Munjya has raked in over Rs 100 crore at the domestic box office without much promotions. The movie doesn’t even boast an impressive star cast, but can surely boast of strong word of mouth.

We sat down with the film’s director, Aditya Sarpotdar, to discuss the horror comedy’s success and more.

In the end credit scene of Munjya, we see a crossover between Munjya and Bhediya. Is there a possibility of seeing Munjya in Stree 2? Aditya says that there is a possibility.

Talking about the cross-connection between different characters in the Maddock horror-comedy universe, Aditya said, “There is a plan on how Munjya will come into this whole universe, just like how Bhediya after the first film will come into the universe. There are these larger plans in mind. But the larger point was that we connect Bhediya to Munjya and that’s why you see Varun Dhawan in a scene and not Rajkummar Rao or Shraddha Kapoor. The idea was to have a stronger connection because I am sure that the Bhediya sequel is being planned where there will be a larger connection between Bhediya and Munjya. We will then have a few more characters come into this universe where there will be these cross-connections and integrations in other films.”

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Festive offer

There was also chatter that either Alia Bhatt or Shraddha Kapoor would star in Munjya, but that didn’t happen. Opening up about the changes being made in the original draft of Munjya’s script, Aditya shared, “Yogesh Chandekar, the writer of the film, had seen this film as a female protagonist film where the conflict was that she was in love with her best friend. who was a teenager. It was that angle that was being brought in the narrative.”

“When I came onboard and read the script, I said that I did not identify with the social referencing in the film as I don’t understand it and it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on it either. I saw the film about these two guys who are in a position in life, in the same space where they were in love with an older girl. The hero respected and looked at her in a very sensitive manner. He believed in consent, rather than this guy who was obsessed and crazy about this girl he was in love with and went to the extent of getting her killed,” he added.

During the conversation, Aditya revealed why he didn’t want Munjya to be “female-centric”. He said, “I wanted these two parallels together. I thought people would understand it better if there are two guys in the same direction. Dinesh (Vijan) understood this. Yogesh also agreed with this approach. I was adamant about not casting an older man because love at first sight and the referencing with an older man gets awful and it is somehow very cliched now. We keep seeing these old men falling in love with younger girls. I wanted a 19-year-old who feels he’s fallen for an elderly girl. He is at a stage in life where he doesn’t necessarily understand what life is and that’s his journey. That’s how Abhay came on board. He fits the part. He looks that age and is believable.”

Aditya Sarpotdar then opened up on why Abhay Verma was cast in Munjya, even after considering actors like Rajkummar Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana. He said, “We auditioned a lot. We were looking for new, younger talent. We didn’t want to cast someone older. It would be very easy to approach Rajkummar Rao or Ayushmann (Khurrana), but we stuck to wanting to cast a 19 or 20-year-old boy. We reached out to all the casting agents and auditioned multiple boys, including The Archies group of boys, the young stars and aspiring actors who are from the web space. You see a lot of them in this age group doing content on OTT. What the producer was also clear about is that we wanted to put this guy as the poster boy on a film, so we didn’t want somebody who has been there, don’t that. So we went for a completely fresh talent.”

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Munjya is based on a Maharashtrian folklore. When asked if the makers ever thought that it would be a limiting idea as people beyond Maharashtra are not very familiar with the story, Aditya says, so was Kantara, as it was specifically rooted in one state.

Aditya says Kantara’s success gave them the courage to tell a rooted story. He said, “Since it was a story from Maharashtra, and not only a story, but a folklore story of Maharashtra, it gave me more confidence that this film will be loved by a bigger audience. This confidence came from a couple of things that were happening around us in the last 2-3 years. The way Kantara became euphoric, the way people loved that movie in spite of it being totally local and rural in its own sensibility and how that whole cultural referencing in the movie went crazy in the country. So I knew that if it (the story) is rooted, if it’s a story of the land and the culture it comes from and if it is exciting and interesting then people will watch it.”