By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

Three men who work at the same firm are being blackmailed separately by the same woman they had an affair with. Together, they hatch an elaborate plot to murder and dispose her off, but things don’t go as planned. Directed by Vasan Bala, the 2022 Netflix thriller ‘Monica, O My Darling’ is a gripping dark comedy of errors and murders. Based on Japanese mystery novel ‘Burutasu No Shinzou’ by Keigo Higashini, the story gets a complete Bollywood do-over by writer Yogesh Chanderkar,

Rajkummar Rao, Sikander Kher and Bagavathi Perumal play the trio extorted by Huma Qureshi’s feisty femme fatale character Monica. Rajkumar Rao gets maximum spotlight as Jayant Arkhedkar, a rising star at a robotics company called Unicorn, who lands a plump promotion and is also dating the CEO’s darling daughter Nikki (Akansha Ranjan Kapoor). Bagavathi Perumal is amusing as his colleague Arvind from the accounting department, who is also a married man with two kids. Sikander Kher on the other hand is slick as the arrogant devious Nishikant Adhikari, it’s his character that smoothly convinces the two other men into getting rid of Monica.

Huma Qureshi gets an introductory dance track as the opening credits roll in, and that song-sequence is a whole mood, Bollywood fans who appreciate a-la-Helen style song would love it. In-fact, the whole movie is laced with retro music, which evokes and maintains a nostalgic noir mood throughout the runtime. A murder takes place, a body is discovered, and with it a whole lot of questions emerge. The cast is so fantastic, viewers would have little time to dwell upon much other details. Rajkummar Rao comes through as usual, and unlike his last thriller movie ‘Hit: The First Case’, the story does justice to his talent. His character Jayant Arkhedkar is a small-town boy who climbs the ladder through hard work, but he isn’t quite the ‘good guy’ he appears to be. Radhike Apte appears somewhere midway in the film as nutjob cop ACP Naidu, who has her own weird jokes and tactics to intimidate suspects. Sukant Goel plays Gaurya, who is in love with Jayant’s sister (Zayn Marie Khan) and has an interesting cameo.

There are plenty of red herrings planted in the movie to make the viewer suspect pretty much every second character, which is a sign of a good murder mystery. There’s plenty of foreshadowing done to cast a cloud of doubt on everybody, so when the case is finally cracked, regardless of who you believe the root cause to be, at least you don’t feel cheated or waylaid as viewer. Towards the climax, the story does begin to falter a little and Vasan Bala could’ve wrapped things earlier, but it still manages to be a thrilling watch. This was a great Friday evening pick.

It’s a 8.5/10 from me. Stream it on Netflix.

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