explode.
Maybe that’s the biggest thing that makes this movie work? A marriage is about equals. And sometimes that means being equally willing to hurt each other. Vikrant tiptoing around, swallowing his feelings, being the “nice guy”, that’s kind of insulting to Taapsee. Like she can’t take it if he reveals how he really feels. And Taapsee smiling to him in public and complaining about him in private isn’t fair either, she should just tell him that she is unhappy and what she really wants. That’s the underground to this INSANE plot of arm cutting off and so on.
Final note that really really bothers me, if the hand is identified by the tattoo on his wrist, why didn’t they just tattoo the wrist of the dead body and cut off THAT hand and have it falsely identified? I was so sure that was going to be the resolution.
Now, important discussion question. Rank in order of personal sexy preference:
- Sweet nice version of Vikrant
- Crazed psycho silent version of Vikrant
- Harshwardhan Rane
I think my order is 2, 1, 3