Miss Perfect Review: Lavanya Tripathi’s show struggles to rise above its obnoxious premise, writes Srivathsan Nadadhur
Lavanya, a Delhi-based corporate professional, obsessed with cleaning and hygiene, is transferred to Hyderabad a week before the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. A hyperactive maid Jyothi works for her in a plush apartment. When a tricky scenario forces Jyothi to stay indoors, she seeks a favour from Lavanya. What connects Lavanya to a culinary enthusiast and neighbour Rohit?
Miss Perfect is yet another show proving how the Telugu digital space has miles to go before it understands the needs of the medium and its audiences. It’s a bloated version of a half-baked film script that’s forcibly converted to an episodic narrative. It tries to be a Priyadarshan-style confusion comedy with the vibe of a slice-of-life drama.
The show’s fortunes rest on a strange premise – a corporate professional accidentally turns a maid at her neighbour’s residence (due to her obsession with cleaning) and falls for him. Unlike Maruthi’s Mahanubhavudu, Miss Perfect resists using the OCD word. Therapy doesn’t work for Lavanya and she’s thrilled when her father gifts a vacuum cleaner on her birthday.
The creators take their cinematic license too far to establish Lavanya’s desperation for orderliness, so much that she’s ready to be a maid at a stranger’s house in the middle of a lockdown. Worse, Lavanya is a newly transferred HR in the same company that Rohit works for. Lavanya disguises herself as Lakshmi to be a maid at Rohit’s house. Strange is a mild word to describe the scenario.
Despite the inherent silliness in the setting, Miss Perfect’s characters are juicy. A culinary enthusiast is caught between corporate luxuries and chasing his passions. A middle-aged single parent and a retired principal are forced to stay under the same roof during a lockdown. A distracted security guard is a fitness enthusiast and a ‘massy’ maid with singing dreams is also a small-time spy.
Beneath its rom-com texture, Miss Perfect makes an earnest effort to explore the conflicts of its pivotal characters. Jyothi, perhaps, is its liveliest character – a funny, ambitious small-town woman who’s pinned down by her edgy realities during COVID-19. While Jyothi is a live-wire with an indomitable spirit, she has a Youtuber brother Karthik – another quirky part whose scope is limited.
Through Lavanya’s single father, the show explores an elderly man’s need for companionship and the embarrassment of discussing his romantic escapades with his daughter. The 50s-something couple employs every trick in the book to conceal their live-in relationship and they certainly deserve a spin-off, going by Harsha Vardhan and Jhansi’s terrific chemistry.
Miss Perfect also briefly parodies the conservatism within gated communities, which deserves to be explored in greater detail. The show struggles to hold your attention whenever it gets mushy but the humour is its strength. Harsh Roshan, Mahesh Vitta and Abhignya make for a hilarious trio and perform with infectious enthusiasm in several catch-22 situations.
Much like a feature film, Miss Perfect disappoints when all of its issues are resolved without much drama, paving the way to a sugary sendoff. The subplot of a money lender threatening the maid’s livelihood could’ve been wittier. The show has the right bunch of characters for a tolerable sitcom, but the writing is largely inconsistent and there’s little momentum in the storytelling.
Lavanya Tripathi is more at ease in a light-hearted space in Miss Perfect than in her OTT debut Puli Meka and excels at comedy. With a better backstory, her character could’ve been more relatable. Abijeet gets a tailormade role as the confused urban corporate professional and he underplays the part quite well.
Abhignya Vuthaluru continues to make progress as a performer with every outing and she’s helped by a meaty part that’s quite distinct from her appearances in Geetha Subramanyam 3 and Her Chapter 1. The supporting cast brings zest to the proceedings while they last, be it Harsha Vardhan, Jhansi, Vitta, Harsh Roshan, Sunaina, Keshav Deepak or Roopa Laxmi.
While Miss Perfect is tolerable for a major part, it’s not of the standard you expect from Vishvak Khanderao, the man behind a sublime film like Skylab. The writers Shruti Ramachandran and Francis Thomas miss a trick or two in bringing believability to their improbable plot.
Miss Perfect can throw you off-guard with its improbable premise and is unmistakably silly at times. Yet for those who need an excuse to kill time, the show has a few silver linings and scores with its humour quotient. Lavanya Tripathi, Abijeet and Abhignya Vuthaluru essay their parts with conviction.