Tumbbad Movie Review: Sohum Shah's film is an extraordinary attempt but with an overambitious storyline

Tumbbad chronicles three generations of a Brahmin family from 1918 up until 1947, when India gained Independence. The true gold in Tumbbad is the depiction of the city itself - dark, gritty, horrific and eerie
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At the womb of Tumbbad is the psychological analysis of greed and at the heart, its a plain thrilling horror. Just like the monster Hastar, writers Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Anand Gandhi and Barve have penned a maniacal tale like never before. However, for a one and half hour film, there were draggy moments and plotholes as well. 

Tumbbad chronicles three generations of a Brahmin family from 1918 up until 1947, when India gained Independence. We are told the tale of the Goddess, who gave birth to the universe and also bore a first-born, too cruel for his own kind. Hastar is a feared monster whose greed is passed on to a young Vinayak Rao and his hunt for the gold medallions, owned by Hastar. "Soo jaao varna Hastar aa jaayega," is said repeatedly and each time, you are gripped covering your eyes at the edge of your seat. From the young boy's journey to the adult Vinayak's (played by Sohum Shah) triumph in finding the treasure chest, the rise of the antagonist qualities in Sohum feels realistically relatable. 

 

Sohum makes an honest attempt at playing a character with fifty shades of grey but and yes, are certain scenes where he falters to capture the audience. However, to watch Vinayak's brewing madness reach its fruition is like nirvana. It is the childhood scenes in 1918 Tumbbad that are the most interesting to watch especially the young Vinayak (played by Mohammad Samad). A special mention to the old woman who was more horrifying than the reveal of Hastar and is sure to make an appearance in your nightmares.

 

The main problem that I had with the Tumbbad was that it managed to peak my interest at the highest level with an intriguing plot but then kept dipping low untill my focus was shifted to complete puzzlement. It relied too much on the genre of horror and hence the folktale seemed like a bad narrative of absurd theatre. 

The true gold in Tumbbad is the depiction of the city itself - dark, gritty, horrific and eerie. The cinematography by Pankaj Kumar and the production design by Nitin Zihani Choudhary and Rakesh Yadav sets the right tone for the psychological horror and crisply personifies the absurdity of the lead character. The CGI through tainted at times does its job, for what it's worth. Even the music is as terrifying as the old woman and adds the ingredients to leave you spooked.

 

The climax before the actual climax is when you are at the precipice at what the movie is actually about. Greed is hereditary and you either succumb to it or you get destroyed forever. Just like the movie Tumbbad will be for the audience, you either become one with it and love it completely, or else it's not your cup of tea. 

 

 

We rate it a 60% on the movie meter.

 

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