Directed by Vasan Bala, written by Yogesh Chandekar, and based on Keigo Higashino’s “Burūtasu no Shinzō,” “Monica, O My Darling” follows Jayant after he gets a seat on the board of directors of Unicorn Robotics. Since he slides past other potential candidates for the position—Nishikant (Satyanarayan Adhikari’s son), Arvind (the chief accountant), and Tamang (Satyanarayan Adhikari’s right-hand man)—tensions start to mount. But the real kicker comes from Satyanarayan Adhikari’s secretary and the titular Monica, as she reveals that she is pregnant with Jayant’s child. That’s a reason for concern because Jayant is dating Satyanarayan Adhikari’s daughter, and Monica wants to keep the child and make Jayant dedicate a chunk of his salary to its care. However, when Jayant finds out that she’s using the same tactic to blackmail Nishikant and Arvind, they come up with a plan to murder Monica.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Why Does Gaurav Go After Jayant, Nishikant, And Arvind?
It’s revealed pretty early on in the movie that Jayant, Nishikant, and Arvind’s plan didn’t go down well. Yes, they partially dumped a body (“partially” because a leopard foiled Jayant and Arvind’s efforts to bury or drown the corpse), thinking that it was Monica. But she turned out to be alive and well. So, whose corpse did they actually dispose of? That’s right. It is Nishikant. Soon after that, Arvind receives a parcel with a cobra in it and dies from its bite. Jayant receives a similar parcel with a cobra in it. He manages to avoid getting bit by the snake by using his ability to stay up for long hours (which he acquired by studying all night as a child). Jayant suspects that Monica’s behind all this. However, the killer turns out to be Gaurav (who has been tailing Arvind and Jayant all this while overhearing their conversations about the attempt to murder Monica), who pushes Jayant off a building after luring him up there. Miraculously, Jayant survives that, too, by holding onto the ledge and climbing down the pipes (which seems like a callback to “Trapped,” where Rajkummar Rao had to climb down a multi-storey building in a similar fashion).
Still convinced that Monica has killed Arvind and Nishikant and is trying to kill him, Jayant tries to kill Monica. After a brutal fight, Monica says that she isn’t the killer. Yes, she was blackmailing them into making ends meet and then having some more dough to live luxuriously (which serves as a commentary on how sexism in private corporations doesn’t let women rise through the ranks). That said, she says that she did know who the real killer was before drinking the poisoned wine and dying. Given the sea of controversy surrounding him, Satyanarayan advises Jayant to take a break from his job. So, he goes to meet Faridi Baig, who took the fall for Dev Prakash’s death, which was said to be caused by a robot malfunction, but he was actually killed by Gaurav as he couldn’t tolerate Dev marrying Shalu, i.e., Jayant’s sister. Faridi insinuates that Tamang is the one behind all the killings (including Dev’s). Based on that information, Jayant (along with Gaurav) goes to check the records of the last person who used the maligned robot arm and finds out that it’s not Tamang but Gaurav. They get into a fistfight. Gaurav overpowers Jayant and explains the whole story.
On the night of Dev’s murder, Nishikant witnessed Gaurav doing the deed because he was there to burn down the factory as he despised Jayant. Then Nishikant used Gaurav’s crime as leverage and made him install hidden cameras in Jayant’s love nest. Those cameras recorded Jayant and Monica’s affair, and Nishikant used that to torment Jayant. When Nishikant became the “victim” of Monica’s blackmail, though, he ordered Gaurav to kill her on his behalf. Gaurav refused to do so. Hence, Nishikant threatened him with revealing the truth about Dev’s death to Shalu. So, Gaurav killed Nishikant. And when he finds the murderer’s agreement on Nishikant and sees Jayant and Arvind’s names on it, he decides to kill them too, purely out of spite because they consider him to be invisible. It’s Bala and Chandekar’s take on the classic trope of a jilted lover and the societally ignored guy giving in to his murderous intentions. Gaurav blames it on his love for Shalu and on Arvind and Jayant’s disregard for him. However, the fact that he took the life of an innocent man (Dev) proves that those are just excuses and that he’s a serial killer. You can say that the writing around Gaurav is classist. But Jayant, Arvind, and Nishikant’s murderous plans show that villainy is not exclusive to one class of people.
See More: ‘Monica, O My Darling’ Review: Vasan Bala Delivers One Of The Best Indian Neo-Noir Thrillers
Who Killed Monica?
After Gaurav killed Dev, Satyanarayan threw Faridi under the bus in order to save Jayant’s career (because he’s dating Satyanarayan’s daughter and is next in line to take a seat on the board of directors). When Shalu learns about this, she accuses Jayant of killing Dev. In order to clear his name, he goes to Faridi, who accuses Tamang of doing the deed in order to malign Jayant and stop his ascension to the seat on the board of directors. But that clearly turns out to be a false route because Gaurav is the killer. Tamang, though, is guilty of committing another crime. After surviving Gaurav’s onslaught, Jayant calls in the police, and ACP Naidu basically hints that the woman suffering from cataract has identified him as Monica’s killer based on the perfume that he wears. When Jayant thinks he has nowhere to go, Naidu holds a press conference to report that Tamang is the one who has killed Monica because she was pregnant with his child. And that Tamang merely used Gaurav’s style of killing people with snakes as a cover and injected Monica’s wine with snake venom. However, then he felt guilty, consumed the same venom, and died. Small disclaimer: ingesting snake venom isn’t lethal and not advisable at the same time. It needs to be injected under the skin to kill someone. So, you can chalk up Monica and Tamang’s (alleged) deaths to fictional film logic.
That is not the whole truth, though. Yes, Tamang did kill Monica with snake venom. But not because she was pregnant with his child. As per ACP Naidu, Monica was actually pregnant with Satyanarayan Adhikari’s child. She threatened to reveal that information to Nikki. So, he ordered Tamang to “take care” of Monica, and he poisoned her wine and killed her. The price for that was Tamang’s inclusion on the board of directors and a portion of Unicorn’s shares. Since Satyanarayan had no intention of giving Tamang anything, he ordered ACP Naidu to “take care” of Tamang. Although we don’t get to see Tamang’s actual death, we can assume that Naidu straight-up killed him and then made it look like a death by suicide. This twist shows a bunch of things. Firstly, if someone’s name is Satyanarayan, don’t assume that he’s one of the most truthful men walking on planet Earth. Secondly, a person’s apparent benevolence and old age shouldn’t be confused with their actual character. Satyanarayan always appears to be kind and caring. In reality, he’s an exploitative monster with the power to avoid any consequences. And thirdly, the police aren’t your friends, even if they look as efficient as Naidu. They serve the highest bidder, which is Satyanarayan, in this case.
All that said, here is a personal admission (and I am sure this is a mistake that many are going to make). I was going to deride “Monica, O My Darling” for being predictable because it was taking so much time to reveal the person coming after Jayant and Arvind after explicitly showing us that Gaurav was the perpetrator. But Bala and Yogesh purposefully used Gaurav to keep our focus away from Satyanarayan and Tamang, thereby allowing the real twist of the film to hit us square in the chest. Therefore, the lesson here is that you shouldn’t think you are two steps ahead of the film you are watching. If you think you can predict certain plot revelations, it’s usually because the writer(s) and director are feeding you the necessary clues. Those who are good at their job usually take advantage of the audience’s ability to catch signs and indicators and shape their narrative accordingly. So, before you say that a movie (or a show, for that matter) is predictable, sit with it and think if you figured everything out all on your own or because the film wanted you to. Don’t be condescending because you have watched hundreds of movies.
Is ‘Monica, O My Darling’ A Sequel To Vasan Bala’s ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota’?
Before getting to the ending, let us talk about the two (or three?) cameos. Around the 55-minute mark, a tourist (Radhika Madan) and her guide show up near the spot where Jayant and Arvind dumped Nishikant’s body, searching for leopards. The guide refers to the girl as Supri. If you have watched “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota” (which is directed by Vasan Bala), you’ll know that Madan’s character was called Supri, who teamed up with Surya (Abhimanyu Dassani) and Karate Mani (Gulshan Devaiah) to take on the gangster named Jimmy (also Gulshan Devaiah). And if you think that was Dassani furiously drinking a bottle of water and holding back his tears while hearing the news of Monica’s death, you are right. In addition to that, Gulshan Devaiah’s name appears in the “Special Thanks” section during the credits. So, does this all indicate that “Monica, O My Darling” and “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota” exist in the same universe (you can call it the Vasan Bala Cinematic Universe)? Thereby making “Monica” a secret sequel to “Mard”? I’ll just go ahead and say, “Yes, it does.”
“Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota” is one of the best action films to come out of India. It’s a very unique and realistic take on the superhero subgenre. If you take a gander through the internet, you’ll see people frequently requesting the makers to craft a crossover between it and “Bhavesh Joshi Superhero.” But due to the box office failure of “Mard,” there’s no chance that it could’ve gotten a direct sequel. So, I am guessing that Bala has worked a way around it and included both Supri and Surya in this film. At the time of writing this article, I don’t know if Devaiah is actually in the movie in any form. However, I am willing to bet Mani has been released from jail due to good behavior. And if Bala makes a third film set in this franchise of sorts, I bet Supri, Surya, Mani, ACP Naidu, Nikki, Satyanarayan, Shalu, and Jayant are going to cross paths. Now, please remember that these are simply my claims, and only Bala and Netflix can confirm that the connection between his two films is real and not just fun Easter eggs or cameos.
‘Monica, O My Darling’ Ending Explained: Does Jayant Die In His House In Angola?
Finally, let’s talk about the cliffhanger. Jayant knows that Gaurav is behind the deaths of Arvind and Nishikant, and Tamang is the one who killed Monica on Satyanarayan’s behalf. Since ACP Naidu doesn’t bring up the murderer’s agreement, which has Jayant, Arvind, and Nishikant’s fingerprints on it, he realizes that that’s the only thing that will ruin his life. So, he searches for it in the unicorn factory. He looks for it in Shalu’s house. And then he goes to Gaurav’s house in Angola, which seems like a joke because it’s a country located on the west coast of Southern Africa and not someplace in and around Maharashtra (the state where “Monica, O My Darling” is set). Or maybe it’s Bala and Yogesh’s way of reaffirming that Jayant is a blatant liar, and that Nikki is too stupid to understand that Angola isn’t in India. Anyway, Jayant does find the original agreement in a drawer behind Shalu’s picture. As he goes to burn it, two cobras descend from the roof and start snarling at Jayant. The movie obviously cuts to black as soon as Jayant drops the burning letter to avoid revealing Jayant’s fate.
It’s a perfect use of the Chekhov’s Gun (or Chekhov’s Snake, in this case) technique. Gaurav uses snakes to attack Arvind and Jayant. Jayant beats the snake at its game by staying still and looking directly into its eyes. He tells Naidu that he has ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) because someone pranked him as a child by putting a snake in his school bag. Given how Gaurav loves snakes and that he was Jayant’s childhood friend, he’s probably the one behind the prank. And we can also assume that he is the one who placed those snakes in the house when he came to hide the murderer’s agreement. Why? Probably because he assumed that Jayant would eventually figure it out and come looking for the only thing that would ruin his future and then die of snake bites. Is Jayant dead or alive, though? Well, the purpose of an open-ended conclusion is that there’s no right or wrong answer. If you think Jayant made it out alive because he has done it once before, and he deserves to live, then that’s correct. If you think Jayant died because he is ultimately a bad person, then that’s correct as well because that is the beauty of a cliffhanger.
“Monica, O My Darling” is a 2022 Indian Crime Thriller film directed by Vasan Bala.