Mrs. Serial Killer review: No serial killer, but Jacqueline Fernandez kills the joy of acting

‘joker’ Shirish Kunder hits a new low with another trashy film. Manoj Bajpayee makes a mockery of himself

Rating: 1 / 5

Jacqueline Fernandez in Mrs. Serial Killer [2020]

By Mayur Lookhar

It’s a common criticism that most Indian originals on international digital platforms are poor in quality.  At a time when other countries are using this medium to produce engaging content, it hurts to see mediocre content coming from the Indian stable.  Why should it surprise us though? Despite producing most theatrical releases each year, only a handful of Indian films meet respectable cinematic standards. What’s bizarre though is how international video streaming platforms have become a dumping ground for many Bollywood filmmakers.

Barring a few originals, the rest is simply not worthy talking about.  And so keeping in with our ‘dumping’ tradition, the latest so-called Indian ‘original’ trashy film to be shoved down our throats is Mrs. Serial Killer [2020].  Remember Shirish Kunder? The guy who put us to sleep with Joker [2012] and the short film Kriti [2016], that was mired in a plagiarism row.

Seasoned editor, poor director and Farah Khan’s husband Shirish Kunder miraculously managed to sell his latest trashy film Mrs. Serial Killer [2020] to Netflix.  While the title is self-explanatory, but there is no thrill in the film.

Set in the picturesque hills of Uttarakhand, Mrs. Serial Killer [2020] is the story of Sona Mukherjee [Jacqueline Fernandez] and her bizarre attempt to save her husband Dr. Mrityunjoy Mukherjee [Manoj Bajpayee].  The gynecologist is accused of kidnapping and murdering six young unmarried women, all of whom were said to be pregnant before they went missing.

The gruesome crime would put off the faint-hearted instantly, but there are no real gory scenes in the film.  However, it’s not the nature of crime, but the lack of creativity, craftsmanship that makes Mrs. Serial Killer a strict NO on your watch list.

The problem begins with the title itself which ain’t bluffing anyone.  This is no classic Whodunit drama, but you are only interested to know ‘why’.  After enduring two hours of torture, you are left asking, ‘Why Shirish why?’

The world has currently come to a standstill due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Doctors, paramedical staff are being hailed as the real heroes. In such an environment, the Dr. Death tales are likely to be thrown in the dust bin.  Lovers of noir, psychological thrillers are always open to a gripping thriller.  Mrs. Serial Killer is far from being one. A dull, boring premise is made insufferable by pathetic screenplay and mediocre performances. 

Sri Lankan import Jacqueline Fernandez has largely survived in Bollywood playing the arm candy in formulaic films.  We don’t judge anyone. You may lack in talent, but no one can take away the box-office hits from your resume.  As observed in the past, the foreign import don’t really contribute to that film’s success, Such films are only driven by the male super star.  Dear feminists, please don’t accuse us of misogyny.  The truth is wide open.

Mrs. Serial Killer [2020] though has no super star. This was an opportunity to grab with both hands.  Unfortunately, we see the same frailties that has led critics labeling Fernandez a non-actor.  After spending 11 years in Bollywood, Fernandez still strikes you as a novice.  She’s improved a bit on her Hindi, but still lacks the basic ability to act.

Sona used to be a part-time tattoo artist. She was compelled to marry Mrityunjoy as that was the wish of her parents. Sona once had an affair with cop Imran Shahid [Mohit Raina]. We even see the duo elope at a temple but this relationship didn’t last long.  Ironically, it is Shahid’s investigation that leads to the arrest of Dr. Mukherjee.  Sona suspects Imran of being the serial killer.

We love to see her dance but as an actress Fernandez can really test your nerves.  It was hard to bear her 30 -minute appearances in formulaic films, but a full two hours of Jacqueline Fernandez will make you scratch your head.  From her expression to dialogue delivery, Fernandez cuts a sorry figure in each frame/scene. Her cat fight with first-time actor Zayn Marie Khan is akin to watching little siblings fight over a toy.  The insipid dialogues all the more add to Fernandez’s woes.  Perhaps the audience would feel as frustrated as the doctors, paramedical staff who fumed over faulty Chinese made Covid-19 Test kits, PPEs [Personal Protective Equipment] being handed to them.

“You are trying too hard. I’m sorry but main tumse shaadi nahi karsakti,” Sona tells Mrityunjoy, unimpressed by his chivalry.  It’s not the flashback scene but the three key words ‘TRYING TOO HARD that sum up Fernandez’s performance.  She’s no serial killer, but with this poor showing, Jacqueline Fernandez surely kills the joy of acting.

Fernandez is a misfit to be the Mrs. Serial Killer. But how many actresses would be willing to work with a struggling filmmaker like Kunder? 

The Sri Lankan though isn’t alone in putting up a torrid show. Aamir Khan’s niece Zayn Marie Khan makes a nightmarish debut.  Zayn plays Sona’s neighbour Anushka Tiwari. The grey streaks, cocky attitude make her look more like a wannabe pop star.  Zayn is so listless that you feel no empathy for her character.

Zayn Marie Khan

Deepak Arora, who plays Anushka’s boyfriend Sid, is equally miserable.  When the heat is on, here is a kiddo who chooses to hide in a cupboard, but only ends up locking himself. Sorry bro, your fake ‘dude’ attitude ain’t impressing any one.  Perhaps, Sid resonates with a young  immature Kunder himself.  Well, Kunder hasn’t changed much since.

Darshan Jariwala is ridiculously laughable as the wheelchair bound defense lawyer Rastogi, who pitches the most daft idea to Sona to save her husband. Mohit Raina, too, is off the mark.  Shirish Kunder’s poor writing comes to haunt Raina in a scene where Imran [Raina] uses the word body in one sentence, and then mutters dead body in another. When a police inspector repeatedly ends a sentence with the word boss, it only reflects the film’s poor dialogues.

As brilliant as he is, but Manoj Bajpayee has played one too many of these weird characters –  Kaun? [1999], Aks [2001], Honestly, he often cuts a sorry figure while playing such characters.  The only thing likable about the film is the natural picturesque locales of Uttarakhand.

He writes, directs, and poorly edits his trashy tales.  Shirish Kunder has also credited himself for the original music score. Well, we found couple of tunes similar. One of them perhaps played in numerous Hollywood flicks, while one particular background tune sounded familiar to the Roshni Se melody by Anu Malik in the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Asoka [2001].

Mrs. Serial Killer is a sinking ship from the first scene itself.  Kunder and his actors only hasten the sinking by drilling huge holes in the ship.  There’s a reason why Akshay Kumar had vowed to never work again with Kunder.  And given his poor record, no producer, or top actor has worked with Kunder after the disaster Joker [2012].  Kunder simply makes a joke of himself and embarrasses his actors.

A few weeks, ago we read a headline about Jacqueline Fernandez feeling depressed.  Well, Jacqueline we feel the same after watching Mrs. Serial Killer. Sorry if you feel depressed after reading this review.  

Mrs. Serial Killer is currently streaming on Netflix.

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