A amateur crime comedy that wants to be taken seriously Mrs. Undercover can never quite find his way around, observes Sukanya Verma.
In the 1980s, Basu Chatterjee created a television series that highlighted the power of a middle-class housewife in Priya Tendulkar’s righteous skin as Rajani. It’s 2023 but she’s still fighting to get her claim with Anushree Mehta woman undercover, with Radhika Apte as an exhausted housewife in Calcutta.
Except that she’s actually a secret agent who’s been forgotten after her agency forgot her existence.
A decade later, after losing all of her officers, an undercover team led by Chief Rangeela (Rajesh Sharma) wants her back on the job and nail a misogynistic serial killer, referred to simply as Common Man.
Before Mrs. Undercover becomes a nonsensical cat and mouse between a housewife and a common man, it persists in lamenting the general lack of respect for the housewife.
And so Durga (Apte) juggles between domestic drudgery, a callous, cheating husband (Shaheb Chattopadhyay), a school-age child, and parents-in-law (Biswajeet Chakraborty and Laboni Sarkar) whose amnesia for childish laughter is mined until Rangeela begs them to do their duties resume by appearing in front of her and posing as a street vendor or temple priestess.
It is True Lies-Throwback premise had a decent margin of feminism and fun when its razor-thin writing wasn’t marred by Mehta and Abir Sengupta’s sloppy writing.
Already in the first scene we learn something about the identity of the perpetrator, but neither his motive nor his method make any sense.
Durga’s journey from spy to spouse is also treated with the same ambiguity. It’s hard to understand why someone so clumsy at home and at work would be so indispensable in spy circles.
If there were an award for the most indiscreet undercover agent who pursues her objective in an attention-grabbing manner, Durga would undoubtedly win. To be fair, the entire organization’s failure to remain in stealth mode renders the mission spurious.
Title heroine Radhika Apte has already managed a few solo gigs. But their Durga is more of a mess than a total idiot, more Marathi mulgi as a Bengali goddess despite angry chants from Durga taking over its false climax.
As usual, co-star Rajesh Sharma delivers the goods, but Sumeet Vyas struggles to match his wishy-washy mystery.
Unlike ZEE5’s other Kolkata-themed crime antics Bob Biswas And Lost, Mrs. Undercover is devoid of any local feel or taste.
A amateur crime comedy that wants to be taken seriously Mrs. Undercover can never find her way.
Mrs. Undercover Stream to ZEE5.
Mrs. Undercover Review Rediff rating: