Maine Pyar Kiya: Reema Lagoo had already been in the Hindi film industry for a few years, when she got a role in this film as protagonist Prem’s (Salman Khan) doting mother. While the actor had already played a mother in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, her role as the only one who understood her son’s love for Suman, established Lagoo as the ultimate Hindi film mother for a whole new generation of moviegoers. Hum Saath Saath Hain: In this bloated multi-starrer from the Barjatya banner, Lagoo played the Kaikeyi-like mother who, in an effort to ensure her son’s future, tears her family apart. It could have been a one-note villainous role, but for Lagoo’s enormously sympathetic presence and her talent for subtly conveying the internal conflicts of the character.
Rihaee: In this film, directed by Aruna Raje and one of Lagoo’s early projects in the Hindi film industry, the actor played a role that her later status as Bollywood’s much-beloved mother would probably never have allowed her to play. Lagoo added much heart and humour to her portrayal of the village woman who pursues sexual fulfilment outside her marriage and made an otherwise small role memorable.
Kal Ho Naa Ho: With the other mother in the film, played by Jaya Bachchan, having a meatier part to play, Lagoo, who played Aman’s (Shah Rukh Khan) mother, only had a few scenes in which to convey the stoic grace and strength of a woman who knows her only child is about to die. But so completely did Lagoo inhabit this character that it is considered one of her best performances in Hindi films.
Shriman Shrimati: In this popular ’90s sitcom, Lagoo played Kokila, aka Kokiji, a quick-witted no-nonsense homemaker who becomes the unwilling object of affection for her new neighbour, Dilruba (Rakesh Bedi). Lagoo’s stellar performance in this show owed as much to her chemistry with her co-stars, as to her own impeccable comic timing.
Vaastav: With Sanjay Dutt playing the irredeemable son and Lagoo playing the mother who has to kill him, this Mahesh Manjrekar directed-film had more than just an echo of Nargis Dutt’s Mother India. But Lagoo stamped the role with her own authority, delivering a heart-wrenching performance in the climax .
Tu Tu Main Main: Before television was taken over by manipulative mothers-in-law who were permanently dressed to kill, there was Devaki Verma, whose companionable, if overly-competitive and sniping, relationship with her bahu (Supriya Pilagaonkar) provided much comic fodder. Thanks to Lagoo’s on-point performance, this role was the antidote against the glut of overtly-sentimental mother roles in film and television.
Naamkaran: Lagoo had a meaty role as the evil, scheming mother Dayawanti in this show based on Mahesh Bhatt’s 1998 film, Zakhm. It was the closest that Lagoo came to playing the manipulative matriarch so loved by current television, and was sharply divergent from the mother roles she had played.
Purush: In this Marathi play, Lagoo played an idealistic school teacher and anti-caste activist who seeks vengeance on a politician after he rapes her and turns her life upside down. The actor shared the stage with stalwart performers such as Nana Patekar and Chandrakant Gokhale, but held her own with a powerful performance.