A review on Indian family drama feature length film, Tribhanga: Tedhi Medhi Crazy (2021). The film is directed by Renuka Shahane and is co-produced by the real life husband of the lead actress, Ajay Devgn. The film is an Ajay Devgn FFilms, Banijay Asia and Alchemy Films Production and is a Netflix Original Film.
- Directed by Renuka Shahane
- Cinematography by Baba Azmi
- Written by Renuka Shahane
- Music by Sanjoy Chowdhury
- Edited by Jabeen Merchant
- Produced by Ajay Devgn, Parag Desai, Deepak Dhar, Rishi Negi, Siddharth P Malhotra and Sapna Malhotra
Tribhanga is a standing dance pose in Odissi where the body bends in one direction at the knees while the other at its hips and the upper body leaning the other way with the shoulders and neck. Its characteristics are supposed to represent the three leading women of the film, played by Azmi, Kajol and Palkar. The film is also a debut for Kajol in her very first Netflix film.
Tribhanga was originally supposed to be a low budget Marathi film but later turned into a Hindi Netflix original when big name stars like Kajol came onboard.
+ Main Cast
- Kajol as Anuradha “Anu” Apte
- Tanvi Azmi as Nayantara “Nayan” Apte
- Shweta Mehendale as young Nayantara
- Mithila Palkar as Masha
- Kunaal Roy Kapur as Milan
- Vaibhav Tatwawaadi as Robindoro
- Kanwaljit Singh as Raina
- Manav Gohil as Raghav
Anu, a famous, well renowned performer, receives news that her Mother is in a coma and is in critical condition at the hospital. This makes Anu revisit and finally come to terms with her disturbing past so that she could eventually provide a prosperous future for her daughter Masha in the process.
Tribhanga is a family drama and its plot revolves around its three female protagonists; Nayanthara, Anu and Masha. Each one is different from the other but one thing that always binds them together is the hardships that they go through Life; being a female in a male dominated society of India.
+ High Points
i – Netflix Originals usually are always technically sound films and Tribhanga is no exception. The cinematography captures the vibrancy and atmosphere of the city of Mumbai quite well. Each frame is carefully crafted to excellence.
ii – The music by Sanjoy Chowdhury is noteworthy and plays a vital role in creating the sense of dread and solitude that our female protagonists feel as they have to face different hardships and obstacles in Life.
iii – Tanvi Azmi’s performance is exceptional throughout the film. The consistency of her greatness whenever she was onscreen really elevated the even tiresome, badly written scenes and dialogues of the movie.
+ Low Points
i – The script is a total disaster. I cannot imagine how this film even made it to the library of Netflix originals. The plot is arbitrary, the emotions are completely misplaced in almost every scene, the dialogue is cringeworthy and completely absurd to the most dramatic moments of the film. It is truly amazing to me how Shahane got his very own script so wrong! For most of the film, Azmi’s coma is laughed off as a hilarious inconvenience. As a viewer, I was completely baffled how the story almost failed in every single set piece of the film.
ii – There is waaay too much happening in its 90 min runtime! Although the film’s main core is the severed relationship that Anu has with her mother, new unnecessary plotlines are introduced mid to late into the film’s end. And thus, the story feels bloated with its message and lacks focus on what it really wants to be; a tragedy or a comedy? Also the laughable dialogue does not help either.
iii – Speaking of laughable dialogue, Kajol is supposed to be playing a strong female lead. So how could you depict that in a film? Easy! Give her a vocabulary which could make a Scottish sailor blush! There is absolutely a place for violence, nudity and vulgar language in the medium of film but it does indeed need to fit in with the overall tone of the movie. Kajol’s obsessive cursing felt extremely forced and the absolute wrong idea of how a “strong female protagonist” should be depicted on screen.
iv – SPOLIER ALERT! (skip to the next point if you would like to watch the film):
Sigh… as mentioned above, the film tries its very best to make you feel emotional and connected with its characters by introducing unnecessary plot twists throughout its runtime and in turn, over compensating its lack of coherent storytelling. Sexual Abuse and forced Abortions are used as plot points just to add even more emotional weight to the plot and in the process, everything just comes off as trivial at the end. These topics deserved much more exploration and depth and sadly, should never be used as tear jerking techniques to exploit your audience’s emotions. Each one of these issues are either quickly resolved or just mentioned in the climax scene of the film which leaves the audience no time to react to it.
Also, the resolution to the estranged Mother/ daughter relationship is swiftly resolved near the end after a few measly dialogues which were already mentioned a couple of times throughout the film. Why? Cause the film needed to end I suppose.
v – Almost all characters are deplorable or uninteresting (namely the doppy documentary maker in the film) . But Kajol’s hokey performance really takes the cake! Her exaggerated performance does not at all fit with the overall tone of the film. There was no scene which made me sympathize with her plight. An actress like Nandita Das would’ve knocked this role out of the park but unfortunately, Kajol is a total, unfortunate miscast.
vi – The costume design and makeup is completely at odds with the dire situation presented in the film. Every day, Anu does a whole new fancy wardrobe change and makeup just so she could visit her mother who is suffering from a coma (and potentially, life threatening) at the hospital. I mean, good grief…
vii – Now here is a problem which many feminist films suffer from; over compensation. Almost all male characters in the film are either idiots or a**holes just to present an opportunity for the female protagonists to fight through. Most of the issues that women face in our society are seeped extremely deep into our culture and psyche. Women are not necessarily tough by depicting their world solely in black and white. Societies are much more complicated than that and should not be insulted by depicting antagonists purely as two dimensional obstacles to overcome.
Tribhanga is a bloated mess of a film. Kajol’s exaggerated performance and a directionless, half baked script really destroyed any chances of this being a good film. The premise is great and had so much potential of being even a brilliant, low key family drama but unfortunately, almost nothing lands in this film. What a total debacle.
Rate: 1.25 out of 5 stars