Tumbbad: Explained (Story And Ending)

Tumbbad is a 2018 Hindi horror film directed by Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi and Adesh Prasad. The plot is centred on a man whose greed drives him to find a hidden treasure guarded by a cursed god. The cast is loaded with fabulous theatre actors, and they’ve all done such a fantastic job. I love how the horror elements in the film are more to induce fear in the characters than being jump-scare moments for the audience. Here’s the plot and ending of Tumbbad explained; spoilers ahead.

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Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:

Tumbbad‘s central theme is greed and its endless cycle of consequences and how it is ultimately broken. It all begins with Hastar…

Tumbbad: Who is Hastar?

The movie’s mythology states that Hastar is the first child of the Goddess of Prosperity; he’s a god who got punished because he chose the path of greed. Myth has it that Hastar tried to steal the Goddess’ gold and food. While he could manage the gold, the other Gods attacked Hastar when he went for the food. The Goddess saved him, but he had to remain in her womb forever. He is always hungry.

Who is Sarkar?

Sarkar is a lord and owner of a gigantic mansion in Tumbbad. For decades he’s been unsuccessfully trying to find the location of the hidden treasure, the one that Hastar stole. Vinayak’s mother has been his mistress for 12 years, hoping that she will be rewarded with one gold coin part of the Hastar statue. 

Sarkar eventually dies of age, and Vinayak’s mother inherits the mansion. However, she doesn’t want anything to do with Tumbbad. She’s got what she wants, the gold cold from Hastar’s statue. She feels that would give them enough wealth to start a new modest life in another city. But Vinayak disagrees and feels they could inherit all the hidden treasure in the mansion.

Unfortunately, Vinayak’s younger brother falls from a tree and dies. Mother buries her dead child and leaves town with Vinayak. She makes Vinayak promise that he will never return to Tumbbad.

Tumbbad: How is that old grandmother still alive?

The old lady is Sarkar’s grandmother. How the heck is she alive? Well, her backstory is that she found the hidden treasure when she was young. But she was attacked by Hastar and was cursed with eternal life without eternal youth. Like Hastar, she is always hungry, and when someone utters the phrase, “sleep, else Hastar will come”, she goes to sleep. Vinayak’s mother has been feeding the old woman for years as part of her quest for that single gold coin.

When Vinayak and his mother leave town, they let the grandmother rot in their house. Years pass, and a tree grows through her, but her curse keeps her alive. Ouch!

Tumbbad: Plot Explained

Vinayak’s return to Tumbbad

tumbbad vinayak returns

15 years later, Vinayak’s greed brings him back to Tumbbad to hunt down the treasure. He meets the grandmother, who agrees to give him the location of the gold if Vinayak frees her by killing her. After getting all the information he needs about the treasure and how to extract it from Hastar, he sets her on fire.

Tumbbad: The Procedure To Extract Gold From Hastar

  • Hastar’s loincloth is where the gold exists.
  • Since Hastar is cursed, a circle made with flour keeps him away from anyone inside the ring.
  • The ring only gives a small hemispherical dome of protection, so while climbing out, Hastar can attack. It is essential to be a quick climber.
  • Hastar is always hungry, so to avoid being eaten, one must distract Hastar with a doll made of flour dough.
  • When distracted, hitting Hastar’s loincloth will make a bunch of gold coins fall out.
  • The idea is to grab as many gold coins as possible and climb out of the womb before Hastar finishes the food.

Vinayak becomes rich over the years stealing gold from Hastar. 

Who is Raghav, and what does he want?

Raghav is an opium dealer and money lender that Vinayak has borrowed from. Over time, Vinayak becomes wealthy, and Raghav sees hard days and is desperate for cash to get an opium permit. Knowing that Vinayak gets his gold from Tumbbad, Raghav uses his widowed daughter-in-law to try and seduce Vinayak and keep him away from Tumbbad. Meanwhile, Raghav plans to head over to Tumbbad and steal the treasure. Unfortunately, his daughter-in-law gives away Raghav’s plan to Vinayak.

Vinayak sets a trap for Raghav by placing a flour dough doll in a bag at the base of the womb. Raghav knows nothing about Hastar. When he follows the trail from the well and reaches the womb, he opens the bag to remove the flour dough doll, which summons Hastar. Raghav gets struck by Hastar, and the blow merges him with the womb’s wall. Vinayak shows up, and mercy kills Raghav, so he doesn’t suffer the grandmother’s fate.

Pandurang’s training and the trip to Tumbbad

Once Vinayak’s son, Pandurang, is old enough, he begins training so that he can take over getting gold from Hastar. Vinayak plans a dry run into the womb, but Pandurang secretly brings a flour dough doll into the womb. Hastar attacks, and the two just manage to escape. Vinayak gifts Pandurang a gold coin as a trophy but Pandurang is keen on selling it to make himself money.

Over the years, Raghav’s daughter-in-law becomes Vinayak’s mistress. Pandurang makes a move on her and offers her the gold. Vinayak gets furious and almost chokes Pandurang to death, but the kid tells Vinayak that they should steal the loincloth from Hastar and they could buy a lot more time by taking multiple flour dough dolls and keep throwing them at Hastar one after the other. Vinayak is impressed with his son’s idea, and the two reconcile.

The final trip back to Tumbbad

It’s 1947, India becomes free from British colonial rule, and the mansion at Tumbbad is taken over by the newly formed Indian Government. Even though Vinayak has enough gold he needs for a lifetime, he wants the loincloth filled with gold coins. Vinayak and his son take a final trip to the womb equipping themselves with plenty of flour dough dolls.

Unfortunately, their plan goes south when multiple instances of Hastar emerge, one for each doll they possess. The two are trapped in the womb in a tiny hemisphere thanks to the flour circle protecting them. Vinayak ties all the dolls on himself and climbs out. All the Hastars follow him out, and as they exit, a secondary flour circle around the hatch disintegrates them all.

Tumbbad Ending Explained

tumbbad ending explained

The ending of Tumbbad reveals that though Vinayak managed to get the loincloth full of gold, one of the Hastars touched and cursed him. Vinayak offers Pandurang the gold, but Pandurang sees the horrific consequence of the greed and refuses the gold, much to Vinayak’s joy. Pandurang finally breaks the cycle of greed and curse, burns his father alive to free him from the curse, and puts him to sleep by stating, “go to sleep, else Hastar will come”. 

Had Pandurang taken the loincloth filled with gold, he would have started a new cycle of gold-lust as no amount of money would ever be enough. It would have ended with Pandurang paying the price by eventually being cursed and passing on the greed down his family line. 

Did Hastar die?

No, Hastar did not die; he is guarded by the womb. Hastar’s physical manifestations are shown to emerge for every flour dough doll that is brought into the womb. So the next time someone shows up with another doll, there will be another physical manifestation of Hastar. As long as there is greed in the hearts of humans, Hastar will be alive and well.