Kajol, Tanvi Azmi, Mithila Parker.
Renuka Shahane

“Aai ashi aste ka?” roughly translated – ‘Are mother’s ever like this?’ screams Anu (Kajol) as she physically shoves her mother, Nayan (Tanvi Azmi) out of the house. This is the crux of Renuka Shahane’s Tribhanga. The society has slotted mothers in a mold, they are supposed to be self-sacrificing, nurturing, selfless people who live through their children and have nothing to call their own identity. When a mother refuses to give up her identity, even for her child what ensues is a complicated dance between challenge and confusion. Just like the Tribhanga – where your knees bend in one direction, the hips the other, the shoulder and hands also choose their own directions. 

Anu is an acclaimed dancer, she hasn’t made it a secret of how much she hates her mother Nayantara Apte who is a renowned writer. The irony of the situation is just how similar the mother and daughter are despite their differences. The third generation of Apte ladies is Masha (Mithila Parker) – she is poles apart from her grandmother and mother. While they chose to live life on their own terms, Masha’s only desire is to confirm. With Nayan having had walked out of her marriage, Anu never having married her live-in mate – Masha wants the stability of a home and marriage.

It takes a comatose Nayan and her biographer, Milan (Kunal Roy Kapoor) to bring many skeletons out and also topics which the Apte family kept brushing under the carpet. With it comes a whole lot of fights, forgiveness and facts.

The film belongs solely to Kajol, who looks gorgeous in the Odissi dance costume, though we never see her dancing for the obvious reasons. She is a fire-brand in the film, which makes you wonder how much of Anu is in Kajol, already. The dialogues which are attributed to Shahane herself are very real and one reason that makes Kunal Roy Kapoor’s role memorable. 

The greatest strength of the film lies in the sensitivity with which the characters and the circumstances have been projected. There is a predictability in script but the matter-of-fact treatment around single mothers and live-in relationships make it progressive. There is no lengthy dialogue about moral stands though, there is ample discussion on every topic related with mothers and daughters and more importantly, women. The applause is well-deserved, though the simplicity of the film keeps technical credits immaterial.

Actors like Tanvi Azmi are great no matter in which film you see her. Mithila also does well, as does Kunal Roy Kapoor. But the ladies of the hour are Kajol and Renuka. They excel and how. Tribhanga is a definite watch, though portions of it tend to feel rushed because so much has to be said in 80minutes. The unexplained and unsaid, bring a disconnect which makes the movie suffer. Otherwise, the film is a sweet watch.

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