Business Rating: Half star
Star cast: Divya Dutta, Ashutosh Rana, Rajit Kapur, Yashpal Sharma, Tinnu Anand, Kitu Gidwani.
What’s Good: Performances of the actors.
What’s Bad: The screenplay; the predictable story.
Verdict: Monica will bomb at the box-office.
Loo Break: Several.
Watch or Not? Watch it, but don’t expect to be entertained.
Ark Widescreen Films, Anup Jalota and Sitara Productions’ Monica (A) is loosely based on the infamous Shivani Bhatnagar murder case.
Monica Jaitley (Divya Dutta) is a journalist in Delhi who can make or break the careers of politicians. Originally a docile girl, she soon realises that there are only two categories of people – the exploiters and the exploited. She begins courting big shots to further her career. After getting married to Raj Jaitley (Rajit Kapur) for love, Monica cajoles newspaper editor Aseem Ray (Tinnu Anand) for position, seduces industrialist Pamela Garewal (Kitu Gidwani) for power and surrenders to politician Chandrakant Pandit (Ashutosh Rana) for all this and more.
Even while the going for Monica is good, she realises that she has gotten herself into a dangerous game where her life is in danger. On the other hand, her marriage is on the rocks. And then, one day, Monica is murdered. Public prosecutor Mathur (Yashpal Sharma) tries to prove that Chandrakant Pandit, Pamela Garewal and Aseem Ray as well as power broker Sandeep Mishra (Dadhi R. Pandey) are the murderers but is he able to establish this with proof?
Story and Screenplay – Monica Review
Sushen Bhatnagar’s script is hard-hitting and talks about the risks involved in taking shortcuts in one’s career as a journalist. While he has been quite clear in his thinking, what lets him down badly is the fact that there is nothing in the script for the audience’s sympathy to go to the victim – Monica Jaitley. For, Monica is shown as an over-ambitious journalist who sleeps with men and women and who can do anything to further her career and to hobnob with the rich and famous. Surely, when Monica is not above board, the viewer’s sympathy does not go to her. Resultantly, the entire courtroom drama fails to create the desired impact or arouse any feelings in the audience’s heart. The public watching the film gets the feeling that Monica should’ve been prepared for the worst as she was playing with fire. With the audience’s sympathy not going to the deceased Monica, the entire drama looks futile because the viewer wonders whom he should root for and whom he shouldn’t support.
More than an emotional drama about a journalist’s murder, the film turns out to be a drab account which leaves the viewer unconcerned. Even the excitement of a wellwritten courtroom drama is completely missing. Dialogues (Sushen Bhatnagar) are ordinary.
Star Performances – Monica Review
Ashutosh Rana does a wonderful job, playing the politician’s character excellently. Divya Dutta does a fine job, conveying her fears and frustration, especially in the second half, beautifully. But having said that, it must be added that the need of the role was a top actress. Rajit Kapur is good as Monica’s helpless husband. Yashpal Sharma makes for an interesting public prosecutor although he doesn’t have many meaty scenes. Dadhi R. Pandey looks every inch the power broker he plays. Tinnu Anand lends good support and so does Kitu Gidwani. Kunickaa is alright. Saurabh Dubey makes his presence felt as chief minister Vohra. Ashish Kapur and Kurush Khodaiji pass muster as the two killers of Monica.
Direction and Music – Monica Review
Sushen Bhatnagar’s direction is fair but the basic flaw in the script – of Monica not being clean – comes in the way of everything else. The background song goes with the mood of the film. In that sense, Raju Rao’s music and background score are alright. Israar Ansari’s lyrics are meaningful. Sets (Prasanjeet) and editing (Santosh Kumar and Aadesh Verma) are routine. Camerawork (Chandan Goswami) is commonplace.
The Last Word
On the whole, Monica is a dull show and will not be able to prove itself at the ticket windows. Resounding flop!