Monica, O My Lover Review: The Netflix Movie Is Too Full and Undercooked


Monica, Oh My Love – now streaming on Netflix – wants you to think it’s hats the movie. For those who do not speak Hindi, hats in this context it means something different from what you are used to, as it is not something you usually see coming out of Bollywood. In statements, it has been described as a mix of neo-noir, dark comedy, and crime thriller. But almost all of that is hyperbole. The cinematographer, Swapnil S. Sonawane, throws in high shots like close-ups to impress, but in the most unexpected situations. And Monica, O My Darling goes heavy on the background score, with the same song — “Yeh Ek Zindagi”, a riff on ’70s Bollywood dance numbers, complete with Asha Bhosle’s acting — plastered throughout the movie. It’s still ringing in my head as I write this review, and I’m so sick of it.

A bit of this is déjà vu for me. Monica, O My Darling director Vasan Bala pushed style over substance in his previous film, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (released as The Man Who Feels No Pain internationally). Other than that, nothing matters. For all her showmanship, dirty attitude, and super cool attitude at school, Bala can’t hide the fact that Monica, O My Darling is a depressing person. Adapted by Andhadhun co-writer Yogesh Chandekar from Japanese veteran Keigo Higashino’s little-known 1989 Burūtasu no Shinzō, this Netflix film is all plot, plot, plot. There are so many twists and turns—this one killing the other, one trying to kill the other—that it all becomes meaningless in the end. It runs like a headless chicken.

Monica, Oh My Love, is ultimately overstuffed and undercooked. It also ruins most of the ensemble cast. In the performances of the three big stars leading this Netflix film – Rajkummar Rao, Huma S. Qureshi, and Radhika Apte – Apte’s cop is the only interesting character, Qureshi impresses with the little he’s given to work with, while Rao (the one with the most screen time) spends the entire movie bothering and putting out fires. The low-billed ones are either dead within 30 minutes of the story kicking in, they’re boring and unbearable, or they’re only there to provide narrative.

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This new Indian Netflix film primarily follows Jayant “Johnny” Arkhedkar (Rao), who hails from a small fictional Maharashtrian town. Monica, Oh My Love repeatedly comments on her negative background, but it never works, so it’s a waste of time. After attending an Indian institute of technology (not yet known), he got a job at the robotics company Unicorn Group, where he rose to become a board member. In public, Johnny is dating the manager’s daughter Nikki (Akansha Ranjan Kapoor) and is on the verge of becoming her son-in-law. But in secret, he sees Monica Machado (Qureshi), the manager’s secretary, who is introduced to what is item number. Monica, Oh My Love made an unusual choice.

Speaking of Monica, she reveals to Johnny—in the opening minutes of Monica, O My Darling—that she is pregnant. And although she is happy to raise the child alone, she also forces him to contribute to her inevitable expenses. Johnny soon finds out that he is not the only target. Monica has been sleeping around the Unicorn office, including the manager’s son Nishikant “Nishi” Adhikari (Sikandar Kher) who despises Johnny, and the accounts boy Arvind Manivannan (Bagavathi Perumal, known only as Bucks) who is always on the fringes. Nishi thinks that the only way out of Monica’s financial trap is to kill her, and they plan her murder together – one will kill, one will transport the body, and the other will dispose of it – and they take the foolish step of signing a “deal.” on paper.

As you’d expect from a film that’s meant to be a crime thriller, it all backfires, but it’s not fun and it’s not fun – Monica, O My Darling just flops. (There are only a few scenes during its 130-minute running time that held my attention.) As Unicorn employees start dropping like flies and their deaths make headlines, the Pune Police led by ACP Naidu (Apte) train their lens on those closest to them. see. Johnny and Co. do not help theirs; they behave worse than novices, revealing important information in public when they would be better off keeping their mouths shut. In other places, the characters behave stupidly to fit the story, or wear armor that protects them from absurd situations.

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Mild spoilers ahead. For reasons I cannot fathom, Monica, O My Darling gives away her murder mystery at the very beginning, and still expects the audience to be invested throughout the film. I wondered if that was a deliberate attempt to throw us off, but after 100 minutes, we were told it was the same person all along. (The killer also explains everything, as if it matters or we care about it now. An annoying aspect of any whodunnit movie.) End of spoilers. The Netflix film sprinkles in an extra eleventh-hour twist — everyone is tied up, all the way to the top — in an effort to keep you thinking about it even after the credits roll. But Monica, O My Darling is so confused that I prefer to check.

In the end, Bala’s Netflix movie is nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is, nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is, and nowhere near as good as it thinks it is. It’s a very ordinary thing combined with the background effects that are almost always – like James Gunn or Taika Waititi hoping that the high tempo songs will take you to a mysterious place. Bala has fallen for the same shtick. As the bodies continue to descend on Monica, Oh My Love, the set doesn’t matter much, and the film becomes static. At the beginning of this review, I called this Netflix movie in terms of the genre we were doing. It fails to entertain or amuse, and it’s definitely not neo-noir. The only true part is the criminal part, as I have established. But the biggest crime is that he did it.

Monica, O My Darling released on Friday, November 11 at 1:30pm IST on Netflix worldwide. In India, Monica, O My Darling is available in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam.


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