‘Tumbbad’ review: A fresh and fascinating story

Movie: Tumbbad

Stars: ****

Directors: Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi, Adesh Prasad

Cast: Sohum Shah, Harish Khanna, Ronjini Chakraborty, Anita Date, Mohd Samad, Jyoti Malshe, Dhundiraj Prabhakar Joglekar, Deepak Damle

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]umbbad sets out to be a horror film, but more than the chills, with its stunning visuals and child like wonder, it gives you a super rich cinematic experience.

Tumbad comes with a fresh and fascinating story (screenplay written by Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahi Anil Barve and Anand Gandhi), while creating a world which immediately makes you part of it. Set in the early 1900s, Tumbbad is the name of a cursed village where there is a palace with the hidden treasure. Young Vinayak Rao, the illegitimate child of the sarkar of the palace, is keen to find the treasure, no matter what the consequences. For now, he’s stuck in the village and his dilapidated house with a brother, mother (Jyoti Malshe) and the grandma, who is in a human animal form, bound by chains and you only get glimpses of her with her fear inducing moans and groans. There is a magic sentence that works to make her sleep… ‘So jaa nahi to Hastar aayega….’ Hastar is the mythical diety, who is said to be keeping a watch on the treasure. The crumbling palace, the presence of the grandmother and the constant rain makes for an eerie set up, thus setting the tone for this unique film.

Soon, the family is stuck with double tragedy which makes them flee Tumbbad leaving the grandmother behind, in spite of Vinayak’s reluctance to leave the treasure. His greed brings him back to the village fifteen years later. Vinayak (Sohum Shah) is now not afraid of the grandmother or any consequences, as he thinks he has full right over the treasure that he’s going to find. Only, he doesn’t anticipate the price he has to pay after he unravels the secret behind the treasure. After having discovered the treasure, Vinayak leads a life of debauchery, misogyny and arrogance, and finally ruining his own life with his greed.

Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed’ is used in the beginning of the film and is an apt reference to the story that unfolds. Rahi Anil Barve and Anand Gandhi’s direction is consistent and confident.

The story is narrated more from the two children’s point of view, first Vinayak and then his son (played by Mohammad Samad) and thus reflecting the childlike wonder and belief in the unbelievable. The world around the central characters are created with such precision that no detail is left out. The amazing production design by Ntin Zihani Choudhury and Rakesh Yadav coupled with breath-taking cinematography by Pankaj Kumar makes this a visual delight. Soham Shah (who is also the producer of the film ) plays the grey central character Vinayak and he gets into the character with much passion. However, it is the young actor Mohammad Samad who steals your heart with his sincere performance.

Watch this film for sure, because there is nothing much that you get to watch in the horror genre in Bollywood and this one delivers more than it promises.