There is more to it than meets the eye in a mother-daughter relationship, but rarely do we explore the layers of that relationship in films. There is love, attachment, frustration, dislike, disagreement – but the proportion of these emotions fluctuate in seconds which makes this relationship difficult to explain, and therefore, even more difficult to portray on screen.
Director Renuka Shahane has cracked the code with her film Tribhanga starring Tanvi Azmi, Kajol and Mithila Palkar. The film follows three women from different generations who are all part of the same grieving family.
Before diving into Tribhanga, check out five films that have explored the nuances of a mother-daughter relationship.
1. Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird follows Christine aka ‘Lady Bird’, who is trying to fit in with her peers at school, as well as trying to build her identity. Christine and her mother have a difficult relationship where they love each other but sometimes it is difficult to admire and like each other. The film’s ending brings her journey to a beautiful new beginning as ‘Lady Bird’ is out of her teens.
Khalid Mohammed’s Tehzeeb follows the complicated relationship between the mother-daughter duo played by Shabana Azmi (Rukhsana) and Urmila Matondkar (Tehzeeb). Tehzeeb’s father died by suicide, and he always assumed that his mother was responsible for that. As the plot of the film progresses, the two try to improve their relationship by taking care of Rukhsana’s younger daughter, who is dealing with many social issues.
3. August: Osage County
The John Wells film is the story of a family who reunite after the death of their father and realize that their relationship is beyond repair. Meryl Streep plays Violet, a woman battling cancer and tablet addiction, and Julia Roberts as her middle daughter Barbara. Violet has a difficult relationship with all of her daughters, but for various reasons. Through the quarrel, the mother and daughters get some gentle moments, but a dark cloud hovers over the relationship.
4. Postcard from shore
Written by Carrie Fisher, Mike Nichols’ postcard from The Edge follows the relationship of a mother-daughter duo played by Shirley McLain and Meryl Streep. The film is loosely based on Carrie’s relationship with her mother, Debbie Reynolds. Meryl plays the role of a film star trying to be somber in the shadow of her mother who used to be an actor. The film advances the relationship between the two women as they rediscover their love between each other’s addictions.
5. Quiet silence
Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s Nil Batte Sannata follows Chanda (Swara Bhaskar), who works as a household help and wants her daughter Apu to get a good education. But, Apun is not interested in studies. To help her, Chanda enrolls in Apu’s school so that she can study, and then teach her. The two try to navigate their relationship as classmates and mother-daughter, while trying to get an education.