Haseena Parker, a film by Apoorva Lakhia, is a biopic on Mumbai’s Lady Don, the Godmother of Nagapada – Haseena Aapa, younger sister of Dawood Ibrahim. It was believed that Haseena took up the control of operations of Dawood’s business in India. She was notorious for running an extortion racket in Mumbai and also allegedly involved in hawala rackets in sending money from India to Middle East and vice versa. It is said that Arun Gawli Gang murdered her husband Ismail Parkar in 1991. Soon after that she entered into the crime world. Dawood had retaliated to his brother-in-law’s death by a shootout at JJ Hospital and killing innocents as well in the process. Haseena shifted to the Gordon Hall Apartments in Nagpada from where she headed the crime syndicate. She dies of heart attack in 2014. The film takes us through the journey of Haseena from a meek, 7th standard pass out daughter of an honest police constable Ibrahim Kaskar to wife of an hotel owner / actor Ismail Parker to the Lady Don’s status. But the challenge with the film is it does not really let us know who Haseena is, it is just a chronological journey of Haseena’s life. But what sort of person she was, what did she feel, and how that inner transformation from a powerless girl to powerful don happened – all these are superficially dealt with, rather what we have read in newspapers. But, the film will definitely is intriguing as far as one needs to understand the flow of events in her life.
The film begins with the dramatic entry of Haseena Parker and a few other ladied in Burqa. . Journalists and people outside the court are having doubt whether Haseena Aapa would come for the court proceedings. And finally when she comes, people were not able to figure out who the original Haseena Parker was. Further the film unravels through court proceedings where Haseena Parker (Shraddha Kapoor) is questioned in an extortion case against a builder. Haseena, who was one amongst the 12 children (probably 7th) of Ibrahim Kaskar and Amina Bi. They used to live in a very small house. The questions by the lady Public Prosecutor (Priyanka Sethia) is arranged by the director in such a manner that its answers takes us to the flask back to Haseena’s life. Haseena was extremely attached to her brother Dawood Ibrahim (Siddhant Kapoor, Shraddha’s real brother). Her father Ibrahim Kaskar was an honest constable, who did not even shy away from making his sons Dawood and Sabir surrender before the police for their robberies. But Dawood was unstoppable, he grew to be the king of underworld very soon. Haseena is shown to have shared a special bond with Dawood. She gets married to Ismail Parker (Ankur Bhatia), owner of a small restaurant as well as an actor. When asked by Dawood that how she was after the marriage, she expressed that she could experience freedom of choice, freedom of living life after marriage. This is beautifully captured, where one gets to understand the real pain of Haseena, wherein the male fraternity have always decided for her but she was happy after marriage since she could breathe freely. Stories move further to the instances where Dawood had to flee abroad, Mumbai bomb blasts, JJ Hospital Shootouts, Haseena being mentally tortured by the police officials for her fault of being Dawood’s brother, murder of her husband Ismail Parker and then how she grew to be the Haseena Aapa.
Shraddha looks good till she transforms into Haseena Aapa. Probably her make-up is not good, especially her cheeks look strange and also her frame looks different than the original Haseena Aapa. She does deglamorize herself for the role, but looks did not appear convincing. If we ignore her looks, she has certainly given her best possible shot to the role. Siddhant Kapoor has portrayed the role of Dawood Ibrahim well, although in the second half, his character is reduced to be the one living in posh White House in Dubai. Post intermission, he either appears in TV as a terrorist in news or else talking to Haseena over phone. One gets to miss the Ajay Devgan’s touch to Sultan Mirza and Imraan Hashmi’s Shoaib Khan in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai. Ankur Bhatia as Ismail Parker is good. Priyanka Sethia is a surprise package in the film, she is good while provoking, questioning Haseena Parker in the court and also in her verbal spats with the defense lawyer.
Haseena Parker aka Haseena Aapa’s story unravels during courtroom drama. It is about her transformation from an innocent and meek sibling of Dawood Ibrahim to powerful lady don – Godmother of Nagapada. Apoorva Lakhia takes us through her journey chronologically but it turns out to be a collection of reports which we already have read in newspapers. The ‘real Haseena’ does not come out on screen except in one or two instances.