With Tribhanga, Renuka Shahane has rolled out a red carpet for herself and her grand entry on OTT. What an exceptional film! I am so overwhelmed with the beauty of her writing and clarity, of both, writing and thought that I do not know where to begin.
Tribhanga, as mentioned in the title, is a story that slowly unties the knots of complicated human emotions and psyche. That too in just 1 and a half hours. There are web series on different OTT platforms trying to get to the heart of the matter for 8-9 hours long, but fail to do so. In between, it even seems that the writer has forgotten the story. They can’t handle the complexity of their own thoughts and this lady here has done it so well.
While watching Tribhanga, as a writer, I truly wanted to have her as a Mentor and understand how did she so calmly handle the turmoil and chaos of such dark and deep emotions. Only if I could get my hands on this script to understand how did she untie such complicated knots so easily with just the words. Speechless!
Coming to Tribhanga, the trailer has already told you the story. The movie tells you what the trailer doesn’t. It’s the story of a woman (Anu, played by Kajol) who has had a troubled childhood for which she blames her mother (Nayan, played by Tanvi Azmi). As she grows up and the problems in her life grow, her frustration and anger start growing towards her mother. The broken marriage of her parents, lonely childhood and molestation at the hands of her mother’s partner takes a toll on her emotional and mental health. So much that she even tries to commit suicide in childhood. With emotional baggage, as you know, a person becomes so emotionally unavailable that he/she fears getting into a committed relationship, especially a life-long commitment like marriage. Anu, just like her Mother, then gets into several relationships. From her very first relationship, she conceives. As her partner turns out to be toxic and violent, she throws him out of the house. She then gives birth to a baby girl (Masha, played by Mithila Palkar). Now as her daughter grows up and makes some unhealthy relationship choices for herself, Anu realizes how she has repeated the same mistakes, she was blaming Nayan for, when it comes to Masha.
And then, on one side where she has a Mother who is very understanding of Anu blaming her for the turmoil in her life; on the other side, she has a daughter, Masha who never blamed her mother for the choices she made for herself and the way it affected Masha’s life.
By the time, Anu is ready to forgive Nayan for being an ignorant mother, the only person who could heal all her childhood trauma dies.
The entire story is a lesson for each one for us, a lesson about how much to hold on to our pain and emotional wounds, and when to let go, not for anyone else, but for our own peace of mind. There is another important lesson for us to learn here:
“FORGIVE WHEN THERE IS STILL TIME”
At least the ones who did not hurt you intentionally.
It’s a beautiful story of what childhood trauma and a dysfunctional family can do to you. How it takes happiness away from you, for lifetime. But then how you handle those wounds, what quality band-aid you put on it, what kind of a person you decide to become completely depends on you. You cannot blame anyone for your bitterness, for your unhealed trauma, and for the happiness you deny to seek. Here again, we have two characters that tell us how the same trauma can shape two people differently – Anu and Robindro. Where one becomes extremely forgiving, the other becomes a rebel. Where both of these characters are permanently damaged and are still dealing with the bruises, Robindro has made peace with the past, and hence, is in a better state emotionally and mentally.
There is only one thing that I felt is missing in the movie, not just once or twice, but many times – depth from Kajol’s side. This character had so many shades. From beginning to end, it needed drastic emotional transformation (and the portrayal of it) which didn’t happen. I am not saying that she didn’t act well but yes, at places, her performance didn’t bring the right intensity to the moments that demanded it.
OTT has raised the bar of performances so high that when we, the audience, do not get it when the stories demand it, it frustrates us. We all have seen Kajol yell, scream, and be crazy. We have also seen her cry her heart out. And undoubtedly, we have loved all of her shades. I guess that is the reason why she got this role because the character too was tedhi, medhi, and crazy, just like Kajol.
But unfortunately, this role didn’t need Kajol. It needed Anu. If you have watched Criminal Justice season 1, simply notice the transformation Vikrant Massey has brought in his character, from body language to the way he speaks. You actually see trauma change him physically, emotionally, and mentally, in front of your eyes. That story was intense and Vikrant did absolute justice to it. Now, if you have seen Gullak 2, just watch the family photo scene in the last episode. You live those emotions with the characters, especially during the emotional moments between the father and son. Then let’s take Seema Pahwa in ‘Everything Is Fine.’ What fine performances we have on OTT! These actors just look at the camera and emote with their eyes. By just looking into the camera, they can make you cry, they can make you laugh, they can make you do anything they wish to. I missed that kind of intense performance here, only because it was the story’s demand.
Having said that, Tribhanga is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful movie. Watch it and let the story speak to you.
Streaming On: Netflix