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Changing face of Bollywood screen mothers

By Priyanka Khanna, IANS
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DeewarDoting on their celluloid mothers and shedding copious tears during climax to underline the maternal bonding has been a leitmotif of Hindi films.

While Raj Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan did it in yesteryears, now the likes of Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan leave no opportunity to proclaim undying love for their screen mothers.

Bollywood has been paying tributes to mothers long before Mother's Day turned into another one of those western concepts that are finding a mention in the Indian calendar.

In a land where mother is revered as an all-forgiving goddess, "Mere Paas Maa Hai" (you may have everything money can buy but I have mother's blessings) - a line from "Deewar" - remains the most quoted dialogue from any Hindi film.

But the portrayal of mothers onscreen, however, has undergone a sea change over the years. For decades every film necessarily revolved around an all-sacrificing, helpless mother, waiting for death to relieve her from sufferings.

NargisNargis symbolised such mothers in "Mother India" following which all the mothers had the same clichéd roles to play. Representing both motherhood and Mother Earth, who also nurtures and occasionally punishes, Nargis immortalised the Indian mother on celluloid.

Next were Sulochana Devi and Nirupa Roy. They epitomised the perfect mothers - of those times. All they had to do was shed tears, look helpless and play a positive character.

Nirupa was the favourite onscreen mother for super stars and was an important element in the film's climax. Remember "Deewaar", "Amar Akbar Anthony" and "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar"? A couple of yeas back she was felicitated with a lifetime achievement award by a popular film magazine.

View 15 Park Avenue Movie StillsOther memorable mothers include Waheeda Rehman in "Trishul", Raakhee in "Ram Lakhan", Nutan in "Karma" and Sharmila Tagore in "Aradhana". The film directors were better able to bring out the contrast between their younger, happier days. For the likes of Waheeda, Raakhee, Nutan and Sharmila, portraying aging mothers meant more artistic fulfilment.

A bad onscreen mother was almost always a stepmother, who nonetheless enjoyed the love and trust of the hero. Even if the mother did not get along with the daughter-in-law, her love for her son was seldom questioned.

In the 1990s a new avatar of onscreen mothers emerged with Reema Lagoo ("Maine Pyar Kiya") and Farida Jalal ("Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge"). From 'maa', Bollywood mother became 'mom'. She was no longer a weepy, white-clad woman. Instead, she dressed glamorously in traditional splendour, love their little jokes and even break out into a couple of dance numbers at weddings.

Download Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham WallpapersFrom being treated goddesses, they became their son or daughter's best pal and confidante. These mothers urge their children to follow their heart, go after their love, give up a job and occasionally, even leave home (remember Farida in "Dilwale Dhulania Le Jayenge" and Jaya Bachchan in "Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham").

Today, audiences mostly come across mothers playing a successful single parent. Rekha proved it in "Koi Mil Gaya" and so did Kirron Kher in "Hum Tum". They symbolise the mother of today's times who are no more restricted to do the household chores but venture into the big bad world.

Thankfully, the baton has now been passed to mothers like Shabana Azmi, Lilette Dubey and Dimple Kapadia, who are gradually bringing with them the belief that their own happiness is as important as their children's.

Send Pyaar Mein Twist EcardsFor instance, in "Pyaar Mein Twist", Dimple dares to get married to Rishi Kapoor in the twilight of her life even as her own daughter is tying the knot.

On rare occasions, we have seen mother and daughter falling for the same man (as in "Saaz") and daughter blaming workaholic mother for father's death (as in "Tehzeeb").

While the portrayal of mothers on the big screen is alas undergoing changes, the world of soap operas cannot get enough of yesteryear motherly stereotypes. One hopes the small-screen 'maa' evolves into 'mom' faster.

In real-life, many Bollywood mothers can be seen crafting their daughters' future in the madcap Hindi film industry.

Instead of deterring them from entering the much-maligned world of Hindi cinema, they are standing by their daughters. In some instances they are doing so in spite of their husbands' disapproval.

View Fardeen - Natasha Reception Picture GalleryMother-daughter duo Hema Malini and Esha Deol are a solid support for each other. Hema is said to have boosted daughter Esha's efforts to tone her body, which fetched her first hit "Dhoom".

Much like Esha, yesteryears screen goddess Tanuja's younger daughter, Tanishha, is also in hot pursuit of success, following in the footsteps of her sister Kajol.

Tanuja's contemporary Suchitra Sen's granddaughters Raima and Riya are also giving tough competition to the young crop of actresses. The latest to enter the foray is Sharmila Tagore's youngest child Soha Ali Khan who was lauded for her performance in "Rang De Basanti".

View 15 PARK AVENUE Premiere Picture GalleryAnother smashing mother-daughter duo is Aparna Sen and Konkona SenSharma. While the mother is a former actor and acclaimed director, the daughter has already bagged a national award for her performance as a Tamil housewife in her mother's film "Mr. and Mrs. Iyer".

With the competition getting more and more cut-throat, star daughters of Bollywood moms are surely lucky to have 'maas' on their side.


 
 

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