Tumbbad: First Look|Director Rahi Anil Barve|Sohum Shah|Aanand L. Rai|12 Oct

Defiant. Spooky. Raw.

 

A funeral pyre throwing up flames against the backdrop of a dark, ominous sky and the voice of a young boy greet us. “Sarkar mar gaya,” he says. And then we see a small family of three, huddled together, making a dash for an unknown land, possibly an even stranger fate awaiting them. What we see next is a huge fortress-like ancient palace whose gates haven’t been touched in years and are now pried open, murky crannies and  forgotten tunnels, hushed talks about a treasure being buried and the the raspy, unsettling voice of a spirit who is likely guarding the same.

The family believes they have rightfully inherited the treasure, know of the “sarkar” having failed to locate it and soon realize they might have to undergo a little more than some inconvenient hustling and grimy digging to place their hands on it. After all, the spirit makes it clear they are being greedy, and lets them have a hint of what they might have to contend against if they did not withdraw, “Viraasat mein mili hui har cheez par dawa  nahin karna chahiye.”

The man (Sohum Shah) at the forefront of this treasure hunt is unabashed about his mission and lets her know, that if he did not claim it, somebody else would come along to do the same. “Laalchi hai tu,” says the spirit in a screechy, chilling voice. “Yehi toh ek gun hai mujhmein,” pat comes the reply, and from that point on, we are promised a saga of defiance, avarice and a hair-raising maelstrom that will not disappoint.

Set in Pune in the 1920s, Tumbbad is a period horror/mystery film that combines folklore, fantasy, the supernatural and religion and is based around the generational secrets of a brahmin family. There is greed, there is lust, and the baleful consequences of digging in places that are not one’s business. What remains to be seen, however, is whether this is a tale pitting men against men, or against a stubborn, punishing God that has no intention of granting what these men so deserve and deeply desire.

But should they desire this treasure at all, even if they have inherited it?

Rich, atmospheric and eerie in every frame, Tumbbad may be the answer to Bollywood’s quest for a genre-defying horror movie which has largely seen duds in this space over the last few years. Starring Sohum Shah in a lead role, the film has been backed by Shah, Aanand Rai, Mukesh and Amita Shah and will be releasing in Indian theaters on October 12.

The film which opened opened to rave reviews at the acclaimed Venice International Film Festival Critic’s week in July is releasing in four languages – Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.

I am spooked already, and enough to watch it First Day, First Show.

Are you?

 

Badhaai Ho: First Look|Director Amit Sharma|19th Oct

When mum and dad become mummy and daddy at an age you’re supposed to be becoming those.

 

Starring: Ayushmann Khurana, Sanya Malhotra, Gajraj  Rao, Neena Gupta, Surekha Sikri, Sheeba Chaddha

This upcoming Indian dramedy (drama plus comedy, get it?) under the banner of Junglee Pictures (in association with Chrome Pictures) is what I call, “Kayion ne socha hoga, inhone kar diya.”

I mean, if you’re living on planet earth, and have ever been curious about when your parents may have “done the deed” so you took birth on the day, and in the month you eventually did (I definitely have), I am certain at least some of you might also have wondered out loud how it would be if your parents were to “pop out” a “chhota mehmaan” at a time you should be revving up your sex life up and ushering in some “good news”.

Sounds weird? Yeah, but you’re only saying that because you’ve probably played around these imaginative plot twists in your head, all by yourself, or while chortling over nasty, inappropriate jokes shared with your best friend when no one was looking (or listening).

Director Amit Ravindernath Sharma has however, decided, to make your wildest musings come true on the big screen and take you along a trail of what can happen when the roles are reversed and its the kids’ turn now to be weirded out by their parents’ antics in the most epic way possible: in short, how to children react to parents doing acts which are the equivalent of “issne toh naak kata di hamari”?

Written by Akshat Ghildial, Shantanu Srivastava and Jyoti Kapoor, Badhaai Ho has Gajraj Rao (of TVF fame) and Neena Gupta (who was last seen in Mulk) at the helm of the quirk factory it’s designed to be.

As is obvious from the brief glimpses in the trailer, Rao and Gupta are both phenomenal and blow your socks off, quite literally. Neena Gupta, who takes turns feeling coy, embarrassed, tired (she’s preggo, remember?) suitably complements Rao’s naïve, innocent yet discomfited act, akin to that of a mortified fifth-grader whose friends now know he still wets his bed during sleep.

Attempting to downsize their “out-of-control” craziness is the shocked, awkward, and understandably judgmental stance taken by the couple’s elder son, Nakul (Ayushmann Khurana) whose opinion on the matter can be summed up as, “Yaar tu hi bata na, yeh sab koi Mummy-Papa ki karne ki cheez hai?” blurted out during some hot making out with his girlfriend (Dangal star Sanya Malhotra). My guess is the sex never happens (wink wink).

The movie also boasts of a great supporting cast – Surekha Sikri (of Balika Vadhu fame, just as strict, but definitely a lot more disgusted) and Sheeba Chaddha (playing Nakul’s girlfriend’s mom) who are impeccable even in the little bit we see of them in the trailer, and are effectively the tadka in this khichdi. Like most other Ayushmann starrers, this movie too seems like it has a social message wrapped up in a cheery, entertaining package, and while the plot looks straightforward and predictable, I wouldn’t be surprised if this became a blockbuster, more dope than any of the smashing hits we’ve seen so far this year.

Borrowing a line from a character in the movie, I’d say – this family is a circus you should buy tickets to, this October.