Mother – a person who loves unconditionally, cares incessantly, bears infinite pain, is soft from inside and strong from outside and can go to any lengths to safeguard her children. Like every other human relation, the strong and loving personality of mothers have inspired filmmakers of Hindi film industry to carve some of the most pivotal characters in movies. Over the years, we have seen an eclectic variation of Bollywood mothers who have left a lasting impression on us.
A Bollywood mother, since forever, has been the paragon of love and sacrifice. She has been the one who is equipped to troubleshoot problems and has an exemplary intuitive understanding. Instead of just being a prop, a mother’s character in a film has often played a major role in driving its narrative. And this has not changed over the years. Every mother we have ever seen on the silver screen has those intrinsic traits — loving, caring, sacrificing, quick to judge, fussy yet always available for her kids.
However, some may argue about the transformation of mothers, from the sacrificing types played by Nirupa Roy, Farida Jalal or Reema Lagoo to the broad-minded and pillar of strength portrayals by Sakshi Tanwar, Meher Vij or Shabana Azmi. But take a closer look, despite some material changes to the characters, their essence remains.
Take, for instance, Farida Jalal’s character of Kajol’s mother in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Meher Vij as Zaira Wasim’s mother in Secret Superstar. In DDLJ, Lajjo aka Jalal who is more of a friend to her daughter Simran (Kajol) understands her agony but remains tight-lipped in front of her husband’s (Amrish Puri) atrocities in the wake of familial moral values. It is by the climax that she musters the courage to think of her daughter’s happiness over anything else. Similarly, Meher Vij, in Secret Superstar, supports Insia (Zaira Wasim) through thick and thin but is a submissive wife who is afraid of going against Insia’s evil father. But here too, just like DDLJ, we see a mother’s helpless-to-braveheart journey as for her, her biggest victory lies in her children’s happiness.
Coming to Bollywood mothers who are always brimming with love, consider Nirupa Roy (Deewar) or Rakhee (Karan Arjun) who played a mother to Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan-Salman Khan, respectively. Their ultimate expression of love was that one extra bite of food and these two belonged to a category who fussed over a small cut or a scratch on her child’s body.
Following in the footsteps of Roy or Rakhee is the mother Saba Qamar (Mita) of a young girl Piya in Hindi Medium. Mita hyperventilates on the mere thought of her daughter not going to a private English medium school. And she makes her daughter wear a helmet and a full-sleeves jacket on a hot summer day as she goes to play to protect her from a mosquito bite and a head injury. Amrita Singh of 2 States is no less as she fusses over Arjun Kapoor getting no nonvegetarian food in his hostel.
Kirron Kher of Sonam Kapoor starrer Khoobsurat may appear to be a modern mummy, but she is quick to form opinions and get scandalised. Shefali Shah of Dil Dhadakne Do is one of those kinds who tends to ignore what’s happening in the lives of her children until confrontation remains the only way out. Sakshi Tanwar of Dangal is a supportive mother who wants her daughters to achieve big in life but refuses to go against her husband Aamir Khan’s wish in the film. Each of these characters may appear modern, broad-minded and multi-dimensional on the surface, but deep down they bear those innate qualities of a mother and prove that the core definition of a mother hasn’t changed in the world of Hindi cinema.