“Mrs Undercover” follows a serial caller who goes by the name “Common Man.” He hates women. Hence, he goes after independent women or those who are on the brink of breaking the shackles of patriarchy and kills them. And before doing so, he makes his victims record a statement saying that they deserve the punishment they are getting. Meanwhile, the titular superspy, commonly known as Durga, is going about her life as a diligent homemaker. She is approached by Chief Rangeela, the head of a special forces unit, to go after the Common man or Ajay. Durga refuses the offer because she has to look after her son, husband, and in-laws, and since her skills are rusty. But when Ajay kills her son’s teacher, she walks back on her initial decision and decides to join Rangeela’s squad and take down the killer before he can do more damage to the city of Kolkata.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Ajay exists to point out the fact that any random man can act in a misogynistic fashion, thereby hurting women physically or mentally. While every sexist individual seems to have a specific trigger, which usually boils down to their hatred for women, Ajay cannot stand the sight of women who feel empowered in any shape or form. He either has no idea that we live in a male-dominated society or feigns his knowledge about the truth because if he accepts it, then he won’t be able to kill women who don’t constantly advocate for the rights of privileged men. He is so blinded by his misogyny that he can’t accept his mother’s opinion about the killings that he’s secretly causing. That’s why he kills the person who is responsible for bringing him into this world. That said, his skewed perspective reaches a new height when he sees the female Chief Minister of his state as his ultimate target, as he can’t digest the idea of a woman heading a government body.
While that can seem like an exaggeration, the misogyny perpetuated by Durga’s husband, Deb, is far more realistic. The portrayal is blunt, but the way he constantly demeans Durga, even though she does everything in the house and refuses to see her work as “real work,” is synonymous with what “family men” usually do. Although Durga tolerates all that because that’s what women are taught to do, she loses her cool when Deb has an affair with their neighbor, Aisha, and Deb puts the blame on Durga. He says that since Durga was so busy with her women’s rights movement, he had no option but to get romantically involved with someone else. He even insists that it’s normal for men to seek out other women if their wives can’t tend to their husbands’ emotional and physical needs. Amidst all this misogyny, Aisha represents internalized misogyny as she works with Ajay and talks about women seeking empowerment in a condescending way. The reasoning behind her actions isn’t fleshed out properly. We can assume that’s just her nature.
Two men, Ajay and Aditya, leading a women’s empowerment program, look great on the surface. But as you dig a little deeper, it becomes apparent that it is simply a ruse. Ajay is using the program to prey on women and lure in the Chief Minister of West Bengal to kill her. Meanwhile, Aditya is there to catch Ajay. So, in a roundabout way, none of them are remotely interested in empowering the women who have put their trust in them. Yes, Aditya’s motives aren’t heinous. However, much like Ajay, he’s aware that the bar for acceptable male behavior is low, and he can use this situation to stay around the killer’s potential victims without raising any red flags. And while you can excuse Aditya due to his profession, you can take notes while reading Ajay’s so-called feminist behavior. Everything from his vocal inflections to his dressing sense is meant to seem inviting. As soon as you let your guard down, men like Ajay are going to show their true faces. At times it seems like misogynists are better than pretentious male feminists because at least you can see the former coming at you from a distance, whereas the latter can be sitting right beside you, and you won’t be able to realize how dangerous they are until it’s too late. Does that mean that men cannot be feminists? Well, I think men can be allies, and they can strive to empathize with the plight of women. That said, it’s better to stay away from men who loudly advertise their feminist perspectives.
The movie takes a pretty cyclical route to say that a woman choosing to be a homemaker has the same value as a man going out for his job. In fact, being a homemaker is much more taxing than a 9-to-5 job because there aren’t any strict working hours, no appraisals, and no gratitude for ensuring that everyone in the family starts their day on a good note. But, yes, the film first bashes the viewers over the head by showing how Durga’s contribution to the family is disregarded. Then Chief Rangeela gives a passionate speech about why Deb should treat Durga respectfully. And then, Deb’s mother berates Deb for not allowing Durga to go to the women’s empowerment program. As if that’s not enough, when Durga finally confronts Deb, she reiterates all of the aforementioned points yet again, albeit in a more confident tone. You can say that this process is meant to show that, despite being the spine of the family, a woman needs to go through a lot to be seen.
As mentioned before, the empowerment program ended up being a complete ruse that betrayed the trust of the participants. But that doesn’t mean that the women involved in the project were as fake as the organizers. Their conviction was the one thing that drew the Chief Minister to the final concert. However, that was where the whole theme of empowerment got a little sketchy. The Chief Minister wasn’t much of a character. I guess the filmmakers thought her very existence would allow viewers to draw a parallel with the current Chief Minister of West Bengal, and the commentary would simply write itself. I am not exactly sure why. If you are spending so much time and effort glorifying extrajudicial justice and “legal” snooping, then what stopped the makers from going the extra mile and giving some weight to Ajay’s final target? Maybe they put all their focus on the cringe-worthy song that puts the onus on women to be ordinary and extraordinary, at the same time, as if they haven’t been doing that for ages and are still getting undermined by the patriarchal system. Anyway, that’s not the worst aspect of “Mrs Undercover.” That position goes to its finale.
‘Mrs Undercover’ Ending Explained: How Is Ajay Defeated? What Should We Expect From A Sequel?
So, this was Ajay’s plan. He rigged one of the confetti-based props on the stage with a bunch of explosives, which would be triggered when the participants planted their tridents into the said prop. That wouldn’t just kill the Chief Minister but also eviscerate every single woman (and man) attending that concert. But, at the last hour, Durga figures all this out and diffuses the bomb, and orders Chief Rangeela to evacuate the building. For some godforsaken reason, Ajay decides to stand right outside that building to discuss why the bomb didn’t go off. Maybe he really wanted to get caught after his big finale. Well, that demand of his is fulfilled by Durga, who accuses him of being the Common Man because of the mole on his arm (that was spotted during one of his viral videos) and his obsession with the confetti going off. Ajay says that that’ll never be enough to prove that he’s guilty of being the Common Man and conspiring to kill the chief minister. The Chief Minister agrees and then allows him to be beaten up by the participants in the women’s empowerment program.
I want to say that this witless ending to a supremely tepid spy comedy is supposed to be a commentary on how skewed the justice system is and that everyone knows that the law will side with men if it’s given the smallest of chances. And that’s why mob justice is the only way to get any kind of justice. But, in doing so, I’ll be giving the movie credit that it doesn’t deserve. Instead, I think the writers went for a tit-for-tat type of ending and are sending the message that these violent delights might have violent ends. Durga does say something about erasing the idea of men who promote violence against women, which seems to be the movie’s way of saying that the world requires systemic change to allow women to live peacefully. However, the concluding fisticuffs only mean that the writers want women to gang up on men and beat them to a pulp because systemic change is a pipe dream for now.
At the end of “Mrs Undercover,” we see Deb making a promise to change himself completely for Durga. She says that if he cheated on her once, he’s going to do it again. Deb says that he won’t, and Durga walks out of the house. Whether or not she has left that life permanently is cleared up by her meeting with Chief Rangeela, who tells her that her time as a family woman was only a cover. Since she’s needed elsewhere, she has to leave her life in Kolkata behind and move forward. So, it’s possible that she’s actually done with Deb, their son, and her in-laws. I’m not sure what Chief Rangeela means when she says that Durga’s son is a part of her cover. Does that mean he’s not her biological son? But didn’t Deb talk about having another son? Then that has to mean Joy is Durga and Deb’s biological son. In that case, Rangeela asking Durga to cut her ties with her own son feels quite bleak, don’t you think? Coming to the topic of Durga’s next mission it’s purposefully kept vague because the documents detailing all of it have the words “To Be Continued” written on them. While “Mrs Undercover 2” depends on the success of this one, I hope that it doesn’t involve Durga starting yet another family from scratch as a part of her cover.