Somebody on Quora requested me to answer a question wondering what made the Bollywood film ‘Tumbbad’ special. I saw this 2018 film in the theater back then and was very satisfied with the climax.

So here are 10 things that make this film worth watching –

  1. It’s set in Maharashtra and shows how it can be both beautiful and depressing when the unending monsoon season sets in.
  2. The movie starts with a fictional ancient folklore about ‘Devi’ and her favorite son who was cursed to forever live in hunger in her womb. This makes the plot intriguing from the start.
  3. The lush rural setting with ancient forts, demons, curses and tales of hidden treasures set the tone of suspense in the very first 15 minutes of the film.
  4. Rahil Anil Barve, the director, does not shy away from making his hero completely grey. The lead actors don’t really have any redeemable qualities and are just greedy, sleazy men.
  5. So you don’t have a hero archetype in the film. The story is the hero in the film.
  6. The film is set in the British era but the sets are not opulent. At the same time, they are authentic enough to not be jarring and you never really wonder about the historical accuracy.
  7. The makers don’t try to pander to the ‘morals’ and ‘sensitivities’ of a certain section of the audience. So you have themes of unbridled lust, and greed. Brothels are visited by pre-pubescent boys. Fathers brutally beat their sons, ignore their wives and sleep with prostitutes.
  8. But none of it is glorified. Unlike a lot of films that paint vices like they are ‘cool’. Tumbbad doesn’t do that.
  9. While a lot of viewers might find the film slow, I think it’s best enjoyed on the big screen. It doesn’t have any unnecessary scenes and forced jokes. Everything contributes to the story.
  10. It has a pretty good twist in the end and is very unconventional for a Bollywood film. Also, I wouldn’t call it a horror film. More like a dark, folklore film. Can’t think of any other Bollywood film that’s anywhere close to this sort of genre.

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