In the horror-comedy Stree (2018), a disgruntled female spirit abducts men after 10pm during a four-day festival every year. The monster that lends Kakuda its title is even more particular.

The fly-infested goblin-like creature whooshes into Rathodi village at 7.15pm every day. Any man who has failed to keep the smaller side door of his haveli open becomes a hunchback and dies soon after.

Behind this convoluted curse lies a backstory about why Gullak (played by Manish Jadhav with prosthetics) is behaving like a fussy government clerk. When Sunny (Saqib Saleem) becomes Gullak’s latest victim, his recently acquired wife Indu (Sonakshi Sinha) and his friend Bulbula (Aasif Khan) team up with ghostbuster Victor (Riteish Deshmukh) to get to the roots of Gullak’s rage.

Saquib Saleem in Kakuda. Courtesy RSVP Movies/ZEE5.

Aditya Sarpotdar’s Kakuda, although made in 2022, has been released only now on ZEE5 following the recent theatrical success of his Munjya. Kakuda’s screenplay by Avinash Dwivedi and Chirag Garg faithfully follows the Stree template, down to the quirky small-town setting, black humour and the suggestion that characters are not who they seem to be.

The movie has very mild scares, ample tomfoolery, and no ambition of being anything beyond a time-passer. The actors have a good time handling lightweight, agreeably silly material.

Victor’s methods of communicating with the dead are nearly as complicated as Kakuda. Indu and Sunny cavort about like teens who have tasted love for the very first time. Sarpotdar directs the proceedings assuredly and economically, his eye on the clock in the same way as Kakuda.

Kakuda (2024).

Also read:

Why Aditya Sarpotdar’s ‘Munjya’ is a Marathi film at heart, and how its success helped ‘Kakuda’