A remake of a 2014 Finnish TV series, Mustat Lesket, Zee5’s latest Hindi thriller and dark comedy, Black Widows is about three best friends, who escape their husbands using, not divorce but death.
Too many plots run amok
Meet Veera (Mona Singh), Jayati (Swastika Mukherjee) and Kavita (Shamita Shetty). Apart from having one-dimensional personalities, they bond over the fact that they’re married to men who subject them to physical and emotional abuse. Fed up with their spouses, they decide to turn the tables on their abusers by blasting them off the planet. Literally. The three plant a bomb on a speedboat and then cajole the men to take it out for a spin during a birthday celebration for Jayati’s husband Lalit (Mohan Kapoor). And just as they’re toasting to their successful plan, things start to go wrong. The investigating officers, Pankaj (Parambrata Chattopadhyay) and Rinku (Shruti Vyas) suspect the women from the get-go for not displaying the right amount of grief over the untimely deaths of their husbands. Even as the police are trying to build a case against the terrific trio, Veera’s husband Jatin (Sharad Kelkar), who escaped the blast, returns vowing revenge on the mastermind of the attack. His list of suspects includes his business partner Rameez (Shaheb Chattopadhyay) and the ruthless and unscrupulous owner of a pharma company, Inaaya Thakur (Raima Sen).
Add to this mix a plot involving Jayati’s stepson and his fledgling affair with Kavita that is nipped in the bud by Jayati, Veera re-developing feelings for Jatin, Kavita trying to move on by pouring her heart out in a blog and affairs with young boys, too many hitmen for hire running around, a subplot involving spurious vaccines being tested on innocent villagers by Thakur, and you find it difficult to keep up with everything that’s happening. What’s worse is that as she’s juggling so many characters and plots, writer Radhika Anand is unable to do justice to all of them. The story should’ve focused more on the main investigative plot and how the web of lies spun by the women unfolded. Additionally, there’s very little character development, even for the principal three characters. Sure, we’re shown a few glimpses of the abuse they suffer at the hands of their spouses but not to the point that their actions are justified. Also, they’re given cookie-cutter characters to play – Veera is the hassled mother second-guessing her decision, Jayati is the group mom and brains of the operation while Kavita is the child-woman who speaks before she thinks.
Ham is delicious, but not when it comes to acting
Barring Shamita Shetty, who plays up her character’s drollness to incite laughs even as she convincingly mouths lines like, “I tried adulting, it didn’t work for me,” the other actors clearly went to the same school of overacting. And that’s a damn shame because we know what Swastika Mukherjee, Mona Singh, Raima Sen and Parambrata Chattopadhyay are capable of. We’d like to give them the benefit of doubt and blame director Bisra Dasgupta and the shoddy writing for their performances. The twists are predictable, the story meanders all over the place and by the time the end rolls around, you’ve mentally checked out.
WATCH OR NOT
Attempting dark humour is always a brave experiment. Sad to say, this one falls flat.
Director: Bisra Dasgupta
Writer: Radhika Anand
Cast: Swastika Mukherjee, Mona Singh, Shamita Shetty, Sharad Kelkar, Raima Sen, Parambrata Chattopadhyay
Streaming on: Zee5