Gone are the days when the on-screen mothers in Bollywood would sing lullabies in their soft
voices, those pain-filled eyes reflecting their sacrifices,
their adoring smile and strokes that soothes away fears, their
all-encompassing equation with their on-screen sons.
From Mother India (1957) to Vicky Donor (2012),
the portrayal of on-screen mothers have changed over a period
of time. The Maa of yesteryear has become 'Mom' today.
Then, no story was complete without them but today
those roles have become mostly cliched. Now, in most films,
mothers have become marginalised, they are mere props instead
of propelling the story.
"There is less importance of mothers in films today.
Even if there are roles for mother, there is hardly anything
for them to do on screen. Things have changed, there is hero
and heroine for everything, so there is no need of mother,"
said Zarina Wahab, who essayed the role of mother to Shah Rukh Khan
in Karan Johar's My Name is Khan and Hrithik Roshan in the
remake version of Agneepath.
"The kind of emotions and sentiments that is attached
with the character of a mother is not there in today's films.
I am happy that after a long time I got to do a film like
Agneepath (remake one)," she said.
Can anyone forget actor Shashi Kapoor's famous
dialogue as a cop, Mere paas maa hai, to his smuggler
brother Amitabh Bachchan in Deewar, where Nirupa Roy was the
mother. Roy became the most epitomised on-screen mother in
Nargis played a fiery single mother in Mehboob Khan's
Mother India, who brings up her two sons, Rajendra Kumar
and Sunil Dutt. Nargis does not hesitate to fire a bullet at
her criminal son, Sunil Dutt.
Leela Chitnis created the archetype of Hindi cinema
mother, as she often played an ailing mother or one going
through hardships and struggle. She played the mother of
leading men, including legendary Dilip Kumar.
Then we had Waheeda Rehman in Yash Chopra's Trishul,
Dina Pathak in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Khubsoorat, Raakhee in
Ramesh Sippy's Shakti, Nirupa in Manmohan Desai's Amar
Then came a new set of mothers -- Rajshri Movies'
favourite maa, Reema Lagoo in Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Aapke
Hai Kaun, Hum Saath Saath Hai, the cute maa Farida
Jalal in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayege, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,
the glamorous maa Kirron Kher in films like Veer Zaara,
Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Dostana, Zarina founded a new image
of an on-screen mother by the donning the roles in My Name is
Khan, Rakhta Charitra and the latest Agneepath.
"Times have changed and so have the role of mothers in
Bollywood. As films reflect society, the portrayal of mothers
has become more Westernised like in terms of clothes. There
are not much family drama movies today - either we have a
filthy rich mother or a mother from Dharavi (a slum locality
in Mumbai). Where is the middle class mother who goes through
struggle, pain?" asked Reema Lagoo, who has played on-screen
mother to Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt (Vaastav)
and Shahrukh Khan (Yes Boss).
"I feel mothers have merely become prop today...there
is hardly anything for them to do on screen. I miss playing
the kind of roles I did earlier," she said.
How can one forget the drinking mother, Dolly
Ahluwalia, in Vicky Donor. She played the mother to Ayushmann
Khurrana and had the audiences in splits with her act.
In Vicky Donor, the scene between Dolly and her
mother-in-law (Kamlesh Gill) sharing a drink has become the
most talked about act of the film which released last month.
Dolly has admitted she had apprehensions about the
audience accpeting the saas-bahu's drinking sessions. "To our
good fortune, our bonding, including the drinking part, has
been liked," Dolly has said.