Horror comedy draws inspiration from popular Konkan folk tales

The poster of Maddock Films’ horror comedy, Munjya. Photo: Hype PR 

Writer duo Niren Bhatt and Amar Kaushik, the minds behind Stree and Bhediya, are bringing a new horror comedy to life in Munjya. This film draws inspiration from a popular Konkan folktale about a mischievous spirit called Munjya that is said to haunt peepal (Ficus Religiosa or Sacred Fig) trees. The story revolves around the restless spirit of a man who died unmarried before a specific ceremony, named Sod Munja.

Bhatt explains, “In a man’s life, there are traditionally considered to be four stages: Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retirement) and Sannyasa (renunciation). The Upanayan or Thread Ceremony, known as Munja in Marathi, marks the initiation of a child into the student phase. Sod Munja is another ceremony, usually performed as part of marriage rituals, signifying the end of the student phase and the beginning of the Grihastha phase.

He goes on, “If a man dies unmarried after his Munja has been performed but before his Sod Munja, he becomes a Munjya, a spirit who resides in peepal trees or near wells. The Marathi expression ‘Baaraa pimplaa varchaa munjya’ refers to someone with a restless spirit, akin to moving from one peepal tree to another.”

Bhatt and Kaushik delved deep into the legend, visiting several places in Konkan where locals believe Munjyas exist. Their research involved reading numerous books, watching real-life encounter videos and of course, talking to the locals, who have their own unique Munjya stories.

Bhatt adds, “Everyone has a munjya story but has never actually met one. Like ‘Kisi ke sar pe baith gaya; kisi ko patthar se maara (He sat on someone’s head; he pelted someone with stones).’ A ceremony is conducted to control the bal rakshas (child demon). He is a monster but a child because he died young. He bothers people to fulfill his desires and usually wants to get married. Munjyas aren’t typically malicious; just juvenile, petty nuisances. They really seem to like pelting stones at those standing underneath trees.”

But in the movie releasing on June 7, the Munjya somehow breaks free of the peepal tree and creates havoc! The horror-comedy for Gen-Z, kids and the whole family also introduces CGI actor ‘Munjya’.

Producer Dinesh Vijan says, “At the heart of it, this is Munjya’s love story and it’s about his first love—Munni. However, he doesn’t get her! If you’ve ever had an obsessive lover or obsessed over anybody, you will understand his POV. If not his, of Munni’s for sure!  Munjya is technologically the most advanced CGI actor out there in India and we are very proud of it. It definitely is going to be a spectacle for children, GenNext and the whole family.”

Starring Sharvari Wagh, Mona Singh, Abhay Verma and Sathyaraj, the film is directed by Aditya Sarpotdar and produced by Dinesh Vijan and Amar Kaushik  for Maddock Films. Sachin-Jigar tune lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya.

The overseas distribution is by Funasia Films and Marudhar Entertainment Network.







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