Trishna (2011)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 3-Oct-2012

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Interviews-Crew-Director Michael Winterbottom
Interviews-Cast-Riz Ahmed
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Mumbai Montage
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Madman trailers x 4
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 108:38
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Winterbottom

Madman Entertainment
Starring Freida Pinto
Riz Ahmed
Anurag Kashyap
Huma Qureshi
Roshan Seth
Kalki Koechlin
Neet Mohan
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Amit Trivedi
Shigeru Umebayashi

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Indian expatriate Jay (Riz Ahmed) is on a holiday in Rajasthan with friends when, in a village in rural Rajasthan, he meets Trishna (Freida Pinto). Then Trishna’s father is injured in a vehicular accident and cannot work to support his family, so Jay gets his father to offer Trishna a job in the family hotel in Jaipur. In Jaipur Jay gradually falls in love with Trishna and one night they make love. Ashamed, Trishna flees back to her family, later having an abortion. Still needing to support the family, she is sent off to work for an uncle where Jay tracks her down and persuades her to run away with him to Mumbai.

     In cosmopolitan Mumbai Jay and Trishna can live together openly and be a couple without the social constraints of conservative Rajasthan. Jay uses his family’s money to invest in the film industry and the two live an idyllic life in a flat by the sea. But when Jay’s father suffers a stroke, Jay flies to London. While he is away, the lease of the flat expires and Trishna moves in with friends and starts to establish an independent life of her own. Later Jay returns from London, but as his father is still gravely ill Jay returns to Rajasthan to manage the family’s hotel assets. Jay asks Trishna to return to Rajasthan with him and she agrees, but their relationship cannot be publically acknowledged; so she once again becomes an employee of the hotel and the two can only steal moments for furtive sexual encounters. In this environment, Jay starts to treat Trishna more like a courtesan, making demands of her that lead her to feel used and humiliated. What was love before turns to tragedy.

     Trishna is director Michael Winterbottom’s take on Thomas Hardy’s 19th century novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. This is, in fact, Winterbottom’s third adaptation of a Hardy novel after Jude (1996) ( Jude the Obscure) and The Claim (2000) (The Mayor of Casterbridge). In the extras Winterbottom states that he felt the tensions within the culture and the rigid class structure of England brought about by the rapid change of the Industrial Revolution, at the centre of Hardy’s novel, could be mirrored by the changes taking place in contemporary Indian society, making India a perfect setting for this retelling of Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

     I am not sure the film works as social commentary on that level in modern India and the end of the film with the school kids, the pledge and Trishna, feels clumsy. But there is no doubt that Freida Pinto (who was a model in Mumbai until picked by Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)) is wonderful and that Trishna looks beautiful. Filmed in rural Rajasthan, Jaipur and Mumbai, in a natural handheld style, the film’s detail is impressive, the village, the fields, roads and animals feel dusty and natural. When the film moves to Jaipur it avoids the obvious monuments and palaces to concentrates on the streets and markets. The evening shots throughout the film, with their deep blacks and light sources in the darkness, are stunning. The other plus is Freida Pinto as Trishna. She is not only beautiful, but, with little dialogue, she manages through her movements and her expressive eyes to show the confusion, anguish and humiliation of Trishna. She is drawn to Jay like a moth to a flame, and although she escapes on two occasions, she is pulled back into his world whenever he asks. If Riz Ahmed is, to my mind, less successful it is more to do with the script. Winterbottom has chosen to merge the two characters of Alec and Angel in Hardy’s novel into one person in the character of Jay, and although he is a spoiled rich boy and a bit of a jerk from the start, the transition from lover to master is still just too abrupt.

     At its heart Trishna is a moving and tragic film about class, culture and doomed love. It is beautiful to look at, features stunning cinematography of the landscapes and cityscapes of India and is anchored by the wonderful performance of Freida Pinto in the central role. It is well worth a look.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     Trishna is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Some of the frames of the film look so beautiful they could be hung on the wall. The print is sharp with superb detail. Colours have that flattish, slightly washed out digital look, but look natural enough suggesting the heat and dryness of the Rajasthan desert. However, they are bright enough showing off the clothes worn by the rural women and the flashy Bollywood dancers. Blacks are rock solid and shadow detail excellent, with some gorgeous evening and night sequences in both city and countryside. Brightness, contrast and skin tones are consistent and natural. Other than some shimmering with movement and on the closing titles, I did not notice any film or film to video artefacts.

     The English subtitles are available in yellow or white fonts. When the subtitles are not enabled, they come on automatically to translate the Hindi and other Indian dialects spoken in the film as well as the pledge, which is in English, at the end. I did not notice any spelling of grammatical errors.

     This is a wonderful print that does justice to the stunning cinematography.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps, although there are portions of Indian languages as well.

     Dialogue was mostly clear, although at times it was drowned out somewhat by the music. This audio is quite front oriented with only some minor ambient sound to go with the music in the surrounds. During the Bollywood dance number, the surrounds as well as the sub-woofer sprang to life. Other than supporting some music, I only noticed the sub-woofer during the fireworks near the beginning of the film.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The music is a combination of Hindi songs by Amit Trivedi and an orchestral score by Shigeru Umebayashi. The juxtaposition works very well, with the western score starting to dominate more as the film moves to the tragic conclusion.

     The audio is fine for a film of this type.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Interview with Michael Winterbottom (11:09)

     Winterbottom answers questions displayed as a text screen. He talks about setting Hardy in present day India including the cultural backgrounds, casting the leads, the central relationship in the film, combining two Hardy characters into one, how Pinto got immersed into her character and the Indian soundtrack. Informative and interesting.

Interview with Riz Ahmed (5:08)

     The actor talks about working with Winterbottom for a second time, the script, or lack of it, merging Hardy’s two characters to create Jay, India and Hardy. Brief but interesting.

Deleted Scenes (6:36)

     6 deleted scenes. No text or commentary about where they fit or why they were cut. Some are of the holiday with Jay and his friends which starts the film and were rightly cut as they delay his meeting with Trishna.

Mumbai Montage (2:09)

     Various Mumbai scenes run together. Pointless.

Theatrical Trailer (2:05)

Madman Trailers

     Trailers for other films from Madman: The Trip (2:28), Genova (2:35), Desert Flower (2:21) and Perfect Sense (2:43).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There is a Region 1 US NTSC version of Trishna that is listed as being without extras. The Region 2 UK release seems identical to ours. Buy local.


     Trishna is director Michael Winterbottom’s take on Thomas Hardy’s 19th century novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Trishna is a moving film about a doomed love, featuring a wonderful performance by Freida Pinto and stunning cinematography.

     The DVD has excellent video, good audio and short but mostly worthwhile extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE