Review: Monica, O My Darling

 
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Vasan Bala’s third directorial, Monica, O My Darling, is one very delicious dark comedy that manages to be very hilarious and engaging inspite of not having any such outlandish suspense. The way Vasan and his co-writer Yogesh Chandekar place human psychology to create situational humor makes the movie very unique. With that color palette and staged visual choreography, Monica, O My Darling becomes that thrilling entertainer you very rarely see.

 

The whole story of this movie is set around a robotics company named Unicorn. Jayant Arkhedkar was promoted as the board member of the company, and Jay was engaged to the Unicorns’ head Satyanarayan Adhikari’s daughter. Things take a completely different turn when the company secretary Monica, with whom Jayant was having a secret affair, discloses to him that she is pregnant with his baby. The drama that unfolds in Jay’s life as success and shock hits him at the same time is what we see in Monica, O My Darling.

 

You can look at this film from a slapstick Priyadarshan perspective, where the hero constantly runs into many problems. But Vasan Bala knows how to be eccentric with the making and keep you hooked to the content. Each character has a definite level of eccentricity, making the whole universe look very odd from the actual. The family dynamic of the Adhikaris, Monica’s exploitation tactics, the weird humor sense of the police officers, etc., help the movie in transporting the audience into that wacky sensibility of the movie. We must admit that the thrill we get seeing this movie is a kind of sadistic pleasure of watching someone in a mess.

Rajkummar Rao gets to play yet another role where he is in that very clueless space. And the way he carries the character’s disbelief and stress is so hilarious to watch. Huma Qureshi, in that sensuous avatar, looks just amazing. Alhough the character is depicted as an opportunist, there is something more to that character that makes her a lot more human. Radhika Apte’s Naidu was a very fun character, and Vasan gave her a role that was eccentric and something you don’t associate her with. Sukant Goel, whom I remember from Kapoor and Sons, gets a very meaty role in this neo-noir. Sikandar Kher, Akansha Ranjan Kapoor, and Bagavathy Perumal are amongst the other major cast members.


It is not just only the humor that comes on a writing level that gives life to Monica, O My Darling. Cinematographer Swapnil Sonawane uses these carefully designed shots that add a layer of humor as well as intrigue to the whole thing. Both Vasan and Yogesh know that revealing the actual color of few characters will not surprise the viewer as the character pool is minimal. Hence it smartly shifts the focus to Jay’s reaction to these kind of twists. The retro music recreated by Achint Thakkar is just , and it plays a key role in keeping the film in that dark yet hilarious space.


Monica, O My Darling has some quite commendable performances, quirky narration, and a making that impresses you with its own design of scenes. Since the story’s nature is jumping from one conflict to the other, you may sense a structural inconsistency, but somewhere that quality makes this black comedy a very exciting cinematic experience.

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