Tumbbad (2018)

Director: Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi, Adesh Prasad
Writer: Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi
Cast: Sohum Shah, Jyoti Malshe, Anita Date, Ronjini Chakraborty, Deepak Damle, Mohammad Samad
Seen on: 22.2.2019

When Vinayak (Sohum Shah) was a child, he and his mother (Jyoti Malshe) left Tumbbad and Vinayak promised his mother never to return. But after his mother’s death, he can’t resist because he knows that in Tumbbad there is a temple for Hastar, the Goddess of Prosperity’s first son. Hastar should not be worshipped, but if you do things just right, he will supply you with gold – and it’s the gold that Vinayak is after. But it’s never enough and so he gets pulled in deeper and deeper, and even brings his own son Pandurang (Mohammad Samad) into it as well.

Tumbbad works for the most part and does many interesting things. I didn’t completely love it, but I did like it overall.

The film poster showing Vinayak (Sohum Shah) and Pandurang (Mohammad Samad) looking at a mural of a many-armed goddess.

Tumbbad starts very strong – the part before Vinayak and his mother leave is really creepy and atmospheric and just really well done. The rest of the film never really quites get to that level again, but it doesn’t fall too far behind, either.

I definitely liked that Tumbbad had some obvious feminist touches and that it knows and doesn’t try to hide that Vinayak is an absolute asshole. There are no excuses made here. He is just a complete dick. And it’s still interesting to watch him – probably because the film acknowledges this so freely. (Admittedly, it doesn’t hurt that Shah is very easy on the eyes indeed.)

Vinayak (Sohum Shah) on a bus, looking out the window.

Storytellingwise, the film stumbles a little, especially in the way it reveals or doesn’t reveal information – that was often very clumsy. And it has lengths towards the end where things should be progressing a little quicker. Additionally, Hastar’s design didn’t convince me, unfortunately.

Those are the things taht kepr me from really loving the film. But I did enjoy it and its soundtrack (I also liked that we got subtitles for the lyrics of the songs). Altogether, I’d definitely put this in the win column.

Vinayak (Sohum Shah) in a hole, surrounded by roots.

Summarizing: not great, but very good.

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