Mrs Undercover is amateurish, childish crime comedy

Radhika Apte and Rajesh Sharma in ZEE5’s Mrs Undercover. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

The concept of crime comedies is not new—even in India. We have had many classics including the black comedies. But anti-terrorist comedies have been much rarer, as it is a tough genre to crack in terms of concepts, script and execution. Santa Banta Pvt. Ltd. and Dishoom, both substandard films made over half a decade back, are the only examples I can recall off the cuff. Filmistaan (2012) was the only one that worked for me.

Joining this list now is Mrs Undercover, a film that would not have survived for a week in the movie halls, and is an OTT release. Made by a bunch of amateurs in an extremely simplistic and even childish manner, the film has nothing to offer and is one of those vehicles that overwhelmingly depend on the protagonist actor’s talent to make it bearable.

Sadly, in the title role of Durga (the long-prevalent destroyer of evil symbolism, which became even more ‘trendy’ after the climax of Kahaani and Vidya Balan’s fiery avatar in Kahaani 2 due to its association with Kolkata and their festival of Durga Puja), Radhika tries her best in a futile battle. She is excellent as the woman who is hassled about her present-day life and is a picture of consternation when her ex-employers from the Special Task Force repeatedly ask her to join them again to track down a criminal. She does rise above the script, but that’s all she can do. And all we can do is wonder why and how she accepted such a poor script.

I must say that the core idea (a kind of parallel to The Family Man) had brilliant scope for a quirky thriller that, with the villain here better-etched, could have been a powerful social drama as well. But in reality, the writers and director (also one of the writers) villainously destroy any good potential here and murder every prospect of good entertainment!

Studded with some witty, a lot farcical as well as frequently unfunny “comedy”, Durga’s life is one of typical domesticity, with a husband (Saheb Chatterjee) who takes her for granted, a normal school-going son, an aging father-in-law (Biswajit Chakraborty) and a surprisingly progressive mother-in-law (Laboni Sarkar).

A decade or so back, Durga had been working for the Special Task Force, but she feels that her talent has rusted and she is now happy in her “cover” of marriage, motherhood and family. However, we are told that this cover was designed for her, which is the first absurdity. And why has she not been contacted all these years? A silly reason is provided for that!

The criminal for whom the STF feels Durga is the right person to track is an unbalanced young man called Ajay (Sumeet Vyas) calling himself “the common man”, who has killed 17 girls brutally because they were all progressive, educated working women. He has also eliminated whichever agent was sent to get him.

When it is shown now how difficult it has been for the agents and Durga to even know his identity, we wonder how so many went near enough to Ajay to be killed! The STF chief, Rangeela (!), played by Rajesh Sharma, seems to abandon his daily duties just to don several disguises every day to persuade a reluctant Durga to come back on field.

More, Durga is helpless when her husband disallows her from joining a progressive course in women’s empowerment (which is as per Rangeela’s directive) but her mother-in-law convinces her son to let her do what she feels.

Things get more absurd when we are told that the common man has a coterie of helpers, including an attractive woman, Aisha (Roshini Bhattacharya) and has previously confounded the law in other states besides Bengal. The man even calls a lady doctor to attend to his sick mother and then murders her! The murders he commits are indeed brutal and it is incomprehensible for  a thinking viewer about how a “comedy” (as advertised) can be made on such a gruesome villain’s activities, simply by showing the chief cop’s and the protagonist’s (unintentional) humorous side!

Nothing makes sense in the film except for Radhika Apte. Even Rajesh Sharma’s character comes across as too silly for a man who heads the Special Task Force. Sumeet Vyas has hardly any acting to do and is far from chilling. The end is hurried and even more addle-pated.

The technical values are alright, but the script, direction and music are best not commented upon. Suffice to say that this film, mercifully under two hours’ duration, is also really in the same realm. But a reviewer must do his job!

Rating: *1/2 

ZEE5 presents B4U Motion Pictures’, Jaadugar Films’ & Knight Sky Movies’ Mrs Undercover Produced by: Varun Bajaj, Anushree Mehta, Ishan Saksena, Abir Sengupta & Sunil Shah Directed by: Anushree Mehta  Written by: Anushree Mehta & Abir Sengupta Music: Amit Sawant, Ankit Shah & Abhinav Shekhar  Starring: Radhika Apte, Sumeet Vyas, Rajesh Sharma, Saheb Chatterjee, Angana Roy, Satish Badal, Roshini Bhattacharya,  Biswajit Chakraborty,  Amrita Chattopadhyay, Rudrashish Majumder,  Indrasish Roy, Laboni Sarkar & others



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