Vinayak is a Marathi Brahmin boy living in Tumbbad, Maharastra with his widowed mother and younger brother. Their family has a strange practice of feeding a mysterious old lady who’s always asleep. Whenever the old woman wakes up, his mother put her to sleep immediately by uttering, “Sleep, or else Hastar will arrive!” As fate turns rough on them, the family is forced to leave the village for Pune, leaving behind the old lady on her own. Albeit promised to his mother that he would never return there, a grown Vinayak (Sohum Shah) does come back to his property in Tumbbad.
What brings him back? What happened in Tumbbad that they were forced to leave so as to never return? Who is this old lady and what’s the mystery around her?
Positive Points: –
- In the age of VFX and shit, Tumbbad creates a visual spectacle by just using naturalistic locations, normal props, finely designed set and of course, makeup.
- It’s an exemplary example of presenting an ordinary concept in an extraordinary manner.
- Fantastically written and terrifically directed, Tumbbad consolidates horror and fantasy in one of the most fascinating ways which Bollywood hasn’t been able to do successfully for ages.
- Wrapped up in a tight runtime of fewer than 2 hours, the film is not just adequately edited but also manages to engross its viewers throughout the runtime.
- Performances by every cast member.
Negative Points: –
- There were times when I felt that the dubbing wasn’t perfectly incorporated in accordance with the emotions portrayed.
- Don’t expect Tumbbad to scare the shit out of you. It’s spine-chilling but not scary as such to knock you down your seats.
The General Aspects Of The Film: –
Though the horror-genre in itself contains a vast variety of movies with different kinds of plots and characters, for most Indians horror means ghosts and scary faces. This is particularly disheartening because a normal Indian viewer wouldn’t view a movie like The Wicker Man (1973) as a horror-flick even if it is one of the greatest of the genre. It’s a good thing however that incorporating some scary fantasy creatures deems Tumbbad as a horror movie for Indians, but the film is not necessarily scary. It’s much more than that. Even on paper, it’s a carefully and astutely crafted piece of work with incredible sense and strong morals connected to it. What brings the penned work to life is its direction and (near) technical excellence. Tumbbad has a pretty great combination of naturalistic locations, beautiful sets pieces supported by great camera and sound works which create the eerie atmosphere demanded by its script with high effectiveness. Directors and writer, Rahi Anil Barve and Anand Gandhi have poured in immense imagination into the film to make it visually appealing and have taken enough care to fill in the gaps the screenplay couldn’t cover. Equal praises should also be showered upon cinematographer Pankaj Kumar and editor Sanyukta Kaza for making the film taut and beautiful despite its harrowing premise with Jasper Kyd’s background score and Ajay-Atul’s music acting as icing on the cake. If only the dubbing was as clean as everything else, Tumbbad couldn’t have been a whole lot different movie, maybe a masterpiece to be remembered for ages. But as of now, we’d just settle with ‘great’ as an adjective for it.
There is no such standout performance in the film, not because the actors haven’t performed well but because they have performed equally well irrespective of their character strength and screen presence. Sohum Shah as the central character delivers a sterling act which can become instrumental in shaping his career. Mohammad Samad, who plays Shah’s son here, is equally brilliant and showcases great potential of being an incredible actor. Ronjini Chakraborthy, Anita Date and Jyoti Malshe make the best out of their respective cameos.
Final Verdict: –
It’s time for the Indian audience to go beyond an ill-conceived notion that horror movies are all about ghosts and scary faces, and Tumbbad is a small step towards improving this problem. It’s a masterful work in cinema in almost every aspect especially in terms of its technical execution. Despite its rich visuals, the film maintains a sombre and darker atmosphere which allow its narrative to hit its viewers hard, an effect which lasts for an appreciably longer time. It’s good to see movies which, though visually spectacular, avoid unnecessary cinematic embellishments for the good.