Munjya REVIEW: Abhay Verma and Sharvari crank up the scares and laughs in a terror-fic addition to Stree and Bhediya

Munjya, the next horror comedy offering from producer Dinesh Vijan's Maddock horror universe, is directed by Aditya Sarpotdar, written by Niren Bhatt, and stars Abhay Verma, Sharvari, and Mona Singh, with Sathyaraj in a cameo.

MUMBAI: Since the advent of Stree, horror-comedies have really taken off in Hindi cinema. Sure, its origins date back to before with Go Goa Gone and Bhool Bhulaiyaa and several decades before that with Bhoot Bungla, but the sub-genre has really come into its own since Stree, and more so, with the production house behind it, Maddock, weaving an entire horror-comedy universe after Stree with Roohi, Bhediya, and now Munjya. So, does the Abhay Verma, Sharvari, Mona Singh, Sathyaraj starrer match the loftiness of Stree? Well, not quite, but it's also leagues above Roohi, and, dare I say it, a notch or two better than Bhediya, which was no pushover itself.

Delving deep into folklore, Director Aditya Sarpotdar and writer Niren Bhatt thrust us into the dingy bylanes of a quaint, nondescript Marathi village, where a decades-old curse plagues everyone who ventures near an ominous-looking Banyan tree, and in particular, a family who's intrinsically linked with said curse. This narrative is out across simply yet effectively, with a great balance of scares and laughs in the first half. Honestly, the first half is as amazing as Stree or Go Goa Gone.

A slight dip in the second half, coupled with some potholes and a tad disappointing climax just about impedes the progress of the film, preventing it from matching up to Stree or Go Goa Gone. That being said, the impeding blocks aren't as much or as glaring to divert attention from the film. Plus, strong performances from Sharvari, Mona Singh, and a delightful cameo by Sathyaraj tide over whatever lags and holes occur in the script.

The star of the show though is Abhay Verma, who proves to be one of the best rookies in the business. Analogies with a young Aamir Khan or Shahid Kapoor or Ranbir Kapoor in QSQT, Ishq Vishk, and Wake Up Sid wouldn't be far-fetched. Other high points are Saurabh Goswami's camerawork, the set design, and the CGI — among the best till date in Indian cinema — but that's not surprising as every horror entry by producer Dinesh Vijan has aced these aspects. Monisha R. Baldawa could've done better though to march up to his technical counterparts.

Some hiccups aside, Munjya is a lovely trip to the theater for the entire family to engulf itself in a highly entertaining dose of horror and comedy.

4/5 stars


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Submitted by Russel D'silva on Fri, 06/07/2024 - 10:00

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