Movie Review : Tumbbad

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In a nutshell, it’s like a typical Indian mythical bed time story to give moral teachings. But Director Anil Bharve manages to bring a lot more than just the folklore. The atmosphere, background score and cinematography all fall into place perfectly for this eerie film to set the mood. It never leaves that dreaded and thrilling feeling through out the run of this entire film…


A mythological story about a goddess who created the entire universe. The plot revolves around the consequences when humans build a temple for her first-born.


Not a film for the squeamish or claustrophobic, this unusual blend of horror, fantasy and Indian folktales set in the 19th century British Raj recalls a revisited Brothers Grimm, along the lines of Matteo Garrone’s gorily memorable Tale of Tales. Viewers willing to make the imaginative leap into Indian folklore will be rewarded with the foggy atmosphere and turgid emotions of a story full of goose bumps and serious frights. 

Tumbbad manages to be a fascinating look into Indian culture while using the universal theme of greed to make it relevant to anyone watching it, no matter their nationality. It is a beautifully shot film, with the fairytale elements fall into place in a climax of real horror. 

Tumbbad Fantastic Fest Review

The whole of Tumbbad lives within universal theme of moral ambiguity…

Tumbbad offers us an Indian film about Indian culture, removed of the trappings of the musical and replaced with stories of little known Indian theology. 

The strengths behind Tumbbad lie within its narrative, but that story is also supported by a structure of realism and cinematography that enhances the film theatricality. The film, rumored to be shot over the course of six years, breathes in the arid landscapes of an India on the brink of post-colonialism. Most of the scene includes rain , the greens and a dark environment which works superbly with the narrative.

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The trick is to digest Tumbbad as a dark bedtime story narrated by an orthodox Brahmin father to his kids every night. The morality and broadness of this universe is his, but the wild texture and density of details aren’t. Rather, these are a child’s imagination of vividly processing what is essentially a cautionary tale. They fill the boxes with their own brand of colour – one that embraces design over depth. 


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