Tribhanga review: The story about three generations of women will take your breath away!

As Anuradha, Kajol all spitfire and blazing eyes, is an absolute treat!

Source: SIFY

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 4/5

Saturday 16 January 2021

Movie Title

Tribhanga review: The story about three generations of women will take your breath away!


Renuka Shahane

Star Cast

Tanvi Azmi, Kajol, Mithila Palkar

Like Tribhanga, the classical dance pose were the body bends at three different angles, a mother-daughter equation is often a rich, multi-layered equation. 

In this Netflix original film, ‘tribhanga’ is also a metaphor for its central protagonist Anuradha, a celebrated actor, Odissi dancer and single mother, rendered beautifully by Kajol. 

In one of the film’s most telling scenes, Anuradha sums up the personalities of the women in her family through dance poses. Referring to herself as ‘tribhanga’, she thinks of her mother’s genius and rebelliousness as ‘abhanga’ (slightly off-center), and attributes the Samabhanga pose (complete balance) to her daughter. She makes these observations in a hospital where her mother Nayan (Tanvi Azmi) is in coma. Caught in the middle of caring for her mother and encouraging her daughter Masha (Mithila Palkar) to find a voice in her husband’s conservative family, Anuradha has this decisive discovery. 

This moment is brought about with none of the heaviness associated with a scene that explains the essence of the film. It comes along soft-footed, almost unexpectedly, the way an epiphany suddenly comes to light. 

With past hurts still fresh, Anuradha has a strained relationship with Nayan, a celebrated writer who always fought to live on her own terms. She chose her love for writing over a constricting marriage, and fought a court battle to give her last name to her children. Her next relationship with an abusive man leads to the rift between mother and daughter. 

Unforgiving to her mother’s past faults, the way only children can be towards parents, Anuradha is still re-living unhealed childhood traumas. Little does she realize, that she is more like her mother (an interesting insight that is clear to the viewer) than she is willing to admit. Talented and admired like her mother, Anuradha too goes through a divorce and raises daughter Masha single-handedly. 

Both Nayan and Anuradha defy convention and pave their own path, while Masha surprises everyone by choosing a more conventional life. While they respect her decision, grandmother Nayan cannot fully accept it. She states that while choosing her married family is Masha’s choice, staying away from them is hers. 

The dialogue offers real conversations full of insight and humour. Anuradha’s conversation with Nayan’s biographer (Kunaal Roy Kapoor) where she explains the delight of using a popular English swear-word is priceless!

As Anuradha, Kajol all spitfire and blazing eyes, is an absolute treat! She folds in humour, strength, and empathy in every moment right from the hospital scene where she arrives in full Oddisi costume or the one where she audaciously calls marriage “social terrorism”. Tanvi Azmi is masterful as the artist, mother and trailblazer rolled into one. Mithila Palkar is perfectly cast as Masha who is seemingly demure but is perhaps unintentionally rebelling against her mother through her life choices. 

Written and directed by veteran actor Renuka Shahane, the story is seeped in a world full of art, literature and dance. This writer had goosebumps when Anuradha recounts how witnessing one dance performance by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra changed her life forever.

This film is such a delight as it offers a layered and heart-warming story encompassing three generations of women. Also commendable is how beautifully it portrays real women and humanizes mothers with all their flaws, mistakes, strengths and weaknesses. Like the tribhanga pose, the three women are at different angles, yet their stories come together to form something truly breathtaking. 

(Tribhanga airs on Netflix)


Sonia Chopra is a critic, columnist and screenwriter with over 15 years of experience. She tweets on @soniachopra2

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