Vasan Bala’s third directorial, Monica, O My Darling, is one delicious dark comedy that manages to be hilarious and engaging despite not having any outlandish suspense. The way Vasan and his co-writer Yogesh Chandekar place human psychology to create situational humor makes the movie unique. With that color palette and staged visual choreography, Monica, O My Darling becomes that fun entertainer you rarely see.
The whole story is set around a robotics company named Unicorn. Jayant Arkhedkar was promoted to board member in the company, and Jay was engaged to the company’s head Satyanarayan Adhikari’s daughter. Things take a different turn when the company secretary Monica, with whom Jayant was having a secret affair, reveals to him that she is pregnant with his baby. The drama that unfolds in Jay’s life as success and shock hits him simultaneously is what we see in Monica, O My Darling.
You can look at this movie from a slapstick Priyadarshan perspective, where the hero constantly runs into problems. But Vasan Bala knows how to be quirky with the making and keep you hooked to the content. Each character has a certain level of eccentricity, making the whole universe look very odd from the usual. The family dynamic of the Adhikaris, Monica’s exploitation tactics, the weird humor sense of the police officers, etc., help the film in transporting the audience into that wacky sensibility of the movie. I must admit that the fun 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 clueless space. And the way he carries the character’s disbelief and stress is hilarious to watch. Huma Qureshi, in that sensuous avatar, looks gorgeous. Even though 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 fun character, and Vasan gave her a role that was quirky 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 among the other major cast members.
It is not just 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 and intrigue to the whole thing. Both Vasan and Yogesh know that revealing the actual color of certain characters will not surprise the viewer as the character pool is minimal. Hence it smartly shifts the focus to Jay’s reaction to these twists. The retro music recreated by Achint Thakkar is just terrific, and it plays a key role in keeping the movie in that dark yet hilarious space.
Monica, O My Darling has some commendable performances, quirky narration, and a making that impresses you with its design of scenes. Since the story’s nature is jumping from one conflict to another, you might sense a structural inconsistency, but somewhere that quality makes this black comedy an exciting cinematic experience.
Vasan Bala’s third directorial, Monica, O My Darling, is one delicious dark comedy that manages to be hilarious and engaging despite not having any outlandish suspense.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended