“Not everything you inherit should be claimed” is one of many warnings that is not heeded in the Indian horror-fantasy film Tumbbad. In directors Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad genre mashup, greed is an addiction that has tormented mankind since gods and goddesses ruled the earth.
One of two bastard sons of a local village lord, Vinayak’s (Sohum Shah) youth was filled with hardship and tragedy. Living in poverty with his mother and younger brother, while his elderly father lived in a lavish mansion, he long believed that the key to a better life resided in a hidden treasure rumored to be in his father’s home. Now an adult, and believing his cursed great-grandmother knows the location of the gold, Vinayak returns to his former home in Tumbbad determined to claim the ancestral fortune he feels is rightly his.
Spanning decades, Tumbbad does a solid job of drawing out the mystery surrounding the gold, and the toll it takes on Vinayak’s life. As wealth provides him with more status, it also slowly begins to erode his life and those associated with him. The fact that it is always raining at his father’s mansion further adds to the sense of building dread that Barve and Prasad’s film evokes.
However, much like the treasure itself, the lengthy period of time the film covers is also a bit of curse. Since Barve and Prasad unravel their clues at a measured pace, it leads to a lot of unnecessary repetition. The audience must witness Vinayak make countless trips back and forth between Tumbbad and his new home in Pine City rather than fully exploring the central lore or even Vinayak’s relationship with his son.
These shortcomings ultimately take away from what would have otherwise been an entertaining addition to the horror genre.