Director: Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi
Writer: Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi, Narayan Dharap
Cast : Sohum Shah, Jyoti Malshe, Anita Date, Deepak Damle, Roonjini Chakraborty
There are many movies that are ageless and are oft remembered as the best in the respective decades in which they were released. Yet, there are some movies that remain extra special even after several rewatches. Movies I like to call as the influential kind. It was so that a year back on Amazon Prime there was this new movie doing the rounds; it was titled… Tumbbad. A watch and three rewatches later, Tumbbad remains as one of the most well made and thought-provoking films I have ever watched.
A film six years in the making until its release in 2018 – Tumbbad is richly fleshed out, and multilayered as they come. Shot in a scenic yet dreary landscape across Saswad village and many locations in the Satara district, Maharashtra, the film exudes a very intense atmosphere. An atmosphere familiar to desolation and eternal isolation.
Tumbbad is that fictional town that is fairyland gone wrong. The air is not right, the people there have extreme vagaries. Yes… the people – there aren’t many people in Tumbbad.
Tumbbad tells the tale of greed, lust and the pursuit of Hedonistic pleasures. One that has been perpetuating for generations in a family. In more ways than one, Tumbbad hits close to home. For there has never been a better film in recent memory that has managed to draw similarities in the decadence of Mankind. The film draws several allegories towards our way of life and our pursuit of the “forbidden”, risking everything for the sake of greed and the undying need to satiate selfish goals. To put it better – Blinded by it.
The story of Tumbbad starts and ends at Tumbbad. More specifically so, The Wada (Mansion). At the centre of it all is a rich mythological story and the fabled womb of the goddess of prosperity, wherein resides the demon hastar, guarding treasures aplenty. The story follows multiple generations of the Sarkar family, and their trysts with the forbidden fruits that lie beneath the womb.
The makeup and visual effects are on par with some of your favourite Hollywood fares, and that is indeed another feather in the cap for the exploits of Tumbbad. Clearly not housed by commercial and big studios, Tumbbad carries itself to the hall of fame. The sound design is remarkable with chills accompanying the eerie atmosphere the film is wrapped in. The visual aesthetics are grounded to unique lighting decisions as the gaffer works to engage the audience into the raw sights and visual feats.
There are several favourite scenes to pick from Tumbbad. Be it the wailing of a Grandmother with a particular malady or the singly lit scenes inside the womb.
For a movie that is first of its kind in India, there is a lot of sheer audacity to its credit. It’s unlike any film and a step in a different direction for a film from Bollywood.
Not many unique films take flight here… not with commercial heavyweights and a larger fan base for these supposed stars of cinema. Enthusiasm is encouraged, people rant, and yet subscription to “only” commercial cinema perpetuates. Not to dissuade anyone from watching flicks you like, but Indies don’t receive the audience they deserve because of an askew visibility rate, and neither do they get the budgets to empower their visions. I implore to you cinema lovers, give them a watch.
The trailers for Tumbbad and all its marketing points toward a horror film. But, that, horror film, Tumbbad is not. Sure it’s got elements of horror and lots of sheer scary moments in its multifaceted storyline, but it seems more likely that the marketing team didn’t know how to market the film. The makers of Tumbbad have expressed their marketing hassles time and again. Tumbbad is not a horror film. So if that has been keeping you away from watching it, shush trust me, and give it a watch
With all hurdles out of the way, if deeply sophisticated, intensely metaphorical and yet blatantly literal translations interest you, Tumbbad is a movie that’s more than worth your time. As the movie nears its denouement, the whirlwind of a tale peaks on a very interesting note.
The layers beneath the beautiful Tumbbad start revealing themselves unto a finale that is as confounding the journey before it.
“The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not for everyone’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Verdict: 7/7 stars.
Tumbbad becomes the first ever Indian Film ever to open the prestigious Venice International Film Critic’s week.
The movie was shot for 6 years. The scenes shown in the city of Tumbbad which gets rain throughout the year was shot over 4 monsoons.
Tumbbad, the city actually exists but the folklore is not present anywhere which is consistent with the theory that Hastar, the god demon would never be written about.
Mohammad Samad played two roles in the film. The first being Pandurang (Vinayak’s son) and and the other being Vinayak’s grandmother.