Vasan Bala’s Monica, O My Darling is an entertaining black comedy thriller with high stakes, brutal and hilarious dialogues and twists at every turn. You never know what to expect in this gripping neo-noir crime comedy thriller on Netflix—and that’s where the appeal truly lies.
Known for Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota, 83 and Bombay Velvet, Vasan Bala’s Monica, O My Darling boasts a stellar cast—Rajkummar Rao, Radhika Apte, Huma Qureshi—and is a power-packed joyride.
Monica, O My Darling tells the story of Jayant Arkhedkar (Rao), a robotics expert who has made it big as the director of a tech firm and is the undisputed apple of his CEO’s eye. However, things take a nasty turn after his passionate affair with Monica Machado (Qureshi), the CEO’s assistant, turns sour. With some unlikely allies (played by Sikandar Kher and Bagavathi Perumal), Jayant plots ‘the perfect murder’. But life rarely ever pans out as one hopes, and soon, the trio finds ACP Naidu (Apte) hot on their heels. All that conspires in between forms the crux of the story.
Black comedy at its best
After playing a gay police officer in Harshvardhan Kulkarni’s Badhaai Do, Rajkummar Rao comes back to impress as an adulterous techie with a dark side. However, despite Rao’s textbook versatility, it is Huma Qureshi who steals the show. From her glamorous entrance to her brutally honest portrayal of a manipulative woman, you can’t help but keep your eyes glued to her—even when she’s not the focus of the scene.
Radhika Apte’s signature, nonchalant attitude as ACP Naidu is exactly what made the world fall in love with the OTT muse. The only negative, perhaps, is that the film could have had more of Apte’s magic. While her signature dialogue to Rao, “Thoda dheela chhodne ka (Keep your alibi a little loose),” is a tad too repetitive, Apte’s performance remains tight and does not disappoint.
Whether it’s Rao and Qureshi during their affair or Rao, Kher and Perumal plotting Monica’s murder while escaping Apte’s eagle gaze, the cast’s on-screen chemistry is on point.
Monica, O My Darling does more than just borrow its name from the iconic 1970s Helen song, Piya Tu Ab To Aaja. It also manages to pay tribute to the many hit renditions from the golden era of Bollywood—a feat that writer Yogesh Chandekar deserves kudos for.
Clever dialogues, thrilling score
While the film is packed with twists, turns and clever dialogues, what stands out is Bala’s excellent direction and a soundtrack that seems to be a character in its own right.
Music director Achint Thakkar does a fantastic job with the score that doesn’t just set the mood but also builds on the film’s eccentricities. It adds depth to Bala’s style of direction—a mix of subtle hints and creative techniques that help set the scene for chaos and conflict. Bala’s attention to detail also deserves to be appreciated.
If you loved Ayushmann Khurrana’s 2018 film Andhadhun, Monica, O My Darling is the perfect weekend watch for you.
(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)