Weddings are inherently stressful. But when you’re a jilted lover watching your soulmate marry another, a whole new bag of worms can be opened up. Now, what if you throw in the personification of the Mangala Dosha into the mix forcing you to complete a ritual or risk dying before you ever marry? You get Ramone Menon‘s latest horror short, MY SCARY INDIAN WEDDING.
The night before the wedding of Mila (Lexa Gluck) and Vikram (Patrik Rutnam), Asha (Misha Molani) and Mila are readying themselves in their suite. The topic of the Manglik comes up between the two, with Mila explaining to Asha what the Manglik is before showing her an app that can tell you whether or not you are a Manglik. We’ve all been on those kinds of apps before out of fun curiosity, but when Asha discovers she is a Manglik, the night soon turns into a game of life-or-death between her and the demon (Anna Chavez).
A fast-paced, beautifully shot short, the audience is clued in immediately to the horror set-up with the film’s slasher-esque opening: a petrified young woman running to a safe building, a looming evil hinted at coming from behind, and cries left ignored to linger in the air. We’re then thrust back into time, where we see Menon’s familiar blend of technology and the supernatural come into play with this mysterious Manglik app. Never have I felt safer that I’m over the age of 28 (cause apparently, that cancels that shenanigans out…the more you know!)
As we transition from the first phase of the Manglik ritual, whether due to time constraints or budget, the story leaps forward six hours later, with the threat of sunrise around the corner. Unfortunately, this does have the impact of cutting away from potential character development for Asha and rushing through the natural build-up of the scares that MY SCARY INDIAN WEDDING could have.
We get a taste of the terror the Manglik demon can bring as it gets closer and closer. The transition and subsequent in-person introduction to Vikram deliver that further sense of urgency, with each new phase of the ritual upping the stakes. Playing with shadows and angles, the climax is harried and Molani’s acting immerses the audience in her terror as she’s trying to get Vikram with the program. Just as it feels like it’s too late, MY SCARY INDIAN WEDDING cuts to its final scene.
MY SCARY INDIAN WEDDING left me curious and full of questions. With jumps forwards and backward in time, we’re learning as quickly as we are able. Taking into account the entirety of the story, the forward jump cuts, in particular, create a gap in the storytelling that isn’t fully remedied later on. It does just enough to generate curiosity and if expanded into a feature-length film, the questions left to linger in the air will hopefully be answered.
MY SCARY INDIAN WEDDING played as a part of the “10 Years of Fantastic!” – Closing Night Shorts Block at the 2023 FilmQuest Festival.
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