I have always found Maharashtra beautiful in monsoons. Being a student in Pune and Mumbai, I have enjoyed the long treks during the monsoon which mostly centred around the forts of Maharashtra. And once I asked a friend, why there are so many small temples in an around these forts, Pune or any other places in Maharashtra?
The answer was, the only way to shun the evil spirits. I laughed.
And then, Tumbbad happened. It was like reliving the Maharashtra monsoon in the October heat but instead of relishing it, you feel haunted by it. I guess Tumbbad uses the dark clouds and the rain drops as one of the most important characters in the film. The film centres around a sleepy hamlet in colonial Bombay presidency. There is an illicit affair between an old bastard and a village belle leading to the birth of two offsprings. There is a Mhada and most importantly there is an old lady who seems to be cursed for eternity. The movie dives deep into the mythological folklore, adding the eternal aura of tussle divine and evil forces. There is hardly any positive feeling in the movie, Tumbaad rides high on the negative aspects of greed, violence, lust, greed and fear among others.
Even Dragons, the mighty creatures could not resist the lust of Gold…remember Tolkein’s Smaug? The protagonist ( or the antagonist…) is a mere human from erstwhile India, who uses intelligence, physical power, guts and lots of black magic to unearth gold from the womb of mother Goddess. The vicious cycle goes on and on.
Sohum Shah uses his body language and eyes to instil the pangs of greed and lust for gold. He occasionally speaks but he performs throughout, so does the crippled little son of his. There is so much of authenticity in the portrayal of Maharashtrian culture, lingo and social ethos of that period. Bansali can take a clue, giant budget and sets are not always essential to make a period film, it is always about the vision. But, I love Bansali also. The cinematography is stunning, with dark, cold and cursed with haunting solitude Tummbad to the relatively lively Pune, it plays its part well. Tumbbad’s visuals are for the 70mm. Then, there are the colours of blood, there are scorching blaze of fire and eerie sounds of mutilated limbs and crushed bones.
More importantly, VFX usage is really up to the mark and it gels well with the gory narrative structure of the movie. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, thus to each and scheme of human, there are ploys of the devil and the climax proves it. There are rising actions in the first thirty minutes, there is a relatively dilute phase and in the latter half, it runs with steady phase and lastly it provides the audience with an orgasmic climax of action and fear.
Ah, Ramgopal Verma’s Bhoot was good, Konkona looked terrifying in Ek Thi Dayan and Anushka was really gory in Pari but Tumbbad nails with production values, acting and most importantly script and cinematography. The beauty of Tumbbad is that , the camera is a character, the production sets are also a character, it adds to the storyline.
Watch it alone, watch it on 70mm, Gaand faatega. Aur mazza bhi ayega.. agar nahi aya toh , Hastar aa jayega.
Haunting Background Score and sound
Great balance between psychological and physical horror
Del Toro’s ambience, but blatantly original
Gothic atmosphere and no cheap copy of western horror flicks
Excellent screenplay and usage of silence in the narration
Awesomely freaky climax
Ratings – 10/10
Disclaimer – Images from the internet