My Scary Indian Wedding

Ramone Menon grew up in what he describes as a “fairly modern and liberated household” in India — but it was still besieged my superstitions. He explores one of them in the sharp new short film “My Scary Indian Wedding,” which wittily merges the Indian-wedding film genre with horror to examine shifting cultural expectations.

The fast-moving film follows a cursed bridesmaid who is forced to track down and marry her soulmate to escape the wrath of a terrifying demon known as The Manglik.

“I grew up in India where we constantly witnessed a dichotomy between the modern and the old worlds,” says Menon, who wrote and directed the film and is now based in Los Angeles.

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“On the one hand, the Hindu religion liberates us from any doctrine that dictates dos and don’ts; on the other hand, the same religion binds us to certain rituals that seem superfluous, to me, in modern times. I believe some of the rituals have less to do with religion and more to do with man-made superstitions.”

What Is a Manglik?

So what is the Manglik? In the film, Indian bridesmaid Asha (Misha Molani) gets a mini-lecture about it from the white bride, Mila (Lexi Gluck).

“‘Manglik’ is just an astrological position in a person’s horoscope and is completely non-threatening if seen objectively,” Menon explains. “Driven by superstitions, however, there is a lot of stigma and taboo around a ‘Manglik woman’ within certain Indian people. Sometimes these superstitions impede a woman’s ability to get married and be accepted into her spouse’s family.”

He took some creative liberties to represent the Manglik as a bloodthirsty demon orchestrating a “game of death” challenge to Asha.

“I am a big fan of movies like Saw and Battle Royale, so I wanted to try my hand at this subgenre. I wanted to blend the “game of death” with the “haunted house” subgenre’s style and tone of films like Insidious. Jump scares get a bad rap, but I personally love them. In my opinion, when a horror movie doesn’t use scares that make you physically react, it’s like making a comedy with no laugh out loud moments,” he says.

A deeper read of “My Scary Indian Wedding” invites interpretation around societal pressures for women to settle down and marry. But Menon thinks the movie rises or falls based on whether it manages to scare you.

“If one person (other than my mother) tells me that this movie is actually scary, I would be thoroughly satisfied,” he says.

Ramone Menon, writer-director of “My Scary Indian Wedding,” at FilmQuest.

Where ‘My Scary Indian Wedding’ Is Going Next

“My Scary Indian Wedding” is next coming to HorrOrigins in Tucson, Australia’s A Night of Horror film festival, and FilmQuest, one of MovieMaker’s 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.

The film was shot by Tommy Oceanak, a Los Angeles-based cinemartograher whose credits include a TV pilot for executive producer Danny Garcia, a producer for HBO; a digital series pilot for MGM that will stream on SnapChat; and a reality series called Engine Masters that airs on Velocity network. In 2021, he shot Witch Hunt, which played at SXSW, the horror-comedy Snow Valley, and a mockumentary called Booty Boys. He has also made digital content for MotorTrend, the BBC, Refinery 29, Shots Studios and Buzzfeed.

Menon’s previous works include the shorts “Once Upon a Time in a Haunted House” and “The Pey,” which he is developing into a feature. HIs films have played at festivals including the LA Shorts International Film Festival, FilmQuest, Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival, and Renegade Film Festival.

You can also check out some of the soundtrack for the film, by Thomas J. Peters, here.

Main image: Misha Molani in “My Scary Indian Wedding”