Home Movies Reviews ‘Munjya’ (2024) Movie Review - Another Weak Entry in the Maddock Supernatural Universe

‘Munjya’ (2024) Movie Review - Another Weak Entry in the Maddock Supernatural Universe

Munjya spends so much time delivering clunky expositions that the rhythms become discordant very quickly

Vikas Yadav - Sat, 08 Jun 2024 18:04:56 +0100 683 Views
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The idea behind the Maddock Supernatural Universe is interesting: Create movies around ghosts rooted in Indian folktales and stories. If Stree is based on the legend of Nale Ba, Roohi focuses on a Mudiyapairi. As far as Bhediya and now Munjya are concerned, well, the titles themselves are self-explanatory. But when you judge these movies based on their execution, only Stree manages to score exceptionally. Its horror-comedy tone is balanced perfectly, so you laugh while nervously biting your teeth. Roohi is sorely forgettable, and Bhediya remains bearable till it exists within the dumb fun boundary. As soon as it starts doing social commentary, you find yourself yawning. I was looking forward to Munjya despite the terrible trailer that screamed, "This is going to be boring," because Aditya Sarpotdar is sitting in the director's seat. I liked Unaad and Zombivli and was eager to see what Sarpotdar would do with this Hindi movie.

What he does turns out to be underwhelming. After a solid opening scene, Munjya becomes so jarring it bruises you from within. The cuts that throw the characters from one location to another are so abrupt it takes a few seconds to understand what you are watching. This editing technique, when used deftly, can tell its own story or just be visually rewarding. In Munjya, it works well during one scene where a man is dragged into the bushes by a supernatural entity, and we cut to him screaming inside a hospital. In other places, this style (Monisha R. Baldawa is the editor) feels grating. On top of this, Munjya spends so much time delivering clunky expositions that the rhythms become discordant very quickly. The screenplay, written by Niren Bhatt, dulls your senses with amateurish moments like the one where Suhas Joshi's character assures her grandson, Bittu (Abhay Verma), that she will be on his side as long as she is alive. Of course, she dies almost immediately. Munjya, then, uses her for lazy emotional manipulations. She often appears and disappears from Bittu's sight while weepy music tells us to cry.

Speaking of music, a "la la la la" lullaby sound can be heard occasionally because the titular monster is, after all, a child. He is someone who developed such a massive crush on a woman way older than him that, to woo her, he chose black magic. His plan fails, he dies, and he becomes munjya. It turns out that munjyas are similar to spoiled kids. They throw tantrums and chase the object of their desire obsessively. They look as scary as Chucky. After dispensing unremarkable horror movie routines, Munjya conveys a lesson through this vengeful spirit: Ask the girl what she wants, and consent is necessary. The intentions are clumsily made explicit, and to strengthen its message, the movie provides an absurd ending. Bela (Sharvari) initially mentions that she wants to stay in India and focus on her Zumba classes, but finally, she decides to go to... Brazil? Because she isn't sure what she wants to do with her life? Nothing in the movie prepares you for this development, and it's simply inserted to tell the audience, "Be like Bittu. Listen to the girl instead of forcing her to bend as per your will." The sanitary pad advertisement featuring Akshay Kumar delivers its message more smoothly. I also wanted to know when, why, and how Bela and Bittu broke up? A flashback tells us that he asked her to be his date when they were in college. So, what happened? Did they break up because Bela wanted to go to London? If yes, didn't they consider long distance?

Munjya is almost unbearable until Spielberg (Taranjot Singh) consistently starts sharing the stage with Bittu, his friend. The movie gains a pleasant comic charge with Spielberg's presence. Sathyaraj, as Elvis Karim Prabhakar, is sorely underused here. This character deserved better. The actresses - Bhagyashree Limaye, Sharvari, and Mona Singh - are instantly forgettable, which seems funny, given how the film ultimately ends up being about respecting women. The women are the weakest thing in a movie that wants to elevate them.

The horror movie routines are utterly uninteresting, but Sarpotdar gives them a nice flavor of humor that helps us digest them easily. Somewhere along the line, Munjya becomes a body swap comedy, and there comes a moment when we feel as if the story could reach hilarious heights. I am referring to that scene where one goat and two humans rise up in the air, making you wonder how their souls would get exchanged. You expect a funny, complicated disaster, but the outcome, unfortunately, is kind of meh. Characters, at one point, are seen watching Go Goa Gone in a theater, and you start missing the zingy beats of that Raj and D.K. production. The jokes in Munjya are silly and serviceable. The laughs are inconsistent, but when they come, they almost make you forgive the flaws of this comedy horror. However, you go in with many expectations because of Sarpotdar and come out disappointed. Munjya isn't as witty as Zombivli, and the relationships here aren't as lovingly presented as they were in Unaad. The audience might go to the theaters in large numbers for Munjya because the appeal of the horror-comedy genre is great (my screening was sufficiently packed). Still, this doesn't hide the fact that Munjya is another weak entry in the Maddock Supernatural Universe. I hope Stree 2 emerges as a winner.

Final Score- [4.5/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times



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