Mothers Of Bollywood
Mere Pass Maa Hai, the iconic dialogue from Deewar is perhaps the best to describe the importance of the mother in Hindi films. Ever since the inception of the cinema the role of a mother has virtually evolved with the passing decades. From being a simple saree-clad woman with a pallu on head singing lullabies to her children to a woman dressed in designer wear clinking away scotch filled glasses with her son, the mother in Bollywood has definitely come a really long way.
For decades together now, the world of Bollywood has showered love on its mothers so much so that some of them have become the iconic figures of the film industry. When speaking about the mother of yesteryear, one could imagine a woman coughing and working on her sewing machine, to earn the money for her son’s education or daughter’s wedding.
In fact, in most of the films the turning point was often caused by the mother. The mother’s suffering leading up to the hero’s cry for justice, her terminal disease making the hero commit the first crime, her humiliation by the villain encouraging a vengeance attack by the hero. Who can forget the iconic Rakhee who played the role of a mother in Karan Arjun. “Mere Karan Arjun aayenge” has remained the most famous dialogue of the movie.
The role of mother underwent a drastic change with the advent of a new set of movies. In fact, Rajshri movies was the pioneer in changing the image of the mother altogether. Reema Lagoo who debuted as a mother in Maine Pyaar Kiya has remained one of the favourite “Maa” of the banner with films like Hum Aapke Hai Kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hai in her kitty. As the Indian cinema completes its 100 years, here’s a look at the favourite mothers of Bollywood:
A strong woman in real life with even stronger roles on the silver screen, Durga Khote was perhaps the strongest screen mother ever who portrayed a wide variety of roles in her 50-year-long career, starting in 1932. Her portrayal of Jodhabai, the queen of Mughal Emperor Akbar, torn between duty towards her husband and love for her son Salim in film Mughal-e-Azam (1960) remains etched in the memory. The only negative role that she played in her career was the portrayal of Kaikayee in Vijay Bhatts classic Bharat Milap (1942), wherein she turns the arch villain of the epic Ramayana to make her son Bharat the Crown Prince. Her other great performances were in Charno Ki Dassi (1941), Mirza Ghalib (50s), Bobby and Bidai (1974) for which she won Filmfare Award. One of the most respected ladies of the Hindi cinema, she was awarded the most prestigious Dada Sahib Phalke Award in 1983 and was honoured by the Government of India with Padma Shri.
She was perhaps the only woman whose character was the most loved and dreadful at the same time. An epitome of love for her son but a terror for the daughter-in-law, Lalita Pawar has the longest ever innings spanning from the silent era of 1920s to 1990s with more than 300 films to her credit. If one was to make a list of the movies she played mother in, it would also be the list of super hits of the 50s and 60s Dahej, Thokar, Mr. And Mrs.1955, Khandaan, Shri 420, Pocket Maar, Nau Do Gyarah, Asha, Parwarish, Sujata, Guest House, Anari, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Sasural, Junglee, Hum Dono, Grihasti, Bluff Master, Sangam, Kohra, Khandaan, Love in Tokyo and many more. She won Filmfare Best Supporting Actress award for her role in Anari.
It was the dialogue from the film Deewar mouthed by Shashi Kumar that Nirupa Roy became the unforgettable mother of Bollywood. She was the most favourite onscreen mother of super stars, especially Amitabh Bachchan, Deewar revolved around a downtrodden, sacrificing single mother and her two sons, Ravi (Shashi Kapoor), an honest police officer and Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan), the evil but mother-loving criminal. Pitting both the brothers against each other for winning the mother, Deewar established once and for all that despite the accumulation of wealth, it is the mother that matters. Nirupa Roy also played the role of Amitabh’s mother in Amar Akbar Anthony, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Suhaag, Mard and Lal Badshah.
The casting of the leading lady as a mother was termed the casting coup of sorts as she was to become a mother to her leading hero Amitabh Bachchan. It was through Shakti (1982), that Rakhee ventured into the world of onscreen mothers. Cast opposite Dilip Kumar, who played the father, Raakhee’s portrayal as a mother made her most sought after by the prominent film producers. Her important films in which she played mother include Baazigar, Karan Arjun, Soldier, Badshah, Ek Rishta, Khalnayak and Ram Lakhan for which she won Filmfare award.
It is said that had Jaya Bachchan been a little older, she would have easily filled up the vacuum left by Nirupa Roy. Playing the woman caught between her son and her husband, Jaya Bachchan perhaps often portrays the classic Catch-22 situation that most moms face today. After a gap of film appearances for 18 years, she returned to acting with Govind Nihalani’s Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa (1998), a film about the Naxalite movement. In 2000 she starred in Fiza for which she received the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for her work. She also starred in Karan Johar’s family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) with her husband. She then starred in Karan Johar’s next film, Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003). She played the role of Preity Zinta’s mother, Jennifer, for which she again received a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. In 2007 Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, she appeared with son Abhishek Bachchan.
Given her classic middle class Indian features Reema Lagoo took no time in getting the mother roles. After Maine Pyar Kiya, Reema Lagoo played the mother in practically all the films under the banner of Rajshri films, which has given her the name of being Rajshri films ki maa. Apart from playing the role of Salman Khan’s mother she has played a mother to Govinda, Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt.
Often termed an onscreen mother that no one would be ever shy of even while taking to the parties, Kirron Kher brought in a much needed overhaul in onscreen mother’s image. Wrapped in designer wears in most of the movies, Kirron Kher left behind the plain clothes clad mother of Bollywood. Her successful movies include Main Hoon Na (2004), Hum Tum (2004), Veer-Zaara (2004), and Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005), where her performance drew rave reviews. Her work in Rang De Basanti (2006) was a huge hit and her performance got her second nomination for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. Her role in Fanaa (2006) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) also received appreciation. Adding to her list of comical roles in 2008 she appeared in Singh is Kinng, Saas bahu aur Sensex, Dostana and Om Shanti Om.
The jeans-clad Dimple Kapadia in Pyaar Mein Twist played the mom every daughter dreamt of having. She played the new age mom in films like Cocktail. Kapadia also played the small part of Salman Khan’s asthmatic mother in Dabangg (2010) and Luck By chance.
By Parwinder Sandhu