Tribhanga (2021) is an example of a familiar story being made into an engaging watch by having a fine casting, good screenplay and excellent acting by Kajol. Kajol is gorgeous in the film and has single-handedly turned an average film into a good watch. The movie is available on Netflix.
The film covers the lives of women across three generations, their struggle, and how their aspirations affect their children. Anuradha Apte (Kajol) is a successful actress, an Odissi dancer and a single mother to Masha (Mithila Palkar). Anu has a troubled relationship with her mother Nayan (Tanvi Azmi), a Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer of repute. The screenplay loosely follows the autobiography of Nayan recorded by her fan on camera; Nayan gets admitted to hospital where she is in a coma, surrounded by her family. Though it is Nayan’s autobiography we the story progress from Anu’s point of view of her mother, her partners and how it affected Anu and her brother Robindro.
Though the central theme of the film is how the decisions made by parents affect the life of the children especially girl children, it also shows when they grow up the choices made by them may not be the ones their parents want them to make or understand the events leading to them. While her own mother doesn’t agree with the choice made by Masha, which goes against empowering women, I was able to empathize with her reasoning for making them.
The dialogues were well written like one where Nayan says “each of us remember and recall the past from our own perspectives”. Anu accuses her mother Nayan of not seeing things that happened right under her nose and it was befitting to hear the same dialogue from Masha (Anu’s daughter) telling her mother (Anu) – showing things may not have changed much between generations. I almost cried when Masha speaks this line.
I liked the 95 minutes running time of the film, thanks to the absence of dance sequences, lengthy flashbacks, long arguments & unnecessary drama between the characters and divorce battles. The film reminded me for fleeting reasons a Hebrew (Israel) film Zinuk BaAlia (2015) aka Hill Start where a mother falls in a coma and her daughter handling the grief in her own way; and the mother-daughter dynamics from Vidya Balan‘s Shakuntala Devi (2020).