Makdee is a 2002 Indian movie which is often termed as a children’s film but I guess it is quite far from that genre because it has all the elements of a great horror and thriller film. The protagonist of the story is a girl named Chunni, who loves fooling and pranking everyone in her village including her widowed father, grandmother and identical twin Munni. However, since everyone around the village knows about Chunni’s mischievous nature, she often impersonates Munni to get out of trouble, who is the exact opposite of her sister- shy, studious, obedient and naive. Now legend goes that a witch called Makdee resides in a haunted mansion situated in Chunni & Munni’s village and whosoever wanders into the mansion, comes out as an animal due to which everyone keeps away from this mansion. But one day, Chunni’s prank causes Munni to enter the witch’s mansion and the witch turns her into a hen. Chunni strikes a deal with Makdee that she will offer Makdee 100 hens in exchange for Munni in human form. The film starts with Chunni’s story of trying to save her sister from the evil witch unbeknownst to her family and villagers, but the story slowly starts introspecting the logic and rationality behind superstitions and witchcraft.
Cast & Crew
Makdee marked the remarkable debut of Vishal Bhardwaj, who is now considered one of the best filmmakers, writers and music directors of Indian cinema and this film truly showcases his ability of experimenting with different genres and crafting amazing characters and plots. Also, kudos to Bhardwaj for directing the child actors so well. The music is also as good as Bhardwaj’s direction and maintains a great balance between the scary parts and the funny parts. Even though one of the most famous songs of the soundtrack is “Panga” but my favourite song is “Mai”, beautifully written by Gulzar showcasing Chunni’s past along with her fear, sadness and helplessness.
Hemant Chaturvedi does an exceptional job with the cinematography by capturing the supposed witch and her haunted mansion in a very creepy and eerie manner and what is even a horror movie without the spine chilling low angle shots with low lighting which makes this film so spooky.
Like any Vishal Bhardwaj movie, Makdee too has its fair share of supporting actors who add so much more to the story. But before getting to the supporting actors I would like to take a moment to appreciate Shweta Basu Prasad for such an amazing debut performance. She portrays both Chunni and Munni’s role with such sincerity that it feels that they are played by different people. With a debut like this at such a young age Shweta proved her caliber as an actor and I genuinely feel that she deserves better roles and scripts to showcase what a great actor she still is. Even though Chunni was the protagonist of the story, the most memorable and adorable character for me was Mughal-e-Azam portrayed by Aalap Mazgaonkar, who was equally honest in his portrayal of Chunni’s loyal friend and classmate. Another memorable supporting character from Makdee was Kallu Kasai portrayed by the amazing Makarand Deshpande, who adds so much humor to story with not just his dialogues but also physical comedy.
Okay so in all honesty I did not know for the longest time that Shabana Azmi was Makdee and I don’t know if I should credit the costume designer and make-up artist for this or the director for writing such an epic villain and character. However, it does validate a fact that there is no role or character in the world that Shabana Azmi can’t pull off. And maybe pulling off is an understatement because she makes her character to believable and scary that it still scares the shit out of me.
In spite of being a movie buff there is one genre of films that I have always consciously stayed away from and that is HORROR. So back in 2002 when this movie release I was fairly oblivious to the fact that this is actually a horror-thriller because back then the concept of movie trailers was quite different compared to now and movies were promoted on the basis of their music and music videos. All I knew about Makdee was from the song “Panga” which seemed like a fun and cute song and went ahead to watch the movie. Little did I know that fate had other plans and I would end up watching my first horror film. But honestly it turned out to be such a great movie experience and I was glad I watched it. I feel that watching certain movies as an adult gives you perspective about so many things, especially films made for children because they have such subtle messages within the story. Watching Makdee as an adult also made me realise that this movie has aged really well because concepts of witchcraft and superstitions are still so relevant in our society and country. A kid watching this movie will definitely learn the importance of rationality over false beliefs and isn’t it great that a movie like this has the ability to shape young minds. The movie has also aged well because of its humor quotient which is clean and so hilarious with a lot of laugh out loud kind of moments amongst all the creepiness. Released in a year where films like Devdas, Saathiya, Kaante and Company were ruling the box-office, Makdee still holds its ground due to its tight and crisp narrative. Even though I still don’t watch horror films but I do get hooked to the screen whenever Makdee is playing on the television.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.