Tribhanga neither underplays feelings nor exaggerates adversities

Gurnaaz Kaur

Heart-rending, soul-stirring and profound. Tribhanga is a story of mothers and daughters, the choices they make and how those choices shape their own lives and impact the lives of their loved ones. In this layered narrative, we also witness the many challenges a woman still faces in this patriarchal society when she takes an unconventional route.

Nayantara Apte (Tanvi Azmi) is a writer, who is unwilling to let a weak husband, a bickering mother-in-law or the responsibility of two children take precedence over her talent. Her wrong choices in men lead to two divorces but she isn’t ready to play the victim card or let that take away her will to live life on her own terms. Anuradha Apte (Kajol), Nayan’s daughter, is a Bollywood actress and Odissi dancer, has a scarred childhood and blames her mother for it. She faces molestation as a kid and hates her mother. When Anu has a daughter, she decides to not make the same mistakes as her mother and is over-caring and protective towards her child Masha (Mithila Palkar). Yes, Masha is born out of wedlock and Anuradha thinks marriage is a ‘societal terrorism’. Masha is unlike her aayi (mom) or ajji (grandmother). She chooses to marry in a conservative or rather regressive family just so she can provide a normal and stable upbringing to her children.When a brain stroke puts Nayan in comatose, the three generations of women come together. As they reflect at their past, we learn about their story in flashbacks or through camera recordings, which are a part of the exercise that a shudh-Hindi spouting Milan (Kunaal Roy Kapur) has taken upon himself. He is helping Nayan, his muse, to write her autobiography and films her life journey on his camera.

The struggles and aspirations of these unapologetic women, the reality of their broken family and how they handle their differences and reunite makes Tribhanga: Tedhi Medhi Crazy, streaming on Netflix, interesting.

The film marks Kajol’s OTT debut and is Renuka Shahane’s directorial debut. What makes this flick so special is the non-judgmental approach towards the lives of its protagonists. They make mistakes and they suffer but none of these women play the victim card. What your take home is entirely your perception… there are no rights or wrongs, just perceptions. In this well-told tale, Tanvi Azmi gives an amazing performance, so calm and mature, comfortable in her own skin. In the initial scenes, it may seem odd to see Kajol in a foul-mouthed, temperamental avatar but as her story reveals, you know from where the anger is coming. Mithali doesn’t have much screen time but she matches the stars to live up to the story. While most men in the film are in supporting roles, they contour the film just right. Kunaal is the only one who has a prominent role and in parts his pure Hindi usage seems laboured but you can let it pass. Vaibhav Tatwawaadi as Robindoro (Anuradha’s brother), even in his brief appearances is convincing. Manav Gohil (Anuradha’s boyfriend) fits well in the dynamics. Kanwaljeet Singh is a delight to watch.

Kudos to Renuka Shahane for bringing out such a nuanced, thoughtful flick on women that neither underplays emotions nor exaggerates adversities. She knows how to narrate a story without giving it the hackneyed Bollywood treatment. A refreshing change indeed.

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