12/24/2019 06:47

Film: Tumbbad

Year: 2018

Director: Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi and Adesh Prasad

Writer: Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahi Anil Barve and Anand Gandhi

Starring: Sohum Shah, Jyoti Malshe and Anita Date



This was a film that I caught during December when I was trying to compile my top 10 of the year. I heard a couple of people from social media speak very highly of this film as well as a podcast where one person had this make their list as well. Outside of a little of what was told, I came in pretty blind. The synopsis is a mythological story about a goddess who created the entire universe. The plot revolves around the consequences when humans build a temple for her first-born.

For this, it is told in 3 chapters. The start of it, we learn about the goddess that is in the synopsis. Her first born is Hastar. He is not to be worshipped, because his mother created the heavens and all of the other gods. Hastar got greedy and went for the unlimited gold his mother produced. When he then went for the grain, the other gods and goddesses locked him in the womb of his mother.

The story then begins when Vinayak (Dhundiraj Prabhakar Jogalekar) was a child back in the 1920s. He lives with his mother, Jyoti Malshe, as well as his brother. Every day she has to make food for their grandmother. There’s a curse on her that she sleeps all day and we soon see there’s something very wrong. Things take a turn when she attacks Vinayak and his brother has an accident.

For chapter 2, it takes place where Vinayak is now Sohum Shah. He’s married to Vaidehi (Anita Date) and they’re living a meager life. He goes to Tumbbad, where he grew up to find that his grandmother is still alive. It is through her he is searching for the treasure that supposedly Hastar had. He is also working with Raghav (Deepak Damle) and we see what the greed of man will do.

The final chapter takes place when India has obtained its freedom. Vinayak and his wife now have children. He takes his oldest to Tumbbad and we see the effects his greed has on him as well as his family. This god might actually exist like the legend states as well.

Now for this review, I wanted to go a bit light on the recap as I really think that it needs to be experienced. This movie is very visually stunning in how it presents things as well as just the look overall. To get into the story, I love the legend that we’re given to start out. This isn’t a tale too different from other mythology, but I don’t know a lot about Indian culture. I like how this is presented through images carved into stone with a bit of animation there.

The different chapters are interesting as well. Early on we get introduced to the modest life that Vinayak lives in. He is really interested in the legend and trying to see if the fortune really exists. We can see that greed runs deep with him where his mother really just wants to be able to support her children and keep with the old rituals. As an adult, we see that Vinayak really wants more and what the effects of his decisions have on his children. I really enjoy not only this as an allegory, but also as a cautionary tale.

I’ve already moved over to this a bit, but this is visually stunning. It is always raining in Tumbbad for what happened in the past which makes it look so dreary there. We also see the castle is rundown and that is what happens to Vinayak’s place as he uses the gold he takes for worldly pleasures. His wife is very similar to his mother and I think they’re more in line with the culture of the country overall. Vinayak seems more like an American or a capitalist with his greed. This just has some shots that are absolutely beautiful to look at.

From here I want to take this to the pacing of the movie, which I thought was pretty solid. This is definitely more a slow burn I would say. That’s not to say that nothing happens though or that we don’t get some creepy images. The grandmother is quite terrifying and had me feeling uncomfortable. The same can be said for Hastar. This runs about 105 minutes though, so we definitely get some downtime for it build the story. I would say that I like how it ends and would be curious for the aftermath as well.

As for the acting, I thought it was good across the board. Shah is great as Vinayak. He’s such a jerk to be honest. We can see from an early age as Jogalekar that he’s greedy. It is just part of his nature. It gets worse the more he fuels it and we get a bit of the sins of the father are realized to the son as well. Malshe was fine in her role as the one who’s trying to show him the right way of doing things. I feel bad for Date. She is a good wife, but she is really neglected by her husband. He thinks that just providing for her financially is enough and no matter what she’s there for him. Ronjini Chakraborty also plays his mistress. I don’t like that he’s cheating, but she is quite attractive if I’m going to be honest. I thought the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed as well.

I need next to cover the effects of the film, which I did have some slight issues. I thought the effects on the curse for the grandmother looked good. I’m not sure if they’re CGI or practical, but I was on board there. The only issue I had was the more you can see with Hastar, the more I didn’t care for it. It was creepy at first when we were just getting glimpses. There’s not a lot in the way of effects aside from this. I did already say that this is shot amazingly well.

The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack. We get three spots here where it goes semi-montage and we get some Indian singing. These were made for the movie as they’re giving us some exposition and deeper story, so I like them for that aspect. The other films from this country I’ve seen tend to use musical numbers even in films that aren’t musicals, so I’ll take what we got here. I do think they fit for what was needed as well.

Now with that said, I really ended up digging this movie. I’m a big fan of mythology and like to learn more about other cultures. I’m also a fan with a bit of allegory or cautionary tale, which we get here with the greed aspect. It is really fitting as an American to see this play out, even if it is in a different country. I thought things played out well, it is paced more of a slow burn, but I tend to like movies like that. That is not to say we don’t get some creepy things or action in general. The acting was good, the effects are hit or miss if I’m going to be honest, but it is shot beautifully. The soundtrack isn’t necessarily my bag, but I do like how they use for sure. I will warn you, this is from India, so I watched it with subtitles on. If that’s an issue, move along. If not, I feel this to be really good and is going to contend as one of my favorites of the year.


My Rating: 9 out of 10