Tumbaad (2018) has to be one of the most intelligently written, well shot and perfectly enacted movie I have seen in a while. Every scene seems in so much sync that you can barely realize the difference and only come to know after you watch more videos related to the movie. The actor, producer Sohum Shah is a promising actor and after seeing him in ship of thesus, Shah would have been the last person that I would have imagined to play the role of the lead, Vinayak. But he has played the role perfectly, with aggression and with a consistent aura around his character that will make you hate him and pity him at the same time. This movie took 6 years to complete and so many improvisations have been done over the years in terms of the script, screenplay, production design, VFX, etc.
The story starts with the story around a mythological character Hastar who is the first and most dear son of mother goddess and aims to steal all her wealth. As soon as he plans to steal all the grains of mother, Hastar is defeated by army of other Gods and fearing the death of her most beloved son, mother goddess encapsulates him in her womb. Hastar is cursed by the Gods that he will never be worshipped and there will be no mention of him. This works very well for the movies as it is very hard to find consistent material about Hastar . The entire movie is based in Maharashtra, in a sleepy village named Tumbaad.
Vinayak’s mother is a mistress of Sarkar and Vinayak and his brother, Sadashiv are his sons. The family owns a wada (fort) which houses big wealth. Sarkar dies in search of the treasure but his mother never tells anything. After he dies, Vinayak is possessed by the same greed as his father to find out the teeasure and own it. Driven by his greed, he confronts dadi who knows the secret to the treasure and she can only be controlled by “so ja, warna hastar aa jaega” (sleep, or hastar would come). Vinayak’s mother stops him and swears him never to return to Tumbaad.
But as fate would have it, Vinayak goes back to Tumbaad after he is a grown adult and finds Dadi in his old home, alive and breathing. He asks dadi for the treasure and she warns him that he is greedy and that this greed would someday cost him his life. Dadi wants freedom and so Vinayak trades off the secret of treasure for killing her. Vinayak is successful in going down the well and gaining the gold coins and is able to bring him fortune that he had always dreamt of. The secret of the well and how he brings coin is not yet disclosed in the movie. Vinayak’s friend and business partner also attempts to go down the well and bring some gold coins. Not knowing the secret, he becomes a victim of Hastar and is possessed by him.
The well is nothing but Mother Earth’s womb and Hastar lives inside it. The trick is to distract Hastar and collect gold coins by feeding him a doll made of flour and use flour as a shield against Hastar as he has been cursed by Gods that he cannot touch grains. Collecting gold coins, Vinayak becomes rich and gins immense fotune but he is still greedy. He wants more wealth.
Years later, Vianyak has turned old and unable to do much to bring gold coins from the womb of mother earth. He has a crippled son whom Vinayak sees as impotent to face Hastar. Having left with no option, Vnayak reluctantly takes Pandurang, his son, to Tumbaad and gets him accustomed to the game of collecting coins.
For the sake of not giving spoilers, I will stop writing further and will encourage you to go amazon prime and watch the movie now!!!
The background score is given by Jesper Kyd and it another flavor to every scene, especially the ones involving dadi and Hastar. The title track narrates the story of Tumbaad and Hastar, composed by phenomenal music composers, Ajay-Atul. The sets are near perfect, especially how the wada has been recreated involving all the intricacies and an entrance to mother earth’s womb. The actors have performed excellently and every character looks flawless. In an interview, Sohum Shah has said that after you will watch the movie, your body would come but your soul would still remain in tumbaad and rightly so. The movie is something we have never witnessed in the Indian cinema before. This horror movie does not throw random spirits into objects or make the characters do absurd things, the thrill and horror in the movie is something fresh. Humans would scare you more than the spirits. The entire movie has been shot in natural light and in natural rain. It will give you a feeling of being drenched in water after you watch it.
The movie seems analogous to what we are doing currently over mother earth. We are hurting her womb to get all the riches beneath the surface and perhaps a day would come when we will all become Hastar, hungry for grain. Hastar is not an evil, it’s us, the humans who are so greedy that we are ready to rob our procreator.
This movie is a masterpiece, do watch it.