I have seen Radhika Apte films that haven’t worked for me. But I could see particular possibilities that might have made her agree to those films, at least on a script level. But Mrs Undercover was perhaps the only film where I felt like, why on earth she decided to do a movie like this? Written with broad strokes and terrible jokes, Mrs Undercover is a confused mixture that wants to be a spoof, a thriller, and a women empowerment drama. Sadly it was utterly terrible in all those genres.
Durga, our leading lady, was trained to be a special force agent, and to have a cover, she was asked to marry one business guy in Kolkata. Due to a series of events that happened in the special force, the existence of Durga as an agent got ignored, and she eventually started living a housewife life and had a son in her cover marriage. What we see in Mrs Undercover is when one of the Special force officers finally finds out about her and takes her help to find a serial killer who calls himself “common man.”
A serial killer who calls himself “common man” gets the trigger to kill women when they talk about women’s empowerment. A housewife gets ignored by both her husband and her department. All these sound like very symbolic parallels to tease a patriarchal society. But the problem with Anushree Mehta’s movie is that she presents all these things with this caricature-like comedy texture, that you don’t really feel like rooting for the gender politics of the film. In fact, the gender thing almost looked like an escape tool to hide the awful spy comedy they had created. Rajesh Sharma’s boss character appears as Rickshaw Wala, Sabji Wala, Pandit, and whatnot to convince Durga. And I was tempted to Google more about the director to know whether she was an AD to Aneez Bazmi or David Dhawan.
Radhika Apte, as Durga, is trying her best to be in character. Her reaction to recurring humiliations and the character’s self-doubt was presented neatly by Radhika. But the decision to make it all forcefully comical affected her performance too. Rajesh Sharma has played similar humorous characters before, and he tries to minimize the overdone feel of the movie. As the poorly written antagonist who gets ignored by the writers frequently, Sumeet Vyas was okay as he has that face of a stereotypical supportive woke man.
As I said, the film is pretty confused about the tone it wants to have. Maybe the plan was to have a Tumhari Sulu meets Family Man kind of film. But the writing doesn’t even know where to focus. The antagonist is getting ignored frequently in the screenplay. His modus operandi looked intimidating in the first killing. But then it seemed like the writers lost interest in that character. Mrs Undercover, with better writing, could have been at least a passable spy comedy. But here they are forcefully inserting jokes to make it light-hearted. There is a sequence where Durga’s mother-in-law sarcastically teases her old-school son. Because the husband’s character was deliberately made a loud patriarch, this scene was somewhat predictable, and the execution reminded me of those unnuanced government advertisements. The Durga act in the climax, where the CM says, “A housewife is enough to take down this guy,” was even lamer.
Radhika Apte, Rajesh Sharma, and Sumeet Vyas are names that are generally associated with quality content. But this one from Anushree Mehta is easily one film that the actors won’t really want to see in their filmography. A template-ish unfunny script is dragged pointlessly to create this neither funny nor impactful movie.
A template-ish unfunny script is dragged pointlessly to create this neither funny nor impactful movie.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended