Entertainment Movie Reviews 12 Nov 2022 Movie review | Monic ...

Movie review | Monica, O My Darling: Murder, mystery, and music

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | AJIT ANDHARE
Published Nov 12, 2022, 12:58 pm IST
Updated Nov 12, 2022, 12:58 pm IST
What works in the favor of ‘Monica, O My Darling’ is its characterization. Not a single character in this movie is positive or one-dimensional. (Image credit: Wikipedia)
 What works in the favor of ‘Monica, O My Darling’ is its characterization. Not a single character in this movie is positive or one-dimensional. (Image credit: Wikipedia)

There are two types of thrillers. First, wherein some crime occurs at the start of the movie and the rest of the story deals with unraveling it. Second, in which you know the people behind the crime right at the start and then the story progresses. Needless to say, the second is the more difficult one to pull off. ‘Monica, O My Darling’ belongs to this category.

Japan is not only known for its anime but also for its mysteries. Recently, ‘Adamas’ on Disney Hotstar had the viewers hooked to it for weeks together. Japanese author Keigo Higashino is a name to reckon with in the world of mystery novels. His most famous ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ is already in the making in Bollywood. Currently, we have his other novel, ‘Burutasu No Shinzou’ as ‘Monica, O My Darling’ on Netflix.

Gritty and full of twists and turns, the movie has been directed by Vasan Bala. Teamed with writer Yogesh Chandekar, he successfully adapts the story to unfold it in Pune. The noir genre is not explored much in Bollywood but the director-writer duo has done a fabulous job of it.

Monica Machado played by Huma Qureshi is a secretary in a robotic company and thinks that all men are her robots. Hence, she is blackmailing at least three at the start of the movie. Jayant Arkhedkar (Rajkumar Rao), Nishikant Adhikari (Sikandar Kher) and Arvind Manivannan (Bagavathi Permual). Hence, the trio decides to eliminate her and sign a ‘Murderers Agreement’. Accordingly, the plot to kill her is executed. But as fate would have had it, things start going wrong from this point and the viewers are treated to a whodunnit which is hilarious and compelling in equal measure.

There is no dearth of surprises and shocks here though somewhere mid-way the story slacks a bit only to pick up the pace again towards the end.

Huma Qureshi was brilliant as a timid, uneducated housewife who is suddenly propelled to the top post in Bihar in ‘Maharani’. Here, she plays a completely different character. She is charming, confident, and a seductress. Huma has done a wonderful job of making the audience believe that Monica is all that and much more. She stands out in a movie teeming with noteworthy performances. Be it Rajkumar Rao or Bagavathi Permual, all the actors do complete justice to their characters. Similarly, Radhika Apte for the first time is seen in a comic role. She also gets to mouth some of the best dialogues in this dark comedy as the corrupt police inspector Naidu. However, she does not get much screen space.

What works in the favor of ‘Monica, O My Darling’ is its characterization. Not a single character in this movie is positive or one-dimensional. All have their own past, greed, and secrets. Hence, they are ready to go to any length to realize their intentions. In the process, they become much more believable to the viewers. Not that one can relate to such characters but certainly, they are riveting enough.

As is clear by now, through the title ‘Monica, O My Darling’, the makers have paid tribute to retro Bollywood and its marvelous music. In fact, the movie pays tribute to many more personalities, Hollywood; and in order to give an authentic Marathi flavor to the character of Jayant, to G. D Madgulkar also. In one of the scenes, Jayant recites the ‘Fakt Ladh Mhana’ poem by the iconic Marathi poet.

Achint Thakkar who earlier gave music for 'Scam 1992' and 'Rocket Boys' hits all the right notes. He deftly blends retro with contemporary to give the viewers a fulsome experience.

‘Monica, O My Darling’ has a very Johnny Gaddar-ish feel to it. No wonder it thanks Sriram Raghavan right at the outset. This edge-of-the-seat thriller is playing on Netflix.

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