Starring: Radhika Apte, Sumeet Vyas, Rajesh Sharma, Angana Roy, Laboni Sarkar, Amrita Chattopadhyay, Akshay Kapoor, Indrasish Roy, Biswajit Chakraborty
Director: Anushree Mehta
What constitutes gender equality? What does a powerful woman actually look like? In an age where the phrase “a powerful woman” often brings to mind an image of someone from superhero movies with marvellous superpowers, this subtle but impactful take on the topic renders a picture more relatable to the daily lives of all those who will watch it. And yet, ‘Mrs Undercover’ manages to paint an equally powerful character in Durga (Apte) without any of the bling or flashiness. Durga’s deceptively simple presence and her down-to-earth demeanour are in stark contrast to the courage and wit she demonstrates.
‘Mrs Undercover’ is a comedy spy thriller which maintains a good pace throughout. Its witty dialogues – written by Abir Sengupta and Mehta – keep the viewers hooked and entertained from start to end. Its exciting story line is further supported by great performances from the entire cast and interesting character development.
Apte is fantastic as always in her rendition of Durga – evidently a reference to the formidable Hindu Goddess Durga, known for her valour and strength in the fight against all forms of evil – who is a simple housewife and mother. As a simpleton Kolkata housewife whose life now revolves around her family, Durga is extremely reluctant to go back to her heyday dreams and join forces with an intelligence team who seek her help with a case involving a psychotic serial killer on the loose. As the character finds strength and reconnects with her skills and training as an undercover agent, she develops not only confidence but also a stronger self-esteem.
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Vyas’ portrayal of the psychotic killer and his warped rationale is fleshed out brilliantly by the talented actor. Sharma’s Chief Rangeela brings the perfect mixture of comic timing and seriousness, true to the film’s genre. The rest of the cast have also done a great job in sculpting their characters, small though they may be.
Woven in Durga’s story is also a celebration of the innate themes of women empowerment and strength present within the Indian and Hindu culture. The film successfully runs several parallel sub-plots all of which contribute towards the same theme of women empowerment. Particularly enjoyable is the way the film does not shy away from touching on several stereotypes and misunderstandings prevalent in various sections of society. For instance, the unjustly negative connotations attached to the word “housewife”, which some use to (wrongly) imply lack of achievement.
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