Eros International, Colour Yellow Productions, Film I Vast and Filmgate Films’ Tumbbad (A) is a fantasy horror film. It is the story of greed as a vice, which can ruin people.
Tumbbad is a village in Maharashtra which is cursed because the Rao family, which lived in Tumbbad, had dared to build a temple of Hastar, the greedy but favourite child of Mother Goddess despite the latter’s edict against the building of temples in the name of Hastar. The edict was issued because Hastar had plundered wealth but was hungry for food.
The film talks about a scheming member of the Rao family, Vinayak (Sohum Shah), who becomes obsessed with finding the treasure of his ancestors. For this, he has hit upon a novel idea. He feeds the spirit of the hungry Hastar with food and while the spirit is feasting on the food, the manipulative Vinayak smuggles out the treasure in instalments. A time comes when Vinayak takes his young son too to the temple so that the latter can help plunder more. But greed can destroy men – and that’s what finally happens.
Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahi Anil Barve and Anand Gandhi have written a thought-provoking story but have tried to drive home the age-old lesson of life – that greed is a dangerous vice – through a horror drama which holds appeal for a small section of the classes, if only because the horror drama and its relevance to greed is a bit abstract. The writers have penned a screenplay which would appeal more to the intelligent audience and could leave the masses confused or at least not completely satisfied. The story of the Gods etc., shown in the prelude, only complicates matters for the large mass base of audience. Of course, the horror scenes are eerie but they are not scary like horror scenes in other horror films usually are. Furthermore, since there is no hero, who would destroy the spirit/ghost, the masses would find it difficult to relate to the horror drama because they are used to the hero triumphing over the ghost/spirit in horror films. In that sense, the screenplay is meant for evolved viewers who like understated scenes and novel content. Dialogues, written by the four writers, are alright.
Sohum Shah acts well as Vinayak. He has worked hard on his physique which makes him look both, handsome and believable. Jyoti Malshe is fairly good in the role of Vinayak’s mother. Dhundhiraj Prabhakar Jogalekar lends decent support as young Vinayak. Anita Date makes her presence felt in the role of Vinayak’s wife. Deepak Damle is fairly nice as Raghav. Ronjini Chakraborty makes her mark as Vinayak’s mistress. Rudra Soni has his moments as Sadashiv. Madhav Hari Joshi is decent in the role of Sarkar. Mohammad Samad (as Pandurang) and the rest provide fair support.
Rahi Anil Barve’s direction is too class-appealing. Ajay-Atul’s music is okay. No song is of the popular variety. Raj Shekhar’s lyrics are so-so. Jesper Kyd’s background music is fair. Prosthetics and special effects (by Dirty Hands and Studio Hash) are good. Pankaj Kumar’s camerawork is remarkable. Parvez Shaikh’s action and stunts are alright. Production designing (by Nitin Zihani Choudhury and Rakesh Yadav) is of a very good standard. Sanyukta Kaza’s editing could have been better.
On the whole, Tumbbad is a class-appealing horror film meant for the big cities mainly. Its poor start is a minus point.