‘MUNJYA’ REVIEW | 7 June, 2024


Maddock Films’ Munjya (UA) is a horror film. Gotya (Ayush Ulagadde) is a young boy whose mundan ceremony has just been done. He is madly in love with Munni, a girl much older than him. Willing to go against his family and keen to marry Munni, Gotya attempts to sacrifice his sister, Gita (Khushi Hajare), by killing her and offering her blood to the Gods. But he dies instead. As 10 days have not elapsed since his mundan ceremony, his spirit becomes a Brahmarakshas, as is the belief in the village of Maharashtra where Gotya lived with his family. His spirit is tied to the tree under which he died but it troubles the family members who can also see the spirit, now known as Munjya.

Years pass by. Gita is now a grandmother, Ajji (Suhasini Joshi). Her son has passed away under mysterious circumstances, in the same village. Ajji now lives with her daughter-in-law, Pammi (Mona Singh), and grandson, Bittu (Abhay Verma), in the city.

Bittu gets visions of the village but since his mother and grandmother have not told him anything about Gotya/Munjya, he is clueless about the frightening dreams and visions he often gets. He has a dear friend, Bela (Sharvari), whom he loves but is scared to express his love to her. Bela considers Bittu as her true friend. She is in love with Kuba (Richard Lovatt) but is not sure whether she should marry him or not.

A visit to the village takes Bittu to the same tree in which Munjya is trapped. Bittu sees Munjya, and the latter now won’t leave him. What is it that Munjya wants? Is Bittu able to free himself from the clutches of Munjya?

Yogesh Chandekar has written an unusual story about the beliefs and superstitions of a village in Maharashtra. The story is very interesting and has its share of chills and thrills. Yogesh Chandekar has penned an exciting screenplay, with additional screenplay by Niren Bhatt. The screenplay moves at a fast pace and keeps the audience involved right from the word ‘go’. The horror drama is laced with a lot of light moments which come as a refreshing change. The last part of the drama is excellent. The scary atmosphere also helps in creating the right mood. Yogesh Chandekar and Niren Bhatt’s dialogues are appropriate and go well with the mood.

Abhay Verma plays Bittu very effectively. He gets into the skin of the character. Sharvari looks pretty and acts with effortless ease as Bela. Her dance is very graceful. Ayush Ulagadde is extraordinary in the role of Gotya/Munjya. His dubbing (as Munjya) is first-rate. S. Sathyaraj stands his own as the magician/priest. Mona Singh makes her presence felt as Pammi (mother of Bittu). Suhasini Joshi shines as Ajji. Taranjot Singh is marvellous as Bittu’s cousin, Spielberg. Ajay Purkar makes his mark as Balu Kaka. Bhagyashree Limaye leaves a fine impression as Rukku. Khushi Hajare is confident in a tiny role as Gita. Shrikant Mohan Yadav is natural as Jaggu. Richard Lovatt is entertaining as Kuba. Radhika Vidyasagar is good as Balu Kaka’s wife, Savitri. Shruti Marathe and Anay Kamat are natural in the roles of Gotya’s mother and father. Padmini Sardesai is endearing as Akka. Dhananjay Sardeshpande makes his mark as the old man who predicts that Gotya’s spirit will become Munjya. Abeer Jai (as young Bittu) and Shilpa Sodiyan (as young Bela) lend able support. Others are adequate. Varun Dhawan’s cameo appearance (with Abhishek Banerjee) in the last scene comes as a pleasant surprise.

Aditya Sarpotdar’s direction is lovely. Not only has he narrated the horror subject effectively but has also succeeded in creating the right atmosphere for chills and thrills. Sachin-Jigar’s music is excellent. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are very nice. Song picturisations (by Vijay Ganguly and Ruel Dausan Varindani) are eye-filling. Justin Varghese’s background music is wonderful and adds to the horror quotient. Saurabh Goswami’s cinematography and Sanathana K. Ravichandran’s additional cinematography (for the song picturisations) are lovely. Action and stunt scenes (by Darrell Mclean, R.P. Yadav and Riyaz-Habib) are thrilling. Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty’s production designing is a good standard. Monisha R. Baldawa’s editing is super-sharp.

On the whole, Munjya is an entertaining fare and will keep the distributors happy.

Released on 7-6-’24 at Inox (daily 7 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru PEN Marudhar Cine Entertainment. Publicity: dull. Opening: average. …….Also released all over. Opening was ordinary everywhere. (Some late-night shows of the film were held in different cities on 6-6-’24.)