Tumbbad (2018) ★★★★★

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Synopsis

Tumbbad is a dark fairy tale. It tells of adventures of a Vinayak Rao. At a very tender age.

The story starts with the scenes from Vinayak’s past when he was a young child. Even as a child, he never liked the lower status of his mother who was a rich man’s concubine. The mythological tales are yet another aspect which molded Vinayak’s psyche. In the middle of a night, he actually experienced something first hand which made him terribly terrified.

In a nutshell, you have a character who values money more than anything, believes in mythological stories to earn money and he also has some hints on how to unlock powers beyond him. How the protagonist plays with godly (or demonic?) powers in his lust for money is the story of Tumbbad.

What works

First, it is the story. The story in itself is the most interesting part. In fact, the mere narration of the story is enough to give goosebumps to audience. Whether it is the sad realities of being an illegitimate child, or horrors of being attacked by a creature, or lust for money – Tumbbad’s story writing weaves them together beautifully.

So far, you have got a great story. But even the greatest of stories fail without an apposite screenplay. Luckily for Tumbbad, screenplay is fantastic.

Also, their is this performance of the actors who provide transform this parable to something believable and tangible.

Then again, the dialogues are very well written. Indeed, the clever dialogue writing not only adds the belief but also the comic flavor. As an added bonus, the short succinct comments match the rapid pace of the movie.

Last but the most important aspect of the movie is the cinematography. Dear audiences, if you watch Tumbbad, and the atmosphere, the dampness and the camera movements leave you in awe – do note that most of it is real with hardly any VFX. It took a long time for the movie to be shot, as it was shot almost completely during monsoon months. The main ‘womb’ scenes also have no VFX or chroma screens. The darkness and low-lit effects are also real – at times, the crew waited on for hours to get a cloudy skies. At other times, the crew actually drenched in rains (artificial and natural both) to get the shot right.

What could have been better

While we are writing this section, we must remind audiences that there is nothing really wrong with the movie and it is just a hugely enjoyable flick which is a must watch. That said, our job as critics is to mention whatever minutest of the flaws we felt with the movie. Most of the nuisances that we are going to list can be attributed to the budget. The diligence and efforts of the crew can never be questioned.

The cinematography and dubbing are two main areas where this impact of budget is directly visible. Sometimes the scenes become too dark for a comfortable watching. In comparison, Korean series Kingdom (Netflix), which is very visually appealing and easy on eyes even in the similar dark (and darker) scenes.

Dubbing is another area that takes a hit as there is notable lag at times between the dialogues and lip movement of the characters.

Verdict

Minor nuisances aside, this is a great fairy tale which is a must watch. Do note that few dialogues (involving mistresses) and situations (horrifying scenes) may not be suitable for very young audience. Viewer discretion is advised.

AglaPlay Verdict: Must watch!
AglaPlay Rating: 5.0/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: ~100 minutes
Writer: Mitesh shah, Adesh Prasad
Director: Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi
Cast: Sohum shah, Jyoti Malshe, Anita Date and others
IMDb: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Available On: Amazon Prime
Trailer: Tumbbad (2018)

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