As the central character of her debut film Mrs Undercover is a spy-turned-homemaker who only shows her real power in times of a crisis, director Anushree Mehta opens up about the power of cinema, why homemakers should never be treated as inequal, and why she is unapologetic about being a feminist.
Anushree told OTTplay, "I think cinema and homemakers are the two strong elements that can bring about change and shape the society. In smaller towns, especially where watching films is one of the main sources of entertainment, people get influenced by films, that's why the messaging is so important. Homemakers are silent warriors to whom society never gives the due credit they deserve. One must remember that the mother plays the most important role in the upbringing of children. When they watch a strong, empowered woman onscreen; when we tell a story that addresses issues in a patriarchal system, it positively impacts the mind of a boy child. So, telling a story with the responsibility that celebrates the real changemakers of society --- which for me is women --- is important."
While many people will agree with Anushree, the fact is that the female-centric films made in the recent past all play on cliches and marketing gimmicks aimed at selling a 'woman's story'.
Asked if she put in any conscious effort to avoid such cliches and gimmicks as the writer Mrs Undercover, Anushree said, "Cliches always work wonderfully because they have familiarity attached to them. So, when we tell a complicated story, some cliches in the narrative help the audience connect with the story. But then, it should be done in an interesting manner. Speaking about feminism, I see no reason to feel apologetic about it. Feminism means equality. We all deserve a cerebral opportunity, and demanding our rights is not wrong."
Mrs Undercover stars Radhika Apte, Sumeet Vyas, Rajesh Sharma, Roshni Bhattacharya, Biswajit Chakraborty, Laboni Sarkar, Rudrashish Majumder, Indrasish Roy, and Saheb Chatterjee.
It will be available to stream on the OTTplay app and on ZEE5 starting April 14.