In this sequel to the popular horror film “Tumbbad”, the story of a greedy man in his twilight years takes a different turn. This time, Vinayak is an adult and he returns to his old home in Tumbbad, which is isolated from his country, to retrieve a mysterious treasure. He also has to decide what to pass on to his son.
Vinayak’s mother serves his master Sarkar, a local lord in Tumbbad. When Sarkar dies, Vinayak’s mother decides to go to Pune and live with her daughter. There, she meets a woman who is the mistress of a local lord. The woman, whose name is Sarkar, tries to earn a gold coin by providing sexual services to the rich man. But her plan is thwarted by Vinayak.
As a child, Vinayak learns about the curse that his great-great grandmother is under. She lives in a dank, dark corner of the house. She has long nails and a raspy voice. She is always hungry. It’s a curse which can only be revoked if the family is fed. However, Vinayak refuses to give up his wealth. So he keeps coming back to Tumbbad.
At first, Vinayak doesn’t know how to tell his son about the secret of Tumbbad. But he is willing to take a chance and bring his son along. Pandurang is trained to pick out coins, but he doesn’t know what is going on in Tumbbad.
After a few years, however, it becomes clear that Vinayak has a different idea of what he wants to do with his fortune. He wants to go to the mansion in Tumbbad where his great-great grandmother lives and find the treasure. He also wants to give her a gold coin. And when he does, Hastar attacks him.
Once in Tumbbad, Vinayak finds the treasure and his great-great grandmother. But he doesn’t know he’s going to be eaten by the demon. His brother, Sadashiv, is also killed when he ventures into the house to feed her. A monkey-like demon then enters and starts devouring Raghav.
Hastar is an insatiable appetite for human flesh. Anybody who comes into contact with him is destined for a life of unending agony. In Tumbbad, the only place to worship him, he is considered the root of all evil.
The fable says that the gods are cursed by Vinayak’s family. In the film, Vinayak’s family is blamed for the curse. But when Vinayak’s mother hears this, she is upset. Her son suggests staying in Tumbbad. But she demands that he not return.
While the fable is about a foolish man, it’s also about the evils of greed. Even in this remake, it’s easy to imagine that Westerners will find some of the assumptions made here strange.
Nevertheless, the film has some good points. Most importantly, the movie is well-shot and produced. Especially the camerawork of Pankaj Kumar is an artistic achievement. With its tethered camerawork, it paints scenic views of architectural and natural settings and it gives us a sense of place. Also, the background score by Jesper Kyd is very effective.
Tumbbad is a film from Bollywood that is a reimagining of the classic Shahrazad’s “Story of the Merchant and the Demon.” The film is set in the early twentieth century in a rural village in Pakistan. It features the characters of Vinayak Rao (Sohum Shah), his wife Anita Date (Ronjina Chakraborty) and their son Pandurang.
The movie begins with the scurrilous opium trader Raghav, played by Deepak Damle. He has been trying to bribe his way into a lucrative opium license with the help of his widowed daughter-in-law. In the process, he has become rich. However, he has trouble with a currupt British superintendent. A mysterious force attacks him. But Raghav is able to avoid his demise, by falling asleep.
Earlier, his wife had given birth to a son, but Vinayak’s progress has been less than stellar. His mother fears that he may be as greedy as his father. So he takes in a woman as his mistress, to gain some extra money. But he’s too stubborn to give up his family’s secrets.
When he gets home, his mother is aghast. She fears that Vinayak is just as gullible and greedy as his father. Her fear is justified.
He has no idea about the secret his family has been keeping. He is unaware that his mother has been working as a maid in a mansion owned by the sultry Jyoti Malshe, the wife of his decrepit hermit father, Sarkar Rao. Jyoti Malshe has been Sarkar’s mistress for years.
Vinayak is a young man living in the shadow of his decrepit mansion. One day, he brings a gold coin to his wife. This is the first of many coins he will get. Soon, his fortune grows and he acquires his own house and car. Eventually, he decides to go back to the old Tumbbad temple to find his father.
His brother and sister follow him. They’re disappointed by their brother’s lack of progress. And they’re worried that the curse on the temple has infected them. Thankfully, Hastar’s ring provides some protection for them.
Hastar is a god who’s been attacked by other gods. However, he was saved by the Goddess of Prosperity. After that, he became a monster. His gold is rumored to still be in the Tumbbad temple.
There are other characters in the story, too. These include a rogue who has one goal, to make as much money as possible. As well, a villain who tries to kill Mahatma Gandhi. Those characters are all very important, but they might be a bit redundant.
Tumbbad has received mostly positive reviews. However, the film is lacking in song and dance numbers. Also, it doesn’t have the romantic element of a typical Bollywood film.
The film has been screened at the Venice Critics’ Week and at the Nitte International Film Festival. It has also been selected to screen at the Scream Fest Horror Film Festival, the El Gouna Film Festival and the Fantastic Fest. Despite these criticisms, it’s a solid film that should do well in India.