A series that has been remade in several countries cannot be mediocre or worse. The premise of “Black Widows” is interesting: three women, friends with each other, conspire to bump off their three husbands, also friends, as they are fed up of them for different reasons. They go on a joint outing to a scenic holiday spot, and they execute their plan ruthlessly. The husbands take off for a river tour on a speedboat, and it explodes. A time-bomb has been planted there by the ladies, who have planned and cooked their next meal without them: we mention this as the investigating agents find this fact significant.
The three now plan to live trouble-free lives, one of them with a daughter. But as luck would have it, one of the husbands survives and returns, the timer of the explosive is found and the police are hot on the trail of the unknown murderers. There is a business racket too, you see, and a shady vixen, who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. And generally behaves like a vamp in the 1970s movies. So what happens?
Imagine the promise that this premise had, if director Birsa Dasgupta and writer Radhika Anand had not indulgently given this brilliant idea short shrift in execution, characterization and finesse. For one, there is no uniformity in the characters of two of the three lead protagonists, Jayati (Swastika Mukherjee) and Kavita (Shamita Shetty). Jayati flip-flops between conniving and affectionate, Kavita between a moron and a shrewd femme fatale, and Veera (Mona Singh) is thoroughly at sea about how to deal with a husband who has returned from the dead.
There is no consistency in the whole graph whereby Veera tells her fellow accomplices that her husband Jatin (Sharad Kelkar) was never the kind who deserved death, and the way her comrades-in-h‘arm’ respond. The investigating cops (Parambhrata Chaterjee and Shruti Vyas) are shown as near-clowns, belying their intense search for the truth. The angle of the senior cop scuttling the investigation almost becomes farcical in the way he plays with his subordinates and has some vested interests.
The sexual escapades of Kavita and the audacious but again inconsistent and buffoon-like behavior of Veera’s neighbor Eddie (Aamir Ali) does not add anything. Last, but not the least is the inconsistent and unconvincingly-written conduct and attitude of Jatin after he returns with respect to Veera and his daughter.
All in all, at 12 episodes, the serial is not just a drag—only the first episode is crackling—but grossly illogical at multiple points. Technically good, it has a terrific title-track (Aditya Pushkarna) and some good performances led by Sharad Kelkar, Swastika Mukherjee and Mona Singh. Shamita Shetty is a surprising delight initially but slips as soon as her character starts plunging to inconsistent depths. The child actor playing Jatin’s and Veera’s daughter is a bright find.
Mohan Kapur is up to his usual slimy villainy and Sabyasachi Chakrabarty hams. Aamir Ali tries to be different, and within the shackles of a loopy character, succeeds. Raima Sen is so gimmicky you crave for a young Helen or Bindu in her role.
This was one show that could have been a pulsating and vibrant thriller espousing the female cause. It slips into total confusion midway and loses it slowly but surely.
Now what will the Finnish think of us, I wonder? We fin(n)ished their good idea,.
Produced by: Namit Kapoor
Directed by: Birsa Dasgupta
Written by: Radhika Anand based on the Finnish drama “Mustat Lesket” created by Mikko Pöllä & Roope Lehtinen
Music: Aditya Pushkarna (NoizzeBoxx)
Starring: Mona Singh, Sharad Kelkar, Shamita Shetty, Mohan Kapur, Swastika Mukherjee, Vipul Roy, Parambhrata Chaterjee, Raima Sen, Aamir Ali, Shruti Vyas, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Shaheb Chattopadhyay & others