Review: Tribhanga (Netflix)

The film rides on the Kajol factor, but it is not without its flaws, writes VINAYAK CHAKRAVORTY.

Reading Time: 3 minutes


The great thing about Kajol is she can light up a scene as few stars do, with her zeal to enthral. The flip side is she can burn down a scene, too, if the zeal goes overboard. It is a rarity, but we have seen it happen. In Tribhanga, Kajol reveals both the tendencies and, since the drama is largely defined by her screen presence, the film ends up a peculiar mix of the brilliant and the banal.


  • Starring: Kajol, Tanvi Azmi, Mithila Palkar
  • Directed by: Renuka Shahane
  • Rating: * * and 1/2 (two and a half stars)

Renuka Shahane’s first Hindi film as director starts off riding the Kajol factor, besides the fact that it makes a couple of pertinent points about mother-daughter relationships that were, on script at least, powerful enough provoke reflection.

Shahane pens a story of three generations of women who stand out for the very specific choices they make in life, and the dysfunctional relationship they share. Tanvi Azmi plays acclaimed novelist Nayantara Apte, who shares an uncomfortable bond with daughter Anuradha (Kajol), a filmstar and Odissi dancer. Anuradha’s daughter Masha (Mithila Palkar) has opted for a more conventional lifestyle compared to her celebrity parent and grandparent.

READ ALSO: Indian shows and movies to stream in January 2021

The drama unfolds primarily through the gaze of Milan (Kunaal Roy Kapur), who starts out as Nayantara’s aide in an autobiography project of the author. The story kickstarts with Nayantara hospitalised in a comatose stage. Anuradha, it emerges, resents her mother. She blames her mother for knowingly being apathetic through a dark chapter in her teenage years.

The film derives its title from the Tribhanga pose in Odissi dance. It is an imperfect posture, nonetheless beautiful. The dance pose as well as its name seem to define the lives of the three women.

netflix film tribhanga
Source: Twitter

Much of the film’s appeal lies in Shahane’s straightforward storytelling while focusing warts that lie hidden at the heart of each relationship. By turns shocking, sentimental and painful, the memories that Anuradha harbours about her mother become the backbone of the narrative. Shahane’s executes these flashback moments with an unflinching.

To her credit, the filmmaker uses the generation gap between Nayantara and Anuradha effectively, to show the changing character of gender politics in society. Yet, if Anuradha would seem to be more empowered as a young woman compared to what her mother was, the former has her own demons to battle, too.

Tribhanga’s intention is undoubtedly noble, but the execution is not without flaws. The overall style is far too melodramatic to allow any sort of nuanced exploration of relationships. The narrative is marked by intermittent loud treatment (suitably matched by an otherwise brilliant Kajol’s screechy outbursts in such scenes).

The fact is the film tries to talk of too many things within 90-odd minutes becomes a problem, too. Perhaps Shahane ought to have accorded herself a longer runtime. This is, after all, a screenplay that tries accommodating everything from domestic violence to child abuse to the orthodox mother-in-law who would rather have her bahu focus on kitchen duties than hone her gift at writing. The film triggers an interesting conversation when a mother insists that she has the right to give her children her surname, because she has singlehandedly raised them.

Riding the advantage of a cast in good form, Renuka Shahane could have given Tribhanga a runtime of a couple of hours at least, to realise the full potential of her effort.

Vinayak Chakravorty, IANS

READ ALSO: Happy birthday, Kajol: 6 easy-to-miss cameos by Bollywood’s rebel

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

b'desh art org qagoma

South Asian artists in QAGOMA’s Asia Pacific Triennial

  In the 10th edition of QAGOMA's Asia Pacific Triennial (APT10), the exhibition hopes to look to the future of art and the world we...

Saahil Bhargava pays homage to Aussie rock band Karnivool

  Fresh off his debut EP released back in August, LA-based singer-songwriter Saahil Bhargava has unveiled what he’s dubbed an “homage” to one of Australia’s...
argyle street parramatta

Police investigate armed robbery at Parramatta jewellery store

  NSW Police are appealing for assistance to locate a vehicle following an armed robbery at a jewellery store at Parramatta. At around 2:35 PM on...
pratham girls

#LightALife: Pratham Australia raises $20k this Diwali

  It started off with a simple concept: for every $20 donation, a diya was lit this Diwali. And for every 25 diyas, adding up...

#StopAdani: the movement continues in Sydney

  The #StopAdani grassroots movement is made up of thousands of individuals and community groups across Australia taking action to stop Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s...