Bollywood movies Monica, Oh My Darling and Drishyam 2 once again roped in Japanese author Keigo Higashino, the master of mystery novels.

Huma Qureshi and Rajkummar Rao in Vasan Bala’s ‘Monica, O My Darling’.

Two Bollywood thrillers bookend my week at the cinema: The first (Vasan Bala’s Netflix film Monica, oh my darling) Casually Medhavi, Second (Abhishek Pathak’s Drishyam 2In theaters now) uneven but compelling nonetheless.

Monica, oh my darlingStarring Huma Qureshi and Rajkummar Rao, represents a brilliant convergence of the very old and the very new; While it referenced the films of old masters like Hitchcock and De Sica, its chosen voice is gleefully, breathlessly postmodern, switching between ‘upright’ and ironic modes with practice. Nearly every character in the film (many of whom work for a robotics firm) has zero moral obligations. In the best noir tradition, they focus ruthlessly on achieving their chosen objectives, and the loyalty of the audience is tested.

Abhishek Pathak's 'Drishyam 2' is based on Jeetu Joseph's 2021 Malayalam film of the same name.

Abhishek Pathak’s ‘Drishyam 2’ is based on Jeetu Joseph’s 2021 Malayalam film of the same name.

Drishyam 2On the other hand (as in the first part, malayalam movie Starring Mohanlal) starts off slow before picking up the pace just before the halfway mark and ending on a triumphant note. Ajay Devgn’s Vijay Salgaonkar, who last successfully defended his family against murder charges, has now grown old, maybe a little bored with the world. But his mix of deceptive simplicity, coupled with his attention to detail, remains as entertaining as ever. And the film also finds a way to add new dimensions to Salgaoncar’s cinephile hijinks, which were such an important piece of the puzzle in the original film.

Japanese writer Keigo Higashino

Japanese writer Keigo Higashino

Mystery fiction readers will recognize the connection between Monica, oh my darling and 2015 Drishyam They are both based on stories by 64-year-old Japanese author Keigo Higashino. Drishyam based on the novel Suspect X’s Devotion (Translated by Alexander O. Smith, 2011).

Malayalam director Jeethu Joseph.

Malayalam director Jeethu Joseph.

Malayalam original director and writer Jeethu Joseph has denied the link in the past, but the similarities in the basic concept – one man’s ‘devotion’ leads to the creation of an impossibly elaborate masquerade – are undeniable. Similarly, Monica, oh my darling based on higashino burutasu no shinjoyet to be translated novel (the title means ‘The Heart of Brutus’).

Keigo Higashino's Japanese thriller The Devotion of Suspect X is widely believed to be the inspiration for the Drishyam films.

Keigo Higashino’s Japanese thriller The Devotion of Suspect X is widely believed to be the inspiration for the Drishyam films.

Higashino’s books have become globally popular over the past decade, selling millions of copies. Not only is he one of the most popular authors in Japan (as well as Korea, where he is perhaps the most widely read foreign author), English translations have enhanced his celebrity status around the world. His books are noted for their psychological acuity, informed by old-school Japanese values ​​of honor and bravery, especially when these come into conflict with the motivations of the contemporary world.

inside the secret

Kareena Kapoor Khan will headline Netflix India's official adaptation of Keigo Higashino's 'The Devotion of Suspect X', which also stars Jaideep Ahlawat and Vijay Varma in pivotal roles.

Kareena Kapoor Khan will headline Netflix India’s official adaptation of Keigo Higashino’s ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’, which also stars Jaideep Ahlawat and Vijay Varma in pivotal roles. , Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Higashino’s world is the fact that most of its perpetrators are regular people who commit acts of shocking violence. They are by no means hardened criminals or psychopaths who have an array of neuroses and insecurities. Instead, Higashino is invested in the precise set of circumstances that drive ordinary people up against a wall, until they feel that murder is their only path to salvation.

Like Agatha Christie, Higashino has always been interested in the “constraints” of a given mystery: the closed room, the shared password, the closed information loop presented by small groups of friends and family. This gives his novels an extra edge of tension as the reader is constantly tracking each character.

Both Monica, oh my darling And this Drishyam The films are based on stories that have also been adapted into Japanese films; Clearly, the source material is irresistible to creators around the world.

It was announced by Netflix India earlier this year Kareena Kapoor Khan will lead its official adaptation Suspect X’s Devotion, With the likes of Jaideep Ahlawat joining in, it could be another Higashino winner in 2023.

The author and journalist is working on her first non-fiction book.