Thought-provoking films are not easy to make. Monica belongs to the genre where a narrator tells a tale that makes the audience sit up and think. But the narration in this film is not up to par. The film’s dialogue is an even bigger drawback – it’s raw and hackneyed.
Powerful performances must be backed by powerful dialogue to double the impact. Unfortunately, the dialogue in Monica is average while the performances yo-yo from average to good to very good. That’s where this film misses the plot!
Another drawback is the film’s screenplay. It’s sketchy! And instead of making you think, it makes you wonder – hello, what’s going on! Whether the courtroom drama, the conversation between Ashutosh Rana and Divya Dutta or why Rajit Kapoor starts behaving like a maniac – everything is sketchy.
The film starts nicely, when you see Rajit Kapoor behave in a rather inexplicable manner. It’s intriguing and generates anticipation. Next, the characters are introduced and you’re glued to the screen. However, you’re soon wondering – why, why, why? Thus, what could have been a treat for the audience turns out to be a nightmare, almost.
Making matters worse is the pace – it slows and you’re introduced to a too many sub-plots. The sheer number of unnecessary scenes dilutes the film and it loses its grip on the audience. Also, instead of generating sympathy for Monica, advocate Yashpal Sharma, in the courtroom scene, makes you want to laugh.
About the story… The film follows a court case after the murder of Monica, a journalist caught in a political scam. The film revolves around a politician, Chandrakant Pandit, who will go to any extent to achieve his dreams; an editor of a newspaper, Aseem Ray, who also dreams of success; and an industrialist, Pamela Garewal, who wields considerable clout by virtue of her wealth. Mathur, the public prosecutor in the murder case, wants justice. What follows next forms the crux of the film.
But the movie leaves too many questions unanswered. If Divya Dutta has the courage to have Ashutosh’s baby, why is she having an affair with Kitu Gidwani and claims she has been cheated? Why did she run away? Why is Ashutosh promoting Monica? If Rajit is in a state of depression, why is he still with Monica?
Director Sushen Bhatnagar not only fails as a writer but also as a director. Editing is loose. Background music is uninspiring.
Performance-wise, Divya Dutta is terrific but only in bits and parts. She’s a talented actress and there was no need to ape Shah Rukh Khan. Ashutosh Rana is fantastic. Rajit Kapoor is good but loud at times. Yashpal Sharma is disappointing. Tinu Verma is okay. Kitu Gidwani impresses, again.