OUR CRITIC’S Beauty and hor­ror of imag­i­na­tion stalks you

Deccan Chronicle - - MOVIES -

Imag­i­na­tion is a fas­ci­nat­ing thing. It can con­jure up and cre­ate a world we can visit, in­habit any­time, any­where, with some­one we know or cre­ate. It’s like a va­ca­tion house we take flight to, when the re­al­ity gets too much, or too dull. Or, well, just for our jol­lies. Here we can be what we want, do what we want, stay for as long as we want.

We all live a bit in these imag­ined spa­ces, adding to the story, tak­ing it fur­ther, in­tro­duc­ing twists, char­ac­ters, sce­nar­ios. Some of these are com­pletely our own, while oth­ers date back to a story some­one read to you, or you read and vi­su­alised your­self.

Imag­ine if some­one were to recre­ate your imag­ined world, com­plete with its char­ac­ters, colours, sto­ries and all the emo­tions at­tached to each space and twist, and in­vite you to visit.

Based on the story by Marathi writer Narayan Dharap, Tumb­bad is a flight of fan­tasy that tells a mo­ral tale of greed.

Set in a myth­i­cal, imag­ined world that’s brought to life and haunted by a lore, a curse, a

khaz­ana, greedy brah­mins and the whis­pers they cre­ate around it.

It’s 1918 and we are in Tumb­bad, a wet, me­dieval, gloomy vil­lage that is lush but lonely. It’s beau­teous and a river runs through it, but is also cursed by con­stant, in­ces­sant rain.

A for­mi­da­ble wada (a tra­di­tion man­sion) stands in what looks like the mid­dle of nowhere where a frail old brah­min is taken care of and ser­viced by a bald widow in a red sari.

Aai, who has two sons, also takes care of the other oc­cu­pant of the house — Dadi.

One of them is cursed, chained and fed once a day. From be­hind the closed, and the asthamatic, creepy talk, it seems that the cursed one is also the keeper of a se­cret.

Aai’s older son, Vi­nayak Rao (played by young Dhundi­raj Prabhakar Jo­galekar), is af­ter the se­cret and the sone ki mu­dra that sits in wada. But tragedy strikes and the film takes a 14-year leap to Pune where Vi­nayak Rao (So­hum Shah), now a mar­ried man, is still dream­ing of re­turn­ing to Tumb­bad to look for the hid­den khaz­ana.

The scene when he re­turns to find Dadi has been imag­ined and then cre­ated, or sim­u­lated, with the ded­i­ca­tion and artistry of a mas­ter artist. And the film’s writ­ers, di­rec­tors, Ajay-Atul and Jes­per Kyd (mu­sic) along with Pankaj Ku­mar (cin­e­matog­ra­phy) give it the love it de­served.

Vi­nayak Rao is in a busi­ness ar­range­ment with Raghav (Deepak Damle), where one brings gold coins, and the other en­cashes them. Rao is now a very rich man who splits his day and night be­tween his wife and mis­tress.

But greed is not just in­fec­tious. It is also the devil.

Two men now head to Tumb­bad. One to look for the khaz­ana, the other to lay a deadly trap.

An­other jump, this time of 15 years to 1947. Rao, who is now age­ing, is train­ing his son (played bril­liantly by Mo­ham­mad Sa­mad) in the art of quick re­trieval. But his son, who has a club­foot, has other plans. And greed, it seems, grows ex­po­nen­tially with each pass­ing gen­er­a­tion.

Tumb­bad has both, the beauty and hor­ror of imag­i­na­tion, and it stalks you gen­tly, long af­ter you’ve left the the­atre.

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