“Tumbbad”… A truly original “horror” movie that’s actually more of a ghoulish Panchatantra fable

Posted on October 11, 2018


Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/tumbbad-review-horror-film-rahi-anil-barve-baradwaj-rangan-venice-film-festival-2018

The Venice Critics’ Week was inaugurated with Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad’s non-Competition entry, Tumbbad — that’s the name of the very rainy village in which the story unfolds. Technically, though, the section was inaugurated with Toni D’Angelo’s 20-minute Italian short, Nobody’s Innocent, which played before Tumbbad, like the first part of a double bill. In some ways, this was a very “Indian” film, too, given its theme of how hate speech poisons even educated minds, by stereotyping certain sections of society as “evil.” Towards the end, it became clear why Nobody’s Innocent was a fit with Tumbbad, which has been promoted as horror movie. The latter is fantastical horror, while the former’s horrors are all too real — in some ways, it’s scarier.

But again, technically speaking, Tumbbad — which begins in 1918 and ends a little after Independence — isn’t exactly a “horror” movie. It’s more like a ghoulish Panchatantra fable, a morality tale based on the works of Marathi horror writer, Narayan Dharap, and harking back to Mahatma Gandhi’s warning: “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” The protagonist is Vinayak (a superb Sohum Shah). When he was a boy, his widowed mother (Jyoti Malshe) aspired for one mudra, or gold coin. But even then, the young Vinayak wants more. He’s heard of a great treasure buried in a local palace. And when he grows up and marries and has a son (Pandurang, beautifully played by Mohammad Samad), the boy wants even more than his father did. (It’s hilarious. Vinayak “trains” his son in the family business the way a lawyer or accountant would.) The greed grows with generations.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Hindi