Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota director Vasan Bala, tongue firmly in cheek and one hand ticking off a list of references to his favourite movies, is back with an entertaining crime thriller that’s more batter-fried than hard-boiled.
For the Netflix release Monica, O My Darling, the filmmaker has at his disposal a fabulous cast up for all manner of mischief and the opportunity to leap from cutting-edge technology to oozy pulp over the span of 129 minutes. The Netflix release has a lot of fun snaking this way and that, even though the joke might sometimes be lost on viewers.
Monica, O My Darling literally wears its heritage: a perfume is called “Notorious Noir Extreme”. The tribute to murder mysteries gone by from the likes of Vijay Anand, the Coen brothers and Sriram Raghavan starts with the title, taken from the RD Burman song Piya Tu Ab To Aaja in Caravan (1971).
Monica (Huma Qureshi) is the darling of not one but at least three men, one of whom she says has left her pregnant. Among the candidates is Nishi (Sikander Kher), the layabout heir of the robotics company where Monica works. There’s the company’s latest hire, robotics wunderkind Jayant (Rajkummar Rao). Jayant has shoved aside his childhood friend Gaurav (Sukant Goel) on his way up.
The company is…