Director:Sushen Bhatangar

Cast: Divya Dutta, Ashutosh Rana, Rajit Kapoor, Yashpal Sharma, Kitu Gidwani


Movie review: Monica Lucknow girl Monica Jaitley ( Dutta) shakes off her small-town roots by the easiest route she's set upon, without her really wanting to : sleeping her way to the top. As a star-struck college kid, she is charmed by her mentor Raj ( Kapoor). As a reporter who likes busting scandals, she is taken in by ambitious politician Chandrakant Pandit ( Rana). Her rise is pock-marked by a series of relationships that founder, and she finds herself friendless, paranoid, and afraid for her life.

The film has been generating buzz for its lead character because of the striking similarity to a clutch of women who hit the headlines for various reasons. Monica's brutal end also mirrors the curious of Madhumita Shukla, the Lucknow poet who was killed under mysterious circumstances. A mention of '2G', and ' a telecom minister' also crops up, leaving us to wonder how much of the Niira Radia saga been an influence on the film.

Evidently, there's no dearth of topicality. Every recent murky scandal involving sex, power and politics and vulnerable woman seems to be here. But the film doesn't quite know how to do sleaze without being sleazy : there are parts after which you feel like wiping yourself off. There's a lot of groping and pawing ( one particularly disturbing sequence has a near-naked fellow in bed with a cowering Dutta submitting to his lurid advances), and, oh, women-at-it-too : amongst the many people who uses Monica is a female industrialist ( Gidwani) with a penchant for girls.

This could have been an important film, because it tells an important story of simmering small towns, predators who take advantage of women who never know where to draw the line, the dizzying pulls and pushes of absolute power and corruption. 'Monica' has the intention, and a couple of effective performances, ( it's good to see Ashutosh Rana after such a gap), but doesn't keep up with its execution.

... contd.

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