Tumbbad- An Embodiment of Greed

Mahima Tabassum

“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” 

-Mahatma Gandhi

The anecdote unravels itself through the above-mentioned saying. Greed. Or in other words, covetousness. One of the seven major sins terrorizing the dwellers of this terrene since the very inception of time itself. Some say that greed is like a double-edged sword. If channeled in the right manner, it may act as a key for self-growth; for when one is dissatisfied with their current state of affairs, and aim to ameliorate that, only then can they reach the peaks of personal development. But when utilized in the wrong manner, can lead to disastrous outcomes that may threaten to annihilate the user’s very existence. 

Set in the early-to-mid 1900, ‘Tumbbad’ is a horror plus thriller allegory, the genesis of which trails back to primeval Marathi mythology. After the omnipotent Goddess of Prosperity incarcerates her eldest offspring Hastar for attempting to plunder the earth’s gold and grains, he is stripped of all his divine powers, leaving him incapable of being worshipped for eternity. However, that is not all. Even though Hastar successfully managed to purloin the world’s gold, he was unable to do the same to the grains. Because his pursuit for grains was rendered futile, Hastar has been pining for food all this time, resulting in him being ruthlessly ravenous. 

Moving on, our main character, Vinayak Rao, is the illegitimate son of the local lord and loathes his father beyond measure. His one true objective throughout the story is to acquire the treasure that has been rumored to exist within the local lord’s ancestral mansion. We witness him reaching unimaginable extents to achieve his goals, irrespective of his mother’s warnings. But soon before he realizes it, traces of his deceased father’s ominous conducts tarnish his own character, transforming him into the very person he once despised. 

Despite the horror genre being such a massive profit churner in the west, Bollywood has yet to attain a significant level of success in this particular domain. Of course, there are certain exceptions that manage to tilt the scales once in a while. ‘Tumbbad’ is one such anomaly. Albeit not being the finest piece available within its genre, the film has quite a few ponderable aspects. 

The foremost commendable attribute is the depiction of greed through several generations of the characters. Be it our protagonist or the various other supporting casts; the display of greed in all facades is so apparent, it is almost palpable. The local lord’s lust, Raghav, the opium merchant’s frustration in settling his debts, Vinayak’s desire for gold, his 14-year-old son’s inane attempt at wanting to buy his father’s mistress; all these actions are tied by a single thread representing greed. Simultaneously, there is also the exhibition of patriarchy and the profuse oppression of women during those times. The use of real location while filming was also a commendable move and adds a realistic touch to the cinematography. 

Although the metaphorical interpretations do add some depth to the film’s richness, some things were simply subpar. The inclusion of unnecessary scenes became obvious after a point, leading to added confusion. Lastly, the lack of bone-chilling scares may perhaps prove to be unfulfilling for sinister admirers. 

I am in no way a professional movie critique or possess any form of expertise in this field whatsoever. But despite being an avid horror film enthusiast, ‘Tumbbad’ managed to stand out to me in ways that I have tried portraying through this writing. So, if you consider yourself a horror flick fanatic, do remember to give this movie a shot. 

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