Munjya Movie ReviewMunjya is the third film in the Stree-verse - if you need proof, wait for the mid-credit scene that features two cameos. Directed by Aditya Sarpotdar of Zombivli fame, the film is inspired by the folklore around the Konkan region of Maharashtra. After men-killing female spirits and werewolves, this time, it is the turn of a murderous little demon, a brahmarakshas, to spread terror, though not so murderous as to preclude laughter. Munjya has a good plot, a fascinating titular villain, and competent actors, yet it doesn't completely realise its potential. Munjya Stars Sharvari Wagh and Mona Singh Seek Blessings at Siddhivinayak Temple With Co-star Abhay Verma (Watch Video).

Munjya begins in 1952 in a village in Konkan. A young boy, dangerously infatuated with his older neighbour, "Munni," tries to sacrifice his younger sister in a black magic ritual to obtain the love of his life. Instead, he gets killed, and rituals are performed to trap his spirit within the tree where he died. The boy's spirit becomes Munjya, waiting decades for a blood relative to come and free him from the tree and help him find his "Munni."

That unfortunate relative happens to be his grand-nephew Bittu (Abhay Verma), a wimpy hairstylist who works at his Punjabi mum Pammi's (Mona Singh) parlour in Pune. He is doted on by his paternal grandmother (Suhas Joshi) and is in love with his childhood friend Bela (Sharvari Wagh). Bela, who is older than him by age, only sees Bittu as a friend, and she has a white boyfriend.

Watch The Trailer of Munjya:

Bittu visits his dead dad's hometown with his mother and grandmother for his cousin's engagement. It doesn't take long for Bittu to encounter Munjya. Still, the circumstances leading to their meeting felt contrived, forced, and rushed, making Bittu appear utterly foolish for wandering into a forbidden place. I also wish there was more buildup for Munjya's introduction after the prologue.

Munjya Movie Review - An Engaging First Half

Anyway, Munjya—who looks like someone gave a modded skin to Gollum—latches onto Bittu, kills someone close to him, and then tortures him to help find "Munni". So far, not bad. The humour may not match Stree or even Bhediya (that Himesh gag still makes me chuckle), but the actors' comic timing and some situational comedy make things quite easygoing. It must be appreciated that despite Munjya's not-so-novel appearance, he is given an intimidating persona, though some associated jumpscares don't have the same impact.

A Still From Munjya

The writing and editing, however, leave much to be desired. Like with Bittu's first encounter with Munjya, there are several situations that felt unconvincing, even for a film about a devilish, horny imp. For example, the mother's track. Mona Singh is noticeably absent in the middle act, which is strange considering she plays an over-protective mother, and her character has so much potential. Bhediya Movie Review: Varun Dhawan-Kriti Sanon's Film Gets Its Furry Kicks From Competent VFX, Scene-Stealing Abhishek Banerjee and the Funniest Himesh Reshammiya Joke.

Munjya Movie Review - A Contrived Second Half

The balance between humour and horror feels off, particularly in the second half. When a man's, erm, balls get torn off, the film wanted me to laugh at the situation, but I found myself nonplussed because the character didn't deserve that grim fate. I also don't know what to make of the protagonists bringing a character into a dangerous situation without that person's knowledge, despite the huge risk to their life, not to mention the silly manner in which he pulls it off.

A Still From Munjya

Sathyaraj's character, introduced in the second half as this film's version of Peter Vincent (any Fright Night fans out there?), could have been interesting. Hindi audiences whose only introduction to the versatile Sathyaraj is through Meenamma's uber-serious Appa in Chennai Express or the fiercely loyal Kattappa in the Baahubali movies get to see a comic side of the actor.

A Still From Munjya

However, the character is treated as a convenient exposition device and human deus ex machina, losing that quirkiness in a couple of scenes. Stree Movie Review: Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor's Horror Comedy Delivers Big Time on Laughs and Frights.

Munjya Movie Review - The Mixed Bag of a Finale

The finale has quite a lot going on, from soul-switching to mutton-eating, but at times it is too nonsensical, predictable, and a little too loud. The loudness can be blamed on the background score, which even makes some of the dialogue feel gibberish. The VFX, particularly the makeup and creature design, is quite decent for a film made, I guess, on a modest budget.

A Still From Munjya

The performances are the saving grace, and they easily make the film at least a one-time watch. Abhay Verma is quite natural and captures the frailty and innocence needed for his character. His chemistry with Taranjot Singh, who plays his videographer cousin "Spielberg", is quite good, though they deserved better lines and gags. Sharvari Wagh gets to shine, particularly in the third act. Whoever did the dubbing for Munjya also deserves some praise.

Munjya Movie Review - Final Thoughts

Munjya isn't a bad film per se. It is entertaining in parts and even mildly scary at times. The performances are quite good, particularly of the young Abhay Verma. The film lacks consistency, though, and doesn't make good use of some of its quirky material. Compared to the previous Stree-verse movies, Munjya ranks the lowest among the three films, and the diminishing progression of quality should be a cause for worry for this franchise that is set to bring in Stree 2 in a couple of months.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 07, 2024 10:04 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website