Film Review

Review: Tribhanga

Written and Directed by: Renuka Shahane
Starring: Kajol, Tanvi Azmi, Mithila Palkar, Kunaal Roy Kapur and Vaibhav Tatwawaadi

Netflix strikes the right unconventional note with this one, headlined by some of the best-known Indian actresses in the lead.

Nayantare Apte (Azmi) is a celebrated poet from Maharashtra who has been showered with not only praise but pan-India renown for her immense talent. Her daughter, Anuradha (Kajol), is equally talented in her chosen field of acting and Odissi dance. It soon becomes apparent that these two creative geniuses seem to bounce off each other and despite being quite alike, fail to see eye to eye.

Masha (Palkar), who completes the three-way picture of the film’s title, seems to be the most sorted female in the family as Anuradha’s calm and serene daughter who tries to act as a bridge of sorts to try and heal strained relationships.

We meet all three women together on screen for the first time when Nayantare suffers a sudden seizure and is rushed to hospital where she slips into a coma. Their contrasting and clashing personalities are laid bare, largely through flashbacks in the case of the hospitalised poet laureate.

Milan (Roy Kapur), who has been documenting the life of the ageing poet on camera until the seizure, nudges a mercurial Anuradha to reveal her side of the story as to why the mother and daughter have been estranged for a large chunk of their lives. As the story unfolds, a picture emerges of many wasted moments that prevented a loving family from being able to truly cherish each other. There are inevitable regrets, but the overwhelming emotion is one of satisfaction, for having lived life on your own terms.

Actor-turned-filmmaker Shahane’s taut direction of this extremely moving story, snippets of which are inspired from her real life, makes ‘Tribhanga’ one the most emotional recent releases to come out of India. The sheer female power of the film jumps out at you as the male characters are entirely peripheral to the script, an extremely rare scenario in Bollywood. The acting power houses in the form of Kajol and Tanvi Azmi going head-to-head adds a further dash of realism to the story.

However, that in no way makes this a female-only chick-flick. On the contrary, at its heart the film is about choices, compromises and following one’s passion to the very extreme. As the tagline of the film points out, it is all about life itself – Tedhi Medhi Crazy – full of twists and turns.

Author: Aditi Khanna, film buff and London-based journalist
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