The 5 Faces Of Bollywood Mothers
When Shashi Kapoor uttered the immortal words “Mere paas Maa hai” in Deewar (1975), he was literally saying “I have my mother, and she is all I need.” Characters in Bollywood films don’t need designated days in order to tell their mothers how much they love them. Chances are they tearfully confess it every day, or prove it in the form of a quest for revenge in her name.
Like the strict and imperious father, who is a force that must be overcome by true love, the doting and eternally good-hearted mother is a staple of Hindi cinema that still exists today, although her children may now live all over the world and be less bound by tradition.
It doesn’t matter if he is the type of hero that beats up fifty goons in five minutes, while taking the time to sing a number with short-skirted item girl; when it comes to his mother, he’s a complete softie (even if the mother is not all she seems to be). But while the saintly version is all well and good, she definitely isn’t the most entertaining. So here, in honour of Mother’s Day, is a quick rundown of the 5 most common types of Bollywood mother…
05. THE SAINTLY MOTHER
The most common type: the saintly mother is the one who floats through her various scenes with an aura of calm. She has no real purpose except to love and be loved by her children. She may play the good cop to her husband’s bad cop, or spend much of her time weeping copious tears at the hardships inflicted on her son/daughter. Examples include Jaya Bachchan in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001), who practically floods the screen with her crying); Rani Mukherji in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), who is quite literally a matchmaking angel dressed in white; and pretty much any mother played by Reema Lagoo. Now, she might seem like a mother who would let you get away with murder if you so sweetly begged her forgiveness afterward, but would that really be ideal? Think about it: you probably couldn’t get a splinter without her wailing and praying for your long life. And though she may understand you, there is probably little chance of her sticking up for you in front of your father, as not only are you allowed to walk all over her but so is he.
04. THE MOTHER WITH A SECRET PAST
Okay, so your mother seems saintly, but you suspect there’s something bubbling just beneath her calm surface? Could it be a secret child? A secretly still-living dead husband? A previous marriage? An embarrassing addiction to movies where Salman Khan takes his top off? Whichever one it is, be prepared for a mass of angsty melodrama when the secret is finally revealed. If, like Ajay Devgan in Suhaag (1994), you discover that your mother still performs Karva Chauth because the father you thought was dead is actually falsely imprisoned by an evil organ-thief, you might end up having to fight to clear his name. The problem with mothers like this is that they are usually drama queens who probably enjoy the torment of burdening only themselves and then screaming for someone else to take REVENGE.
03. THE CRAZY AND/OR EVIL MOTHER
Mothers on the dark side usually come in the form of greedy ladies egging on their villain husbands, but occasionally they too can take centre stage. For example, Aruna Irani’s turn as the (secretly) evil stepmother in Beta (1992) is so memorably over the top that even Amrish Puri would have to acknowledge her exceptional villainy skills. Playing a woman who manipulates her (almost special needs) stepson into being her devoted slave, while aiming to steal his money and, at the same time, murder his plucky wife, it is almost a shame when she is redeemed at the end (through the power of love). Aruna Irani again shows her crazy side in Jigar (1992), when she practically beats the crap out of Ajay Devgan’s corpse in order to bring him back to life so that he can (you guessed it) get REVENGE. Other examples include Smita Jaykar in Devdas (2002) and to an (much lesser) extent Himani Shivpuri in Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon (2003).
02. THE COMEDY MOTHER
Kirron Kher, Farida Jalal, step forward! This is the best kind of mother to have in a Bollywood film because she is not only loving, but also hilarious! She has shades of the saintly mother, in that she will do anything for her son, but that won’t stop her from beating him with a rubber baseball bat if he comes home drunk (Duplicate, 1998). Kirron Kher’s hysterical histrionics upon learning that her son was gay in Dostana (2008) stole the show, and yet it, somehow, made her eventual acceptance of his lifestyle just that more touching.
01. THE SINGLE/INDEPENDENT MOTHER
A more recent addition, the single and/or independent mother is usually younger than her counterparts and may even be played by such Bollywood babes as Priyanka Chopra (Pyaar Impossible, 2010), Lara Dutta (Partner, 2007) and Madhuri Dixit (Aaja Nachle, 2007). Although some of them might have been unfortunately forced into single-motherhood, like Preity Zinta in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), they are all smart, successful and capable of raising their children without any help.
So, whether your mother is saintly, single, funny, or secretly hiding a tragic back-story, appreciate her this Mother’s Day. Unless she’s evil. In that case, you should probably keep your distance.
Recent World Cinema Features
Ryan Andrews. Failed vampire hunter-turned-director Ryan Andrews speaks
to the masses just days before the UK premiere of his new horror film, Elfie…
Five Underrated Movies You Need To See. Sometimes a film goes unnoticed, perhaps…
Top 5 Films To Win Over World Cinema Sceptics. Despite the joys that world…
Animating Reality. By definition an animated documentary shouldn’t really work.…
Gael García Bernal – Spanish Language Cinema As Social Message. Much more than an…
Leave a Comment
No comments yet