Exclusive: Radhika Apte-starrer Mrs Undercover director Anushree Mehta claims, 'Women are more patriarchal than men in the film industry'

Exclusive: Radhika Apte-starrer Mrs Undercover director Anushree Mehta claims, 'Women are more patriarchal than men in the film industry'

Director gets candid about her upcoming film Mrs Undercover and why she cast Radhika Apte in it

Rohit BhatnagarUpdated: Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 07:12 PM IST
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Anushree Mehta  | Pic: Instagram/anushreemehtaa

Anushree Mehta began her journey as a director with the short film Unkahee (2020). Today, when writers are writing stories headlined by women, time is definitely changing for good and a first-time full-fledged filmmaker like Anushree showcasing a story of an ex-spy turned homemaker in Mrs Undercover is a great testimony to it. The Free Press Journal caught up with her for an exclusive chat.

When asked if she feels more liberated in telling her story, she explains, “I want to accept that things are changing, but this is more in conversations than in the actual scenario. It sounds good to talk or listen about women empowerment, but there are very few women behind the camera and they are scared to speak up, time and again. Their struggles are more than anyone else. Since I don’t belong to any film family or am not attached to any influential man in the industry, it has been 100 times more difficult for me to create what I did.”

On the sets of Mrs Undercover

On the sets of Mrs Undercover |

She adds, “I come from a middle-class family from Mumbai, who grew up watching Manmohan Desai’s cinema in single screen theatres. I knew I wanted to make a spy-action film, which isn’t synonymous to female filmmakers apparently. While I was pitching Mrs Undercover, my business partner and co-producer of the film, Abir Sengupta took major stands for me. A lot of makers were concerned whether he would direct the film instead of me since he helmed the Kiara Advani-starrer Indoo Ki Jawani (2020).”

In a male-dominated industry, Anushree claims that besides men, there are several women too who are patriarchal. “There are so many women around me, who are more patriarchal than men. Through my journey of Mrs Undercover, there were more men who supported me. Abir, Sumeet Vyas, Rajesh Sharma, my DOP Abhimanyu Sengupta, my action director Ajay among others were my strong pillars. They empowered me and celebrated my vision,” she shares.

With Mrs Undercover, Anushree not only breaks several stereotypes but also celebrates the role of homemakers in our films. “Mrs Undercover is a one of its kind film. Spy comedies have never been made before, especially with a female protagonist. Even a homemaker isn’t shown in this light before. I am really proud of my film. I had no inhibitions while making something like this and if I had, my defence system has subconsciously reacted to it,” she reveals.

Radhika Apte, who is known for portraying roles in content driven stories, plays Durga, an ex-agent turned homemaker in the film. When asked the reason for casting her, Anushree gushes, “For a subject like this, it was important for me to cast my exceptional actors. Radhika has done about 55 films so far, but still I felt that her potential is untapped yet. I wanted to explore her more through my film. Her comic timing is phenomenal. She is a one-take okay artiste. She listens very carefully and understands what her director actually wants. She is magic.”

Mrs Undercover is set to release on April 14 on ZEE5. The film is backed by Abir Sengupta and Anushree Mehta and also stars Sumeet Vyas and Rajesh Sharma in important roles.

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