Munjya: Filmmaker Aditya Sarpotdar on why Bollywood falters in making multi-genre films

In a free-wheeling interview, Aditya Sarpotdar told us about his inspiration behind Munjya and what he feels is stopping Bollywood from experimenting with genres

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Aditya Sarpotdar is the director of Munjya

Image Courtesy: Aditya Sarpotdar

This week, the big Bollywood release is Munjya. It is a horror comedy based on a folklore from Maharashtra’s Konkan belt. Filmmaker Aditya Sarpotdar tells us, “I have my hometown in Konkan. Living in Pune, I would visit my ancestral home in Konkan in all my summer holidays. I have heard so many stories about Munjya. Elders have shared scary incidents. I was told not to stand near certain trees or else Munjya will come. The folklore fear with its local eerie quotient becomes a part of our conditioning.” Sarpotadar says that growing up he developed a sense of disbelief thinking they were “just stories”. 

But he says he saw the sentiments were undiminished as people still keep coconuts under trees as prasad for Munjya. “Then, I understood that it is part of everyday life. This cultural belief in folklore so deep in people’s psyche has not been explored in Indian cinema,” he says. Sarpotdar says people went crazy over Kantara not knowing that every part of India has such beliefs passed on from generation to generation. “Cinema does not give importance to this culture. I want to collab with Maddock to bring folklore from Maharashtra. They already had a script being developed for Munjya. I knew I wanted to do it. Everything just came together,” gushes Sarpotdar. 

We have seen how Malayalam and Marathi cinema deliver multi-genre films in a given year unlike Bollywood. Cinema enthusiasts complain how Bollywood follows a formula for the box office. “I feel this roadblock is created by the industry itself. But it is slowly diminishing as people watch content from all parts of the globe. I feel pre-pandemic Bollywood followed a pattern that if an action movie clicked 10 more on the same lines would be announced. They forget that the first one had something unique at a given point to stand out. Also, Bollywood movies are driven by star power. A project like Munjya has to be pushed differently as we have no big names. Film scripts are developed around a star’s personality. Moreover, when big stars do something different their fans also tend to reject them. It is a catch-22 situation,” he opines.

- I feel this roadblock is created by the industry itself

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