Trikal (also, Trikal – Present, Past, Future) is a 1985 Hindi film directed by Shyam Benegal. The film is predominantly set in the pre-liberation Goa of the early 1960s and gives a great insight into the society of those days. The film was critically acclaimed and got featured in the International film festivals at Lisbon and London.

Cast

  • Leela Naidu —– Dona Maria Souza Soares
  • Anita Kanwar — Sylvia
  • Neena Gupta —- Millagrenia
  • Soni Razdan —– Aurora
  • Naseeruddin Shah — Ruiz Pereira
  • KK Raina ——— Senior Lucio
  • Ila Arun ———– Cook
  • Lucky Ali ——– Erasmo
  • Kulbhushan Kharbanda — Vijay Singh Rane
  • Sushma Prakash – Ana
  • Dalip Tahil —— Leon Gonsalves
  • Kunal Kapoor — Governor

Crew

  • Direction —— Shyam Benegal
  • Producer —— Freni M Variava
  • Story & Screenplay —– Shyam Benegal
  • Music ———–Vanraj Bhatia
  • Cinematography ——– Ashok Mehta
  • Editing ———Bhanudas Divakar

Story

Trikal revolves around a Goan Christian family called “Souza Soares”, set in the turbulent 1960s when the Portuguese rule in Goa is taking its last breaths.

Sometime in the 1980s, Ruiz Pariera (Shah) returns to Souza Soares after a long stint abroad, somewhat taken aback at the changes that has taken place in the Goa of his youth. The sight of now derelict mansion fills him with a sense of nostalgia and memories come flooding in, triggering a narrative which takes the film forward.

The grand old man of Souza Soares, Ernesto is on his funeral bed, while his daughter Sylvia (Kanwal) and her clumsy husband Lucio (Raina) are more disturbed than sad with the fact that the matriarch Donna Maria (Naidu) is yet to come to terms with the death of her husband and prefers listening to Portuguese songs at full volume instead of being in mourning, pretending he is still alive.

Sylvia’s daughter Ana (Prakash) is about to be engaged to Erasmo (Ali), son of a wealthy family settled in Europe. The engagement has been postponed due to the death of her grandfather, much to her relief, as her heart is still with Leon (Tahil), a Goan freedom fighter who has escaped from a Portuguese prison; and unknown to all, is hiding in the cellar. The younger daughter Aurora (Razdan) is in love with the Francis (Kriplani), the spineless drunkard.

A young Ruiz loves Ana but lusts the young housemaid, and Ernesto’s illegitimate daughter, Mila (Gupta). Mila has another interesting job at hand, of doubling as a psychic medium for Donna Maria who is trying to contact her departed husband’s spirit. It is another story, however, that she ends up invoking the ghosts of the Nationalists (Kharbanda and co.) who have been wronged, and sent to gallows, by the family.

Meanwhile, Ana’s lover still hides in the cellar. As her marriage with Erasmo draws near, she faints and it is found that she is pregnant with Leon’s child…

Commentary

Trikal is a depiction of the Goa which is almost lost now, a strong sense of nostalgia is the prime feeling that engulfs the film like an aching mist. I saw this film about two decades back, but some of its scenes, and associated emotions, are still fresh in the mind.

This relatively little known film from Benegal is wonderfully details with multilayered storytelling and characterisation. It has a dark sense of humour portrayed through the characters who are weirdly unique in varying degrees. The actors have done well, especially Leena Naidu and Neena Gupta, who is perhaps in her finest role ever.

One of the high points of this film is the camerawork by Ashok Mehta, and the brilliant use of lighting.  Along with the music, the lights and shadows form the heart and soul of the film, transcending from the ordinary to an experience which borders surreal. The dialogues live with you, especially the ones like, “Mera gaon jaise Ming daur ka khubsoorat phooldaan hai”.

Awards

  • National Film Award for Best Direction: Shyam Benegal (1986)
  • National Film Award for Best Costume Design: Saba Zaidi (1986)

TRIVIA

  • The film was shot in the ancestral home of Mario Miranda, at Loutolim, Goa.