Monica O My Darling Hindi Movie

Feature Film | 2022 | Crime, Drama | 2h 10min
With Monica, O My Darling, director Vasan Bala Indianizes Keigo Higashino's novel 'Burutasu No Shinzou' with a plethora of pop culture references. Here, Bala acknowledges many exponents of film noir from Indian cinema, including Sriram Raghavan.
Nov 13, 2022 By Sreejith Mullappilly

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At one point in Vasan Bala's Monica, O My Darling, Rajkummar Rao stays still and stares at the eyes of a cobra for a long time to ensure that the serpent does not bite him. This is a murder mystery about men who flirt with danger, women who treat them as robots, and people with blood on their hands. Speaking of blood, the red color is in many places of the film, from the title credits to Huma Qureshi's outfit.

Huma Qureshi plays the titular character, Monica, who is the personal secretary to the owner of a company named Unicorn that creates robots. Like some of her previous roles, Huma Qureshi's character is a seductress here. She seduces men into making the kind of decisions they wouldn't want to make most of the time.

Rajkummar Rao's Jayant Arkhedkar is a techie with a rags-to-riches story, which impresses his employer Adhikari so much that it makes him consider Arkhedkar heir to Unicorn. Arkhedkar is also a power-hungry person, a trait that makes him a danger to himself and others in his life.

Arkhedkar feels Monica is using his premarital relationship with her to blackmail and swindle him. But soon this techie realizes that he is only one of three people involved in this situation. The triumvirate decides to get rid of Monica, but their plan falls through, and this leads to a chain of events that sees their lives tailspin into chaos.

Monica, O My Darling is based on Keigo Higashino's 'Burutasu No Shinzou', but director Bala Indianizes the novel with a plethora of pop culture references. Here, Bala acknowledges many exponents of film noir from Indian cinema, including Sriram Raghavan. Some aspects of the murder mystery work as a hat tip to Raghavan's Johnny Gaddaar, which itself has references to Parwana starring Amitabh Bachchan. The title is a reference to R. D. Burman's song 'Piya Tu Ab To Aaja'.

Writer Yogesh Chandekar's script is dense and layered. It talks about a system whereby a company governs and directs itself; people who take control of robots manually; and even things like divine intervention. Achint Thakkar's music and Varun Grover's lyrics convey the rich themes of the film in line with the retro look and feel that Bala tries to create here. Some of Chandekar's dialogues are more than likely to make you burst out laughing. For instance, it appears funny when one character asks another whether the samosas are good at a funeral home.

The other notable aspect of the film is the acting. Huma Qureshi owns her role like only she can! Radhika Apte is surprisingly playful here, as a cop in pursuit of the killer. We usually see the actor in serious roles, but Bala makes her say humorous lines in places where we least expect them. Akansha Ranjan Kapoor embraces the sheer silliness of Arkhedkar's fiancee in style! The scene where she tells Arkhedkar that his father would take care of something is hilarious, as is Rao's reaction to it. With Monica, O My Darling, Rajkummar Rao continues to prove his dynamism as an actor in Hindi cinema. Whether it is about being OTT, serious, or something in between, Rao is game for it.

Sreejith Mullappilly