Rating – *** (3/5)

Timing is so important, isn’t it? Still raking in a bonkers amount of money, the horror comedy from the Stree universe – Munjya hasn’t stopped being a conversation point yet. On the other hand, we are just about a month away from Stree 2, the sequel to the propeller film, Stree. And stuck in between is another horror comedy coming in from director Aditya Sarpotdar, (director of Munjya) in the form of Kakuda. The difference is that the latter is a digital release on Zee5 and isn’t connected to the Stree universe whatsoever.

But it is a horror comedy, something that has managed to crack the best success ratio as a genre in the Hindi entertainment space. But is it too much? Did they get the timing of this film wrong? That and other things highlighted ahead after having seen Kakuda, starring Riteish Deshmukh, Sonakshi Sinha and Saqib Saleem in lead roles.

'Kakuda' Review: Another rooted hilariously spooky tale that lands in bits & parts 906139

The general idea isn’t different here. This is another rooted story of a fictional village in the form of Ratori where legend says and follows that everyone, especially the houses with men, needs to have a small (extra) door and keep it open no matter what after a particular time to allow Kakuda to skip and go on, and if anyone’s house door is shut, Kakuda breaks it open and enters the body to become a hunchback only to make sure that the respective male dies in 13 days.

A fascinating story is always so essential and director Sarpotdar has a knack for working with it now. Despite it being another ‘horror comedy’, the film never feels repetitive and that is a huge accomplishment given the barrage of films from the same genre keep coming in. The fascinating fables of a remote village which has an intriguing backstory and hopefully, a redemption – is always going to be intriguing, if not anything else.

'Kakuda' Review: Another rooted hilariously spooky tale that lands in bits & parts 906140

And Kakuda surely is. Amidst the overall theme is the story of our protagonists, Indira (Sinha) and Sunny (Saleem), who love each other and get married. But now having a hunchback and possibly set to die soon, Indira hires ‘ghost hunter’, Victor (Deshmukh), in an attempt to save her husband. Apart from being on-point with his choice of rooted stories, Sarpotdar manages to have the right technical team to create the effects that give a few good scares and some funny situations as well. The movie has that aplenty but you can visibly see the difference in the sound design and world-building that a feature film like Munjya and Stree invested to create; and what the team of Kakuda has done with limited resources.

One of the biggest loopholes of Kakuda is investing in a long build-up while the effects of it, the aftermath and the final battle seem rather rushed. The animated style of storytelling of the backstory of Gullak aka Kakuda holds your attention but not enough is explored in that realm and the culmination with Ghost Hunter seems quick and convenient. There aren’t those momentary wins and setbacks between the ghost and the people, instead, there is just a lot of internal drama –  some not necessary at all.

'Kakuda' Review: Another rooted hilariously spooky tale that lands in bits & parts 906141

Sinha, Saleem and Deshmukh do their jobs well as you expect of them and somehow, no one quite stands out per se. The potential and possibilities with Deshmukh’s ghost hunter character were endless but it seems rather one-toned and banal. The quirk is added to his look as a tattooed, English-speaking, ghost-loving and human-hating persona but only on the surface and never becomes what it could have become.

Kakuda is another entrant into a genre we love so much now but there might be a sense of bad timing, especially considering the fever of Munjya is still not over and we might only be days away before the madness of Stree 2 takes over. There is no pressure for the film as it won’t be locking horns with anything at the box office but it will still be looking at a spot in people’s watching presence amidst the sea of content out there.