‘Haseen Dilruba’ is an Indian murder mystery that follows a twisted crime story. When a seemingly imploding marriage ends with a fatal explosion, the wife, Rani, is the prime suspect for her husband’s murder. The events leading up to the explosion then form the rabbit hole plot of the movie, which shows us the deeply dark tendencies that each of the characters harbors. An ingenious ending, comprised of a severed hand and a murder weapon that can’t be found, closes the movie but questions still linger. Let’s take a closer look at the ending of ‘Haseen Dillruba’ and see what we can find. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Haseen Dillruba Plot Synopsis
The film opens with Rani standing outside her home in Jwalapur, feeding some stray dogs. An explosion in the house makes her rush back inside, where she finds her husband’s severed hand with her name prominently tattooed on it. We are then taken two months on, to find Rani still being questioned by the police. Despite rigorous interrogation by the police head inspector who is convinced that the recent widow murdered her husband, Rani’s alibis remain strong and he is unable to pin the crime on her. The lack of any discernable murder weapon being found further frustrates the cop.
Rani narrates her history with Rishabh for the cop and we find that their marriage was arranged by their families. Rishabh hails from a small town and marries the vivacious Rani, who hails from the big city nearby. Their marriage has a rocky start with the shy husband and outspoken wife having trouble with intimacy and an overbearing mother-in-law. The arrival of Rishabh’s hunky cousin Neel finally lifts Rani’s spirit as she feels strongly attracted to him. They have a brief affair after which Neel runs away without telling her. Darkness comes over Rishabh when he finds out and he sets off on a sadistic campaign to hurt his wife, who already feels guilty and shattered after her affair.
After a showdown on the roof of the house where Rani dares him to throw her off, the two finally break down and reconcile. We then see, for the first time, Rani and Rishabh in a happy functioning marriage. However, the specter of Neel and his wife being intimate haunts the meek husband and he even tracks down his cousin and stabs him with a screwdriver. Neel survives and blames him for not being able to satiate his wife.
We now come back to the present where Rani, still in police custody, is made to undertake a lie detector test. She manages to pass it and the police commissioner is forced to let her go. Despite having to close the case, he doesn’t forget about it and 5 years later notices a book that Rani had mentioned multiple times during questioning. He begins to read the novel, which is a murder mystery by a supposedly famous author named Dinesh Pandit and slowly realizes that Rani based her crime on the story of the book.
Haseen Dillruba Ending: Is Rishabh Dead or Alive?
We then go back to the fateful day of the explosion, where Rishabh comes home early to find Neel talking to Rani. An argument ensues and becomes physical when Neel threatens to make public compromising videos of Rani. In a panic, the wife pulls out a frozen leg of lamb from the freezer and bludgeons Neel to death. The couple then hatches a plot to fake Rishabh’s death. For the plan to work, however, he must chop off his hand and leave it at the site of the explosion. Rani subsequently feeds the leg of lamb, the murder weapon, to street dogs outside the house as Rishabh, bleeding and delirious, escapes from the back and jumps into the river.
Neel’s body is burnt beyond recognition and thought to be Rishabh’s due to his severed hand being the only recognizable part left after the inferno. We then catch a glimpse of Neel in the river, losing blood profusely and drowning. However, in the closing scenes of the movie, as Rani walks down a train platform alone, he suddenly appears walking alongside her.
So it looks like the couple, beating insurmountable odds, are finally together and rid of the pesky Neel who repeatedly tormented them with Rani’s past infidelity. But did we really see the real Rishabh walking alongside his wife at the end of the movie, or does she just imagine him? He does seem to appear quite suddenly.
Fortunately, despite his wound, Rishabh survives. We confirm that it is in fact the real Rishabh and not a figment of his wife’s imagination when we catch a glimpse of his left shirt sleeve, which hangs loose where his hand would have otherwise been. Seeing as Rishabh still has his hand severed, we can be sure that the husband survived the injury, which was part of a plan he hatched himself, with inspiration from a mystery novel by Dinesh Pandit.
Did Rani Try to Kill Rishabh?
The police inspector spends significant time and resources attempting to catch Rani in a lie and get a confession out of her for her husband’s murder. For much of the movie, the audience too is led to believe that it is most likely the wife that killed her husband. This becomes a near certainty when Rishabh starts laying sadistic, near-fatal traps for his wife around the house, causing her to burn herself and tumble down a flight of stairs.
Rani, however, makes up her mind to not leave the man that at one point loved her very deeply, and decides to tolerate his attempts and stay. She then remains completely loyal to her husband till the very end, despite the police and Rishabh’s close friend blatantly blaming her for his death. In fact, by killing Neel using the frozen leg of lamb, Rani saves her husband who is being strangled to death at the time. Rishabh actually wears an expression of love and gratitude as he watches his wife clean the crime scene from any traces of her former lover Neel.
What Happens to Neel?
Neel is bludgeoned to death by a frozen leg of lamb. As he sits astride the much weaker Rishabh and strangles him to death, Rani comes up behind him and violently swings the oversized piece of meat. Being frozen, it likely resembles being hit on the head by a steel club and Neel instantly dies.
Neel’s fate by a piece of mutton is darkly poetic and harkens back to the time he convinced Rani to toil in the kitchen to make him a mutton dish, only to abandon her and run away. Seeing her smash his skull with a piece of mutton is satisfying in a twisted way. The unexpected murder weapon also proves to be elusive as the cops are unable to find it. Of course, we see near the end of the movie (and also in the opening scenes, though we don’t know it then) that Rani subsequently feeds the murder weapon to the street dogs outside her house.
Why Does Rishabh Cut His Hand Off?
Once Rani slays Neel, Rishabh thinks quickly and realizes their only chance of survival would be to fake his own death. He reminds Rani of the novel where he learned the idea that will now save them and proceeds to first sever Neel’s hand and then his own. We then see Rani soak Neel’s body with flammable floor cleaner, causing it to burn beyond recognition.
The only recognizable body part found at the scene is Rishabh’s severed hand, which sports a prominent tattoo of Rani’s name. Hence, Rishabh is considered dead, Neel is disposed of and the couple can reunite in secret. By chopping off his hand, Rishabh is essentially able to pass off Neel’s dead body as his own and save his wife from going to prison for murder.
Read More: Is Haseen Dillruba a True Story?