There is more to a mother-daughter relationship than meets the eye, but rarely do we see the layers of that relationship explored in movies. There is love, attachment, frustration, aversion, disagreement – but the proportions of these emotions fluctuate in seconds, making this relationship difficult to explain and therefore even more difficult to portray on screen.
The director Renuka Shahane has made it her business to crack this code with her film Tribhanga with Tanvi Azmi, Kajol and Mithila Palkar. The film follows three women of different generations who are all part of the same dysfunctional family.
Before diving into Tribhanga, check out five films that explored the nuances of a mother-daughter relationship.
1. Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird follows Christine alias ‘Lady Bird’, who tries to integrate herself into the school and at the same time to develop her own identity. Christine and her mother have a tough relationship where they love each other, but sometimes they find it difficult to admire and like each other. The end of the film brings her journey to a happy new beginning as ‘Lady Bird’ grows out of her youth.
Khalid Mohammed’s Tehzeeb follows the complicated relationship of a mother-daughter duo, played by Shabana Azmi (Rukhsana) and Urmila Matondkar (Tehzeeb). Tehzeeb’s father died of suicide and she always assumed that her mother was responsible. As the plot of the film progresses, the two try to mend their relationship while also taking care of Rukshana’s younger daughter who deals with mental health issues.
August 3: Osage County
The John Wells film is the story of a family that reunites after the death of the patriarch and realizes that their relationships have been irreparably broken. Meryl Streep plays Violet, a woman struggling with cancer and pill addiction, and Julia Roberts plays her middle daughter Barbara. Violet has a tough relationship with all of her daughters, but for a variety of reasons. During the fighting, mother and daughters find some tender moments, but a dark cloud looms over the relationship.
4. Postcards from the edge
Mike Nichols’ Postcards from the Edge, written by Carrie Fisher, follows the relationship of a mother-daughter duo played by Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. The film is loosely based on Carrie’s relationship with her mother, Debbie Reynolds. Meryl plays a movie star who tries to sober up in the shadow of her mother, who used to be an actress. The film follows the turbulent relationship between the two women who rediscover their love for one another amid their addictions.
5. Nile Battey Sannata
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwaris Nil Battey Sannata follows Chanda (Swara Bhasker) who works as a housekeeper and wants her daughter Apu to get a good education. However, Apu has no interest in studies. To help her, Chanda visits Apu’s school so she can study and then teach. The two try to manage their relationship as classmates and mother-daughter while receiving an education at the same time.