Netflix’s latest thriller, “Monica O My Darling,” is here, and it is out to get you. The movie’s cast is a stunning ensemble of talents, with Rajkumar Rao, Huma Qureshi, Sikander Kher, and Netflix’s favorite, Radhika Apte, in the lead roles. “Monica, O My Darling” is the official adaptation of Japanese author Keigo Higashino’s novel “Brutus’ Heart.” The movie is helmed by Vasan Bala, the brains behind unconventional wonders like “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota” (2018) and “Ray” (2021). The movie runs in a pretty retro style of a whodunit but still manages to keep the audience hooked to the screen. It has been a while since Indian cinema was graced with a film that would make you laugh and also think deeply, just like “Andhadhun” (2018) did a few years ago. As any whodunit would have it, “Monica, O My Darling” left a few burning questions in its wake. Here’s us attempting to decode some of them. Or maybe all. Read to find out.
‘Monica, O My Darling’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
“Monica, O My Darling” is a movie mainly about three men and their plan to murder Monica, a woman they have been having an affair with. At the 50th anniversary event, Jayant Arkhedkar is appointed as the new director of Unicorn Industries, which excels in the field of robotics. His success is not taken well by his competitors. The nepotism shows itself in Mr. Adhikari, the CEO of Unicorn, who is also his would-be father-in-law. Jayant is just a pawn for Mr. Adhikari. After the event, we see that Jayant is cheating on his fiancée, Nikki, with Monica, the CEO’s secretary. She blackmails him by saying that she is pregnant. He loses his composure at this. He soon receives an anonymous letter asking him to meet at a shady hotel. When he goes there, he meets Nishikant Adhikari, Mr. Adhikari’s son and also his work rival. Arvind from accounting is also present there. It is soon revealed that Monica is blackmailing all three of them by telling them she is pregnant with their child. Nishikant convinces Jayant and Arvind to kill Monica and be rid of this problem. In just a few minutes, he tells them how events would unfold should they choose to do otherwise. The two men, wholly convinced and wanting to get rid of their problem, agree to the plan. Nishikant has the plan ready, and it is already in motion. Nishikant is to do the murder, Jayant will transport the body, and Arvind will dispose of it.
Nishikant invites Monica to meet in Mumbai but changes the location later. As agreed, Jayant transports the body to Khandala, where Arvind will dispose of the body. When in Khandala, Arvind gets scared and asks Jayant to help him out. When Jayant is driving to meet Arvind, a light flash on a board, warning passersby of leopards in the area. Jayant and Arvind, when disposing of the body, are then met with a leopard. They simply run away from the scene, and the body is discovered the next day. When they see Monica alive, Jayant and Arvind lose their calm and are afraid for their lives. The body that they disposed of was Nishikant’s and not Monica’s. They begin to think that Monica killed Nishikant and will kill them soon.
After Nishikant’s funeral, Jayant and Arvind are sent boxes with poisonous cobras in them. Arvind is bitten by the cobra, and he succumbs to the poison. Jayant, on the other hand, barely escapes with his life. When he is facing the cobra, flashbacks from his childhood are shown, where he recites poet Kusumagraj’s poem “Be Ready to Fight.” This poem gives Jayant the strength to keep holding his position until the cobra slithers off. After Arvind’s death, Jayant loses his calm and decides to kill Monica. He visits her and starts choking her to death but then stops after he sees himself in a mirror. He cries at the situation he is in and decides to come clean to the police. Jayant and Monice drink wine. Jayant gets up to answer Nikki’s call, and when he comes back to the room, he finds Monica lying dead. Thinking he will be caught in the crossfire, he decides to run away. ACP Naidu, however, gets a prime witness, a blind woman who identifies him through his perfume, and Jayant is thus once again under suspicion.
ACP Naidu is given the case of Nishikant’s murder. She is quick-witted and sassy. She knows the case and the people involved in it. But she is not an idol of honesty either. This is because, as seen in the latter half of the movie, Tamang is killed, and ACP Naidu reads out a statement as if it were only written for her to say. She might not be as honest as she portrays herself to be, but she is right about nailing the real perpetrator. In the climax, it is revealed that Gaurav is the one behind all the killings, except for Monica. He even makes a confession. When Jayant finds out that Gaurav killed Dev Prakash, he thrashes him. Dev Prakash worked with Gaurav at the Unicorn factory. Gaurav, who is in love with Shalu (who is also Jayant’s sister), is heartbroken when he finds out that she agreed to marry Dev Prakash. Gaurav plots to kill Jayant the same way he killed Dev Prakash, but he fails, and he ends up dead instead in a similar fashion. Jayant, who was advocating not killing anyone with his own hands, eventually ends up becoming a murderer to save his own life but preaches that it was completely in self-defense. As the puzzle pieces fall into place and Jayant hopes that things will go back to normal, he is faced with his phobia of snakes and meets his end.
‘Monica, O My Darling’ Ending Explained: Who Is The Main Puppeteer Here? Who Killed Jayant?
In the first half of the movie, we see Jayant scrambling to clear himself of the murders that are happening. ACP Naidu has her eyes on him, but he continues his innocent act. We know that Dev Prakash was killed by Gaurav, but the other murders are still a mystery. The suspicion goes from one person to another, and eventually, it falls on Jayant, as he is the most likely suspect. In the second half of the movie, Mr. Adhikari’s actions and words start taking a turn that is laced with intent. Making Jayant the director of the board was perhaps just one of his ploys to get the upper hand since he is not on good terms with his biological son. Mr. Adhikari’s words to Jayant, “Just stay with my family,” are laced with intent, as if he means to warn Jayant against leaving his daughter Nikki.
The movie’s climax tells us that it was Mr. Adhikari who was the father of Monica’s child. And that’s all there is when it comes to his part in the story, as he gets Monica killed at the hands of Tamang. Despite the others planning murders or trying to safeguard themselves, it is Gaurav, in the end, who uncovers the truth and goes on a spree to silence them. It is quite comical to see the turn of events unfold. So, to answer the question posed, there is no one main puppeteer. Several people are tangentially involved in the same agenda and end up sabotaging each other, knowingly or unknowingly.
Watching “Monica, O My Darling” reminds one of that concluding line by Alex West from the 1987 movie “Bates Motel” where after the movie concludes, the character tells the audience that if they ever need a room then they can come by the hotel. He further adds that it is not guaranteed what they would find there but whatever it is, it is what makes the world go around. When Monica waits for Nishikant in Mumbai, she is waiting outside a place called Bates Motel. That detail was a blink and miss, but it held quite a lot of significance, for it was from that time onwards that the plan went completely into a messy spiral of events. Jayant’s death was probably the last thing planned. Gaurav was the one who sent those snakes to Arvind and Jayant after Nishikant’s funeral. So, it could be him who kept a snake at his house in Angola, with the “murderers agreement” signed by the trio. But with the way the events have panned out, one cannot be sure if it was indeed Gaurav who planted the snakes or if it was someone else. Did the person even want to kill Jayant, or was he just a casualty?
What Does The Film Tell Us About The Human Psyche?
Director Vasan Bala has a particular style when it comes to showcasing stories in his movies. In “Monica, O My Darling,” there are quite a few instances where the characters are shown up close, as we saw in “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota.” These close-ups help the audience get closer to the character’s emotions and inner thoughts. The neo-noir approach to the films accentuates the emotions well. The movie, as much as it is a whodunit, is also a commentary on the human psyche. In “Monica, O My Darling,” we find that when governed by greed and the fear of loss, humans can stoop to the lowest level. They don’t think before harming anyone. It also shows the hindsight that comes with it. When Gaurav killed Dev Prakash, he committed a perfect crime, but he did not think about what would happen if Shalu were to find out the truth. Nishikant catches him red-handed, and thus Gaurav becomes his puppet. Gaurav even mentions to Jayant later that he won’t commit murder for Nishikant because it is against his principles. This shows his hypocrisy, as not very long ago, he killed Dev Prakash.
For love and to save their faces, people don’t so much as a stop before even thinking of committing a murder. Anything in extremes is bad, and this Vasan Bala directorial just adds to that comment. For love, Gaurav killed Dev Prakash, and to save their faces, the three men, Nishikant, Arvind, and Jayant, plan an elaborate murder of Monica Machado, a woman from their office with whom they have been having an affair. The ease with which Nishikant explains the chronology of the events that would unfold is astounding. It makes one wonder at the intellect of the man for him to have worked out the fine details for a near-perfect cold-blooded murder plan. Arvind preaches about how he is a family man, but at first sight of temptation, he forgets what he preaches and gives in. His behavior only shows the hypocrisy of men, or people at large, when it comes to painting an image of a ‘cultured and family-centric man. Jayant comes from a humble background, as he himself parrots to his girlfriend. He wants to make it big and is ready to sell his soul for it. His affair with Monica would sabotage all his dreams; hence, he readily agrees to silence her forever.
“Monica, O My Darling” is a movie about Monica as much as it is about men. A woman who used her power to rise up the ranks and lead a luxurious lifestyle. She had intimate relationships with men and then demanded money and luxury. She didn’t have to sweat, and she didn’t want to do the hard work either. She thinks she deserves it, and that alone is the justification for her actions. Even with supporting characters like Nikki, Vasan Bala has shown how the situation of modern relationships can change one’s outlook. At Nishikant’s funeral, she is happy that he is dead and is only pretending to be sad. This small incident shines a light on how hatred takes root and how people put on a mask when in society for their own benefit. When attempting to kill Monica, Jayant looks into a mirror. This mirror reflects Jayant, his mental state and the level to which he has stooped for name and fame. It awakened something in him, and he decided to come clean. This mirror is a reflection of his own humble nature and upbringing. But it is soon ruined when Monica dies, and the fight-or-flight mode is restored to him. All the important characters involved in the plan eventually meet their ends, thus concluding their stories. But it also leaves significant questions in its wake. How much farther must one go to achieve their goals? Where is the limit to one’s greed and fear? There has to be a limit, or perhaps an endpoint, to the extent of one’s greed. Passion and the zest to excel are good, but if indulged in too much, they can only lead to one’s downfall. That downfall would be so crushing that it could end up taking everything from a person, even his own life.