Munjya: A Scream and a Half

Article Authored by Saahil Gupta

“Fairytales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairytales tell children that dragons can be killed.” A quote at the beginning of the film.

The movie starts with the scene of a thread ceremony in Konkan. While the attires deliver to some extent, the language of speaking is nowhere near to the original to give away the essence of the setting. To make up for it, the use of a pretentious Marathi accent is evident.

This scene flows into a scene where a teenager: Gotya, smitten by an older girl: Munni heads to a forest to perform rituals and human sacrifice to attain her.

The scene does induce some feeling of fear interrupted by humour at about the perfect time.

But after that, the humour seldom succeeds in delivering.

The story then fast forwards to Pune, where the few visuals of the city are the only thing that reflects the culture. While the makers added an unnecessary video of Puranpoli in making (which in a later scene looks like aloo ka paratha), it just didn't fit well.


Picture Courtesy : Instagram

The acting is mediocre and the visuals paired with the background music make up for it to a limited extent. While the visuals of sea waves, lightning, the music scores and lighting are good enough to build the intensity of the scene, the appearance of Munjya just makes it all fall flat. There are a few jump scares here and there but just enough for the film to qualify as a horror.

The dialogue writers seem to have not put in much effort either. The dialogues are plain and predictable often to be taken at surface value, lacking humour and depth.

When it comes to the CGI-generated Munjya, the efforts put in are evident but the output fails to deliver. Nonetheless, a good start for progress in the film industry. The audio for the character however is shrieky and far from scary, irritating to say the least.

Picture Courtesy : Instagram

The way the story unfolds isn't very intriguing either. It seems forced.

The processing of the emotions of the characters is off too. A person meeting with a demon haunting his dreams for years finally meets him and all that's enough for him to get back to normal is his grandmother saying "Nothing can harm you till I'm alive" who by the way dies immediately after this sentence. Would've been a good comic twist but wasn't portrayed that way either, instead converted to an emotional mess that fails to connect or evoke any emotion.

Munjyas, who aren't typically malicious, just juvenile are portrayed rather differently in the film. There was no innocence or social conscience that summed it all together in the end. We could take away how to face fears, or how love mustn't be forced but was it enough?

The horror scenes are predictable and have the typical Hollywood horror move of going towards the devil rather than using your brains and staying put.

While the use of the song "Munni badnaam hui" is spot on, the horror-comedy lacks humour in general.

The film, promised to be a story of unrequited love is not. Munjya, in search of the love of his life instantly is wooed by her granddaughter and has the urge to marry her. This could have been portrayed better in many ways but wasn't.

The climax too was predictable and failed to establish who the actual audience of the film was intended to be.

Maddock films set the bar too high with Stree (2018) which was more than just seen on screen. It was bursting with social consciousness and women empowerment. The presence of at least that would have made the film a little better.

All in all, though, you can watch it once but wait for the release on OTT.

The film ends with a spicy post-credit scene you do not want to miss, so if that's an incentive enough, head to the theaters.

All in all, the first half is ok, the second is mediocre and the film is dragged a little more than it should've.

Did it satisfy the folklore aficionados or live up to the expectations around it? Debatable.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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