“Tumbbad” is a 2018 horror film from India, written and directed by Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi and Adesh Prasad. The film also features music from Danish composer Jesper Kyd, whom we spoke to along with Prasad. Fantastic Fest hosted the film’s U.S. premiere on Friday, September 21.
The movie is split into three parts and takes place in the early 20th century. In the first part, we meet our protagonist Vinayak as a young boy with his family. Vinayak is too curious and greedy for his own good, and eventually he and his mother leave the cursed village of Tumbbad. In part two, we see Vinayak return as a grown man to retrieve the treasure he so wanted as a child. In the third part of “Tumbbad,” our protagonist has his own home and family, and begins to pass down his traditions to his eldest son.
The mythology underlying the whole story is that of Hastar, a greedy god who hoards all the gold in his loincloth. He is presented in the movie as an almost demonic character – definitely something to be scared of. He is the one that Vinayak wishes to steal from so that he, not Hastar, can have all of the riches. This leads to two main morals of the story: one is that greed is not a good quality; the other is that we all grow to become our parents, no matter how hard we try not to be.
“Tumbbad” is a very grounded movie for something so reliant on mythology and horror. The settings feel real, and the characters all have very real motivations for their actions. The acting, especially from lead actor Sohum Shah, is strong; even the child actors do their part to make their characters come to life. The movie has its moments of terror and suspense, as you’d expect, but mostly it has heart. The exploration of family drama and tradition is powerful, and it sends the message that family is about love first and foremost.
It’s a strong film, especially as a debut feature for two of its three writer/directors. If a dive into horror mythology and family dynamics is what you’re looking for, especially one mostly outside of Western influence, then “Tumbbad” a movie worth seeing.
The movie is set to be released October 12, 2018.