TW: Mentions Of Child Abuse
Tribhanga is a story of three generations of mothers available on the OTT platform Netflix. This fresh take on dysfunctional family dynamics is Actor Renuka Shahane’s directorial debut which starts a dialogue on a social generational issue of parenting and atrocities that women face. The movie depicts the deeply rooted issue of patriarchy in our society.
The first story centres around Nayantara Apte, an ambitious genius writer who broke the regressive customs of this society to achieve and fulfil her heart’s desire of being a writer. She was loved by her husband but failed by society, often in her own household where she was continuously criticized by her mother in law, and often faced taunts of not being a good mother.
Tribhanga, starring Kajol delves into a variety of issues faced by single women in patriarchal Indian society.
She later is seen as a young woman who moves away from a toxic household and settles somewhere with her kids. She sets an example that separated wives can find love again. In the midst of this being blinded by love, she overlooked the fact that her own daughter was being abused by her fellow lover.
The scenes remarkably describe child abuse faced by children in society. Such heinous acts are often committed by someone who has access or is close to the child. This grave violation causes an intense psychological impact on the kids, even after they grow up. Such violation makes a child traumatized and the kid growing up often loses faith in the world, or has great resentment towards the society or the family members.
Anuradha was that child, who grew up facing abuse and social humiliation as her mother was divorced. She started hating her mother. Both Anuradha and her brother faced several issues and they chose not to stay in touch with their parents. Anuradha while pregnant with her baby faced violence from her husband. And she later chose to lead her life alone and being an independent mom.
The story turns pages where soon Anuradha was hit with a reality that the trauma she faced someone passed into the life of her daughter. Her daughter Masha, was always over protected and was deprived of a father, and faced humiliation in school similar to Anuradha for not having a father.
Why is our society so judgemental about independent mothers? How can teachers create such a toxic environment for children? Childhood is meant to be memorable but if bad memories outnumber good ones, these children face trauma-related psychological issues as they grow older.
The fathers are not questioned much, but that’s because Renuka prefers keeping the spotlight firmly on the mothers. It isn’t that fathers are let off the hook, it is just that in the Apte family, fathers don’t matter much. In a particular scene, Nayantara says, “Sometimes I wish my children were my characters so that I can write them the way I want to, and make them love me.”
We are not used to such truths from our onscreen mothers. We are tuned to seeing them as ideal beings. Through Tribhanga, Renuka and her wonderful ensemble show us that mothers are multidimensional and as flawed as any other human. “Mere paas maa hai(I have my mother)” doesn’t strike quite the same chest-thumping note anymore, and that’s okay too.