Hindi film Mrs Undercover review
Can actors go out of form as batsmen and bowlers do? It is a question one is compelled to ask after watching Radhika Apte in her last few films. In Vikram Vedha, she was just about passable. In the Netflix original Monica, O My Darling, she, as a cop hailing from South India, hammed unbearably.
Just as one thought that these were aberrations, her newest release, Mrs Undercover also suffers the same fate as she is strangely over the top in a desperate effort to elicit laughs. Normally a bankable actress, it is tough to see her go through the equivalent of cricketing or golfing yips in her career. But this is something you can also see in the career of the Tamil actress Aishwarya Rajesh, who incidentally had a release today, Soppana Sundari, and in which she stumbles down spectacularly.
Anyway, Mrs Undercover has great potential. The storyline is decidedly interesting. A multi-tasking remarkable homemaker has one more side to her. She is also an eponymous undercover secret agent too. But here, domestic duties make her so undercover that her team practically forgets her existence.
The cop in her would have died an obscure death but is saved by the emergence of a ‘Common Man’ serial killer. His speciality? He targets independent women who live life on their own terms. The police officialdom is unable to make headway in the case. It is then the police chief (Rajesh Sharma) has the brainwave to rope in Durga (Radhika Apte) to ferret out the truth about the killer unobtrusively.
Durga is already caught neck-deep in domestic morass as her husband (Saheb Chattopadhyay) is no less a misogynist. Durga’s sole support is her mother-in-law (Laboni Sarkar). It is Durga’s lot to stutter and stumble her way to the killer (Sumeet Vyas).
The problem for Mrs Undercover is that none of the characters have been written well, and in the event, even potentially interesting situations don’t rise above the level of mediocrity. Almost all the characters are caricaturish. Only the sardonic wit of Laboni Sarkar as the older woman saves the film from being a total disaster.
Neither the comedy works nor the suspense. Recently we had a Telugu film Bhama Kalapam, which was about a homemaker getting caught in a murder plot and eventually cracking the case. That film, starring Priya Mani, was also all over the place. This one, too is no better.
Mrs Undercover deserved better cover.
An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.