The Third Man- A must watch movie from Carol Reed.

“Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and The Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Harry Lime

The Third Man is a movie directed by Carol Reed. The movie was adapted from the novel written by Graham Greene which goes by the same name.

The movie is set in the post war Vienna which is divided in four zones and controlled by the allied forces, Russia, Britain, France & America.

Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) a pulp writer reaches Vienna on the invitation of his friend Harry Lime (OrsonWelles). On his arrival, Martins was told that Lime was killed in a road accident a short while ago.

Martins grew suspicious about the death since the eye witnesses gave different account of the incident. He take it upon himself to find out the truth even though that means an altercation with some people who claim to be Harry Lime’s friends and the British officer Calloway, played by Trevor Howard.

During the course of his investigation Martins meets with the lover of Lime, Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli), his accomplices Kurtz, Doctor Winkel and Popescu. Martins investigation unravels the truth which leads to a stunning and unexpected revelation.

The script written by Green is fantastic and has some memorable lines. The director has total control of the movie. Carrol Reed manages to capture the post war world perfectly. The cinematography by Robert Krasker is worth mentioning which took the film to another level. Some of the shots like the chase in the sewer will remain etched in your memory.

The music by Anton Karas, played on a Zither, is fantastic and adds to the beauty of the movie. It is an integral part to the movie and enhances the emotions of many scenes. in fact the “Third man Theme” went on to become one of the biggest hits of that era and still holds its sway on cinephiles.

Courtesy: You Tube

The last scene in the movie goes down as one of the best final shot in the annals of movie history. After the funeral Anna leaves the cemetery. Martins drives past her. Calloway reminds him that they have to hurry to catch the flight. But he cannot resist the urge to meet her. He asks Calloway to stop the jeep. He gets down and wait for her. It is a long shot now. It is winter and you can see trees which shed leaves lined up on both sides of the road. You can see the leaves still falling. The haunting Zither plays on…..Anna keeps walking. Miller awaits in anticipation. But she strides past ignoring him. Martins lights a cigarette and throws away the match in despair. Truly magnificent, indeed.

On the acting department, Joseph cotten shines as Holly Martins. He does not go overboard and essays a controlled performance. Orson welles, who is the central character, appears only in a few scenes but leaves an impression. The critics tout it as one of the best performances ever on celluloid, particularly his entry scene. But I prefer to give the credit to the director for envisaging and executing that scene to perfection. My only grudge is that the faces of the victims of contaminated Penicillin were never shown and that scene in the hospital was shot from the point of view of Martins. If their faces were shown it would have made a major impact on the viewers. Besides this Orson welles has the best lines in the movie, one about cuckoo clock (purportedly written by Welles himself) and another about “dots” which enhanced his performance.

But for me it is Alida Valli’s performance, although unsung, which has stood out. She is suave, stubborn, brittle all rolled into one. You can see the spark between Martins and Anna, but at the end she remained loyal to her love, Harry. It was not an easy role to perform, but she managed to pull it off.

The literary genius of Graham Greene has contributed much to the success of the movie, but you can see the stamp of a brilliant director all over the movie. It was Carol Reed who decided to change the climax scene as against the happy ending in the novel and it turned out to be a master stroke. The zither music which was a game changer was also Reed’s idea. All in all we have got a movie to cherish forever.

Just enjoy watching the movie!.

Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever?” he asks. “If I offered you 20,000 pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax: the only way you can save money nowadays.”

Harry Lime

Rating:3.5/5

Date of Release: 01.09.1949 (UK)/02.02.1950(USA)

The Maltese Falcon – Movie Review- Not a classic as touted by the critics

Yes Angel, I’m gonna send you over, but chances are you get off with life. That means if you are a good girl you’’ll be out in 20 years, I’’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’’ll always remember you”

Sam Spade- Played by Humphrey Bogart

The Maltese Falcon, released in 1941  is a movie directed by John Huston. It is an adaptation of the novel by the same name written by Dashiell Hammet. The movie is considered as a classic by many and a pioneer in the Film Noir genre.

The movie revolves around the chase for a falcon statue which was considered as priceless. It is believed that it was made by the knight of Malta in 1539 in order to honor Charles V of Spain. But the falcon never reached the intended recipient since it was seized by the pirates.

The film starts with a lady (Mary Astor) entering the office of private investigator Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) and ask him to shadow a person who is stalking her sister. That person gets killed as well as the assistant of the private investigator during the course of a night. The story gets murkier when the private investigator finds out that the lady was spinning a yarn and she has many things to hide. As the story progresses more and more people get involved in the chase for the falcon, including Peter Lorre who was employed by a fat man (Sydney Greenstreet) who has been chasing the falcon for many years.

The lady knows the whereabouts of the falcon. She along with the Private investigator gets into a deal with the fat man for exchange of the falcon.  The story gets into a climax where the falcon remains a mystery and untraceable.

The movie is well made and watchable even after 79 years of its release. The dialogues are sharp and crisp. All the actors have essayed their parts neatly. The cinematography by Arthur Edeson is worth mentioning. John Huston could draw a neat picture of criminals, but can the movie be considered as a classic or a great crime narrative when viewed in 2020 or even in the last century? The answer would be a big NO .So why people think it is a classic? Before getting into the question let me point out the reasons for not considering it a classic.

  • The film is not the edge of the seat thriller as many would like you to believe
  • The story is predictable, and everything happens effortlessly
  • The hero, Sam Spade, seems to be a super man with an instant solution for everything
  • The film does not grow on you. You just watch the movie scene by scene without feeling the story or the characters
  • The fight scenes look ridiculous. One thud and you fall unconscious!!!

Now let us analyze why some people consider it as a classic.

  • It was the pioneer of film noir genre
  • It was a new experience for the audience of the era, something they have never experienced before. The first experience tends to stick with you lifelong.
  • The characterization was different with everybody having grey shades. The hero is not an epitome of virtue. He has no qualms while siding with the wrong side of the law. He is selfish and plays his cards well. Further Humphry Bogart has played the part to perfection, which catapulted him to a Hollywood icon.

The above points apply to many movies including Casablanca and Citizen Kane. It is human tendency to blindly accept and support what is widely considered as iconic without questioning them for fear of being ridiculed. It is time we did unbiased reviews of these movies without attaching any sentimental values.

Oh boy, Did I say anything sacrilege?

Please post your comments even if you differ with my view.

Rating:3/5

‘M’ Movie Review

“Who knows what it’s like inside me? How it screams and cries out inside me when I have to do it! Don’t want to! Must! And then a voice cries out, and I can’t listen anymore. Help I can’t , I can’t!”

‘M’ is a 1931 German Movie directed by Fritz Lang in Nazi Germany. The movie revolves around a psychopath who kidnaps children and murders them. It is considered as a classic in world cinema and the best movie directed by Fritz Lang. This is Lang’s first sound movie and he uses sound only where it is needed unlike many of his contemporaries who thought that the characters needed to talk all the time when the movies took that gigantic leap from silence to talkies.

Courtesy: You Tube

A number of children are kidnapped and murdered in the city of Berlin. The police force is under tremendous pressure from the press, the government and society as a whole to nab the killer. The killer leaves no trace. As a desperate measure the city police unleashes the entire force under its disposal on a manhunt. This leaves its impact on the criminal underworld whose nefarious activities come to a halt due to constant police patrolling and increased vigilantism.

The underworld decides to pursue the killer on its own through their well formed network. Information is passed on to the beggars in the city to keep an eye on anything suspicious. A blind begger identifies the killer while he was preying on his next victim. The killer escapes the pursuit and takes shelter in a building.

Fritz Lang tells the story in such a way that both police & underworld are on the trail of the killer and ultimately the underworld gets the killer first. The killer is subject to a sort of Kangaroo court hearing of the underworld. The underworld has its own court, judge, prosecutor and defense counsel and its own principles. Majority of them want the killer to be sentenced to death while the defense counsel pleads for his release because the accused is mentally unwell and needs medical attention. The killer presents his side of the story by saying that something inside him forces him to do the killings and he cannot help it.

Peter Lorre did a clean act as the murderer, ably supported by Otto Wernicke as Inspector Lohmann, Gustaf Grundgens and an whole bunch of excellent actors.

The script written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou is excellent. Fritz Lang knows how to tell the story. See how brilliantly he has pitted the psychopath between the underworld and the police. The director manages to get into the psyche of the serial killer as well as the underworld criminals and poses the question of morality, whether the criminals have any right to try the murderer who is mentally sick. The theme is relevant even today and has a universal appeal. The shots are brilliant and the camera work by Fritz Arno Wagner is top class which could give todays movie makers a run for the money.

All in all the movie stands tall even after 89 years of its release, not only as a pioneer in serial killer genre but for the brilliance of the director who could pull it off with limited technology available during the era.

Rating:4/5

TRANCE – Movie Review; A stunner from Anwar Rasheed. Fahad Fazil at his best.

Why do people watch movies? The general answer would be for entertainment. But when the entertainment quotient meanders to cheap slapstick comedy, mindless violence and skin show, you get the kind of cinema you are watching today. Great films are born, when a film director takes it upon himself to add something extra which compels the viewers to use their brain to comprehend the movie. Trance, the Malayalam movie directed by Anwar Rasheed falls exactly into that genre. The movie deals with a subject which very few people dare to take on these days, religion. It takes you through the story of Viju prasad, who is a struggling motivational trainer in Kanyakumari. Viju has a troubled past and an younger brother who is mentally unwell. The motivational speaker is turned into a pastor by two corporate guys (Gautham Menon & Chemban Vinod) who know how to sell religion to gullible and blind devotees.

Viju prasad is renamed as Joshua Carlton and the gift of the gab he possesses is turned to lure devotees. Viju rises to the top and earns millions for the company that is formed just to mint cash in the name of religion. The ensuing differences between Viju Prasad and his sponsors unfold as the movie progresses.

The fist half is stunning and hard hitting. The second half of the movie is supposedly the imagination of the lead character. The movie is open to many interpretations. You are kept guessing, whether the second half is real or just the imagination of the protagonist who is in a state of coma after fatally attacked by his sponsors’. The director throws slight hints here and there without revealing things and that itself shows the calibre of the movie. I do not recollect any movie in recent years, which has an open ending like Trance and subject to so many interpretations. It is an indication of the maturity level our film makers are reaching.

The movie is stunning and hard hitting and the best one released so far this year in India. It is India’s answer to Quentin Tarantino. It is swift and fast and touches the real issue of exploiting people in the name of religion although It could rub some people in the wrong way. That is the precise reason why it has got a mixed review from the press.

Fahad Fazil has delivered a stunning performance as the pastor. His troubled past, dealing with a mentally unwell sibling, stunning transformation as the pastor, struggles to maintain the bubble going, the repentance and the downfall, Fahad has delivered it with stunning conviction. It is the kind of performance you have not witnessed from a lead actor for a long time. Nazria plays the role with ease. Other notable performance come from Dilesh Pothan (Avarachan) who trains Viju to become a successful preacher. Performance of Soubin Shahir, otherwise a reliable actor and one of the faces of agents of change in Malyalam film industry, is disappointing. He needs to improve his diction and dialogue delivery while doing roles out of his comfort zone. Similarly, Chemban Vinod could not match up to the role of a corporate Honcho. Gautam Menon’s does not bring anything new to the role of a typical villain. Magnificent camera work by Amal Neerad further adds to the quality of the movie. The sound design by Resul Pookutty and the background score by Sushin Shyam is of international standard.

Finally all credit goes to the director Anwar Rasheed who dared to think differently and chose to walk on a path less travelled. We certainly need more films like Trance which addresses the real issues and questions the society as a whole.

Anjam Pathira- Movie review- Definitely not a thriller

Anjam Pathira (Fifth Midnight), directed by Midhun Manuel Thomas is a Malayalam crime movie. Police men gets killed in the city of Kochi, which prompts the investigation team to believe that a serial killer is on the run. The police is clueless regarding the death of their colleagues. Investigation is led by a lady officer Catherine Maria (Unnimaya Prasad) and the team, which includes ACP Anil Madhavan (Jinu Joseph) and a psychologist Anwar Hussain( Kunchacko Boban), is all at dark when police men, one after another gets killed. The only clue left behind by the murderer is the statue of neethi devatha (goddess of justice)

The story takes you through the various hurdles the investigation team meets on the trail of the killer. The killer is always one step ahead. Various plots and sub plots later you reach the real culprit. But the story loses the steam well before the climax.

This is not the edge of the thriller, as many are touting it to be. Although the movie keeps you interested upto a point but it does not get into you. There are many holes in the script. It was interesting to note that why the question of only the police men gets killed never seriously crossed the minds of the investigating team. It is also hard to believe that a criminal psychologist was involved in the entire investigation and he leads you to the real culprit ( Yeah, the super hero always does it single-handedly! Do not blame the director, blame it on the star system ingrained in your subconscious) . The body exchange of the Christian priest with a convict, that too in a jail is hard to believe. The director, who also wrote the script, did not have a grip on the entire plot is evedient from these faux pas.

The criminal investigation thrillers should able to hitch you slowly and keep the viewer guessing. The plot is not new, as we have seen or heard this story line multiple times. The treatment is also not new. So what is the director offering new keeps popping up in your mind especially if you are watching the movie after reading the reviews and all that hype and hoopla.

The cinematography by Shaiju Khalid, is good, but again not great as being claimed by many. The background music is some time jarring. in the acting deparment, Kunchacko Boban, Unnimaya, and Sreenath bhasi are good (Again not great), while Ramya Nambeesan is totally wasted as the wife of the psychologist. Indrans showed the range of the actor in the brief role assigned to him, especially with that chilling smile. Sharaf U dheen could not measure up to the role essayed to him, same goes for Jinu Joseph.

The climax is a dampner. The climax plays an important part in any crime thriller. It is appreciable that the director Midhun Manuel Thomas , who is mainly known for his comic flicks has dared to change the track. All in all it is a watchable movie but not a great thriller.

Rating:3/5

Director & Writer: Midhun Manuel Thomas

Cinematorgraphy: Shyju Khalid

Producer: Ashiq Usman

Picture: Courtesy Google

Video Clip: Courtesy You tube

Joker – Movie Review: Marching towards Oscar

Joker, directed by Todd Philips tells the story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a clown and an aspiring stand up comedian. Life is difficult for Arthur and rightfully he holds a grudge against society as a whole.

The film depicts how constant rejections and child hood scars results in to gradual degeneration of mind. Arthur is a loner, looked down up on by the society. He has a certain condition which makes him laugh at inappropriate times. He lives alone with his ailing mother.

The movie is set in the early eighties on the background of a rotting Gotham city where the rich and mighty holds the sway with poor people pushed to the margin. The elite class is represented by Thomas Wayne, the mayoral candidate, whom Arthur suspects to be his father. He confronts Wayne, but goes completely out of mind when he discovers the truth.

The dialogues are crisp and touches your sole. The cinematography by Lawrence Sher is magnificent and captures the mood of the story to perfection. Music by Hildur Guðnadóttir is haunting to say the least.

The direction by Todd Philips is top class. He shoots straight into your heart. Zazie Beetz and Frances conroy do full justice to their roles as Arthur’s love interest and mother respectively. But the film is all the way a Joaquin Phoenix show. His performance is iconic and essays the role with aplomb, His psychotic vibes will send shivers down the spine. His eyes convey angst, pain, anger and tenderness to perfection which we have not seen on the silver screen in a long time. His dance on the stairs and the climax interview with Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) stand apart. “How about another joke Murray” will keep ringing in your ears even after you leave the theatre. You will not be surprised if Joker sweeps the Oscar including the awards for the best movie and the actor.

Once upon a time in Hollywood-Review

Once upon a time in Hollywood, directed by Quentin Tarantino is unlike any of his films. Tarantino movies are full of violent action and gore that shakes you of out of your comfort zone.

The movie is extremely slow paced and you would wonder what exactly is happening and where the maverick director is leading you. It keeps you guessing how the director is going to piece together the different sets of jigsaws that was flashing on the screen for near about two hours.

Courtesy:YouTube

The real action starts in the last 30 minutes and you are riveted to your seat till the tittle credit roles up. It indeed is a violent storm after an inordinate lull.

The story is about Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) an actor who is struggling to cope up with the changing Hollywood and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) who is his stunt double. It is a unique relation shared by Rick and Cliff. More than a stunt doble, Cliff takes care of everything and acts like Rick’s Man Friday. Rick is emotional while Cliff is calm. The story is also based on the murder of Hollywood actress Shane Tate, which shook the Hollywood in 1969. But Tarantino takes the artistic liberty of spinning this tragic event according to his own fantasy.

Courtesy:YouTube

The film has some outstanding performances. Brad Pitt gives an exceptional performance as the calm but tough stunt man. Margot Robbie as Shane Tate is a delight to watch. Just see the scene where she goes to a movie hall and asks for a ticket. The expressions on her face when she watches herself on screen, her counter reactions to the reactions of crowd watching her performance is top class. Leonardo DiCaprio is convincing as the struggling actor. Unfortunately Al pacino did not have much to perform and is wasted.

Whether you love it or hate it, Tarantino once again cements his place as one of the best directors of our times. Blame the slow nature of the movie or the lack of zing you expect from Tarantino, the film remains one of the best films produced in 2019 and has obtained 10 nominations in the upcoming Oscars. In the hands of a lesser director, the movie would have been a disaster. That brings us to the question, If not Tarantino, who else could have directed this movie?

Ivan’s Childhood – Movie Review

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky

Story: Vladimir Bogomolov

Cinematography: Vadim Yuosov

Screen play: Andrei Tarkovsky,Andrei Konchalovsky,Vladimir Bogomolov & Mikhail Papava

Production: MOS Film

Release date: 6th APril 1962

This masterpiece (1962) from Andrei Tarkovsky on the backdrop of second world war will make you fall in love with the movie from the very first scene. The movie was adapted from a story by Vladimir Bogomolov. Tarkovsky got the movie only because it was abandoned by a fellow graduate. He made the most of it and that too in his debut movie, tells a lot about the brilliance of the director. The film focusses on the lives of people crippled by the war rather than on heavy bombings and combats.

The story revolves around a 12-year-old boy Ivan (Nikolai Burlyaev) who happened to be a scout of the Soviet army during the fag end of the second world war. The boy has lost his family during the war. His mother and sister were killed by the Nazis and his father was killed at the border.  Although 12 years old, Ivan’s face depicts none of the innocence of childhood. He is full of anger and overwhelmed by the feeling of avenge. The war has torn away his childhood.

He just enters an army post and announces that he wants to meet the commander. After much persuasion, he was taken to the commander. They decide that he should go to an army school since there is no place for a child in war. The boy refuses to go to the army school since he wanted to continue as a scout. The boy’s stubbornness wins, and he remains as a scout with the army.

The life was hell in Russia during Nazi invasion. The director managed to portray the hardship of war through a few scenes interspersed with a series of dream sequences which took the movie to an altogether different level. There was hardly any scene which depicts a war or a combat. But it is in the air through out and you literally feel it. That shows the brilliance of the director. Brilliant acting and photography have added new dimensions to the movie.

The Photography by Vadim Yusov needs a special mention. The birch tree forests, the dream sequences, the final mission on marsh are a bliss to watch.

Dream sequences:

The boy’s past is revealed mostly through dreams which was shot brilliantly by the director.

The first dream sequence shows the boy strolling through the woods chasing butterflies indicating a happy past.  He tells his mother that there is a cuckoo in the woods. Suddenly he wakes up from the sleep into the dark reality of war.

The second dream sequence shows the boy and his mother taking a deep look into a well. The mother tells the boy that there is a star in the well. In the next scene the boy is shown inside the well trying to hold the water along with the star. Then suddenly the pail comes down amidst a lot of crumbling voices. Ivan cries out for his mother. The mother is seen lying face down on the ground next to the well.

The Third dream shows the boy travelling in a truck with full of apples. Suddenly it starts raining. For the first time we see a little girl, presumably his sister. The boy picks up the apples and holds it in rain.  Apples fall from the vehicle. Some horses appear and they start eating the spilled apples on the road as the vehicle moves by.

The fourth dream clearly indicates the death of the boy. Is it really a dream? The question arises if it is a dream then who is dreaming it since Ivan is already dead. It is an extension of the first dream where the boy was seen drinking water from a bowl on the riverbank. His mother smiles at him and leaves to draw further water from the river. She looks back and again smiles at him.  Suddenly we see the little girl we saw on the third dream running along the banks. The boy runs behind her. The girl keeps running faster. The boy increases his pace and outrun the girl straight into the shallow water where he almost collides with a dead tree.

The story also takes you through the love triangle involving captain Kholin, Lieutenant Galtsev and Masha. Critics have questioned about the romantic element in a serious cinema. It is a universal truth that even during hard times the human emotions remain the same. Moreover, the kissing scene remains one of the best scenes shot ever.

The final mission in marsh where the soldiers try to retrieve the bodies of scouts killed and put on display by the Nazis’ is brilliantly done and will remain etched in your memory. As the film moves to an unavoidable tragic end which wrenches your heart, you are left amazed by the genius of Andrei Tarkovsky.

The movie was well received the world over when it was released. It won the Golden Lion award at the Venice film fest. It had its share of critics, particularly from the communist press. But they were countered by none other than by Jean-Paul Sartre. Ingmar Bergman had to say this about Tarkovsky.

When I discovered the first films of Tarkovsky, it was a miracle. I suddenly found myself before a door to which I had never had the key, a room which I had always wished to penetrate and wherein he felt perfectly at ease. Someone was able to express what I had always wished to say without knowing how. For me Tarkovsky is the greatest filmmaker

Such a brilliant comment from the master!

A must watch if you love realistic movies. The current generation of film makers would do well to watch this movie and would be amazed by the ease with which a debutant  director had handled the scenes.

Full Movie with English subtitles
Cast:
Nikola Burlyaev – Ivan
Valentin Zubkov- Capt.Kholin
Evgeny Zharikov-Lt.Galtsev
Stepan Krylov – Cap.Katasonov
Nikolai Grinko – Lt.col.Gryaznow
Dmitri Milyutenko – Old Man
Valentina Malyavina – Masha
Irma Raush – Ivan’s Mother
Andrei Konchalovskiy – Soldier





















Manikarnika Movie review: Another failed attempt to cash in on patriotism

Manikarnika the queen of Jhansi is a disappointment to say the least. We all grew up hearing to the heroics of one of the key warriors of independence movement. Unfortunately the movie turns out to be another damp squib which fails to touch your soul. The movie tries to cash in on the patriotic sentiments of people, but falls flat on its face.

Image courtesy You Tube

The movie takes you through the journey of a child to the throne of Jhansi and her confrontation with the East India Company to salvage her kingdom. Rani Laxmi Bai’s name is written in golden letters in the history of our independence struggle, but the director fails to do any justice to the martyr’s short but glorious life. The movie is all about Kangana Ranaut. She is there in almost all the scenes from beginning to end. To be fair to her she did justice to the role.

Clip courtesy You Tube

The first half is devoted to Manikarnika’s childhood and her marriage to the ruler of Jhansi. The second half takes you through the palace treachery which catapults her to the throne of Jhansi and her battle with the British. The visual effects and the action scenes are ordinary. The dialogue penned by Prasoon joshi keeps harping on swabhiman and Mathrubhumi. The screen play by K.K Vijayendraprasad has nothing to rivet you on your seat. The characters of seasoned actors like Danny denzongpa and Atul Kulkarni were never allowed to rise above the mediocre.

The film leaves you exhausted. Why do we allow people to make such movies? It is time we passed a law to stop exploiting the stories of our great freedom fighters for commercial gains. If Rani Laxmi Bai were alive today she would have certainly pointed her sword at the makers of this movie.

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Ankita Lokhande, Jisshu Sengupta, Zeeshan Ayyub, Danny Denzongpa, Atul Kulkarni, Khulbhushan Kharbanda

Direction: Kangana Ranaut & Murali Krishna Jagarlamudi

Producers: Zee Studios, Kamal Jain & Nishant Pitti

Release Date: 25.01.2019

Tumbbad – Movie Review

Tumbbad is a mysterious movie which is least expected from the Bollywood. No stars, no big names here, but the story turns out to be the star itself. The movie directed by debutant Rahil Anil Barve opens up a creepy mysterious world that has become alien to the Bollywood for quite a long time.

The film, based on a Marathi story written by Narayan Dharap, is set in a rural village in Maharashtra and spans over a period of three decades from 1918 to 1947. The plot revolves around the hunt for an ancestral treasure hidden in unknown recess in a dilapidated mansion.

Along with the hunt for the treasure the story takes you through the greed of mankind. The fear of uncertain and unknown lurk around through out the movie. The movie builds on the village legend that, Hastar, the first and most beloved child of goddess of prosperity tries to gather all the gold and grain which infuriate other gods. They attack Hastar, but the goddess hides his son in her womb and agrees to the condition that nobody worships Hastar anymore. Somebody in the village builds a temple for Hastar and worships him for the lust of the hidden gold which infuriates other gods who curse the village with incessant rain.

A young boy, Vinayak, sets his eyes on the treasure hidden somewhere in the mansion. His mother forbids him even to talk about the treasure as it is a cursed one. The family abandons tumbaad and migrates to Pune after the death of Sarkar (Local Zamindar). The mother makes the son promise that he will never set foot in Tumbaad again. But the greed for the treasure makes him return to the village after 15 years. Vinayak finds the Dadi still alive although in a skeleton form. He learns the way to the treasure from her and set her ablaze to give her mukti.

Vinayak becomes richer and richer after every visit to the mansion. His life style changes dramatically, he visits brothel and have a mistress. As the time goes by Vinayak gets older and finds himself unable for the arduous task of unearthing the treasure. He trains his son for the task. As the story progresses, the son become more greedier than the father and that leads to a catastrophe . The climax scene was brilliantly shot where the monsters kept coming one after the another that left Vinayak and his son helpless.

The film emphasizes that the human greed has no limit. The lust for money and women predominates the protagonist of the movie which eventually leads to his downfall.

Sohum Shah plays the lead and has essayed the role convincingly, but one feels he could have shown more emotions. His son played by Mohammad Samad was another notable performance. On the hindsight the movie could have been made much better. The director could have further explored the psyche of the main protagonist. The wife played by Anita Date was reduced to just another typical housewife.

India has a rich tradition of classical tales. It just surprises that how we ignore those gems and make sub standard movies. The credit goes to the director, Rahil Anil Barve for unearthing one of the gems. The film is beautifully shot by Pankaj Kumar capturing the drenched land scape and the “womb” of the goddess with equal aplomb. The movie is made on a meager budget of Rs.5 crore and reportedly collected around Rs.13.75 crore. It is a welcome relief from the pompous and chest thumping duds like 2.0, Thugs of Hindustan or a Zero. It certainly deserves a more wider audience.

Film Release Date: 12.10.2018. Now available in Prime video

Producers: Sohum Shah, Anand L Rai, Mukesh Shah, Amita Shah

Screen Play: Mitesh Shah, Adesh Prasad, Rahil Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi