Filmmakers over the years have taken extreme care to position the typical Indian mother on celluloid. On Farida Jalal’s birthday, we remember actresses who are renowned for portraying mothers on screen in Bollywood.
Farida Jalal: She played doting and sometimes comic motherly roles in films like Raja Hindustani, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil To Pagal Hai, Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, for which she won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is also known for he role as Suhasini in the hit 1990s TV serial Dekh Bhai Dekh.
Reema Lagoo: The actress who carved out a niche for herself in Hindi and Marathi cinema was best known for her peformances as Juhi Chawla’s mother in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) and Salman Khan’s mother in the 1989 hit Maine Pyaar Kiya. She also found success on the small screen in comic TV serials like Shrimaan Shrimati’ and Tu Tu Main Main.
Kirron Kher: She is known for portraying on-screen mother roles with a touch of humour. Be it Hum Tum, Rang De Basanti, Dostana or Khoobsurat. She won our hearts with her hilarious dialogues and comic timing. She has also pulled off roles having serious undertones with as ease, like in Fanaa and Veer Zaara.
Nirupa Roy: Referred to as The Queen of Misery in Hindi film circles, her roles as mother to characters played by Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor made her name synonymous to the impoverished suffering mother in the 1970s. Her dialogue Mujhe Khareedne ki Koshish Mat Karna in 1975’s Deewar is one of her most memorable lines.
Lalita Pawar: The actress was known to play the wicked, scheming mother who got into a particularly nasty mood as a mother-in-law. Her character gave entertaining twists and turns to the story. Notable films where she portrayed a mother include Sau Din Saas Ke, Hum Dono and Daag.
Nutan: The role of the iconic Bollywood mother is synonymous with Nutan’s name. The actress played the character excellently in 1980s films such as Meri Jung (1985), Naam (1986) and Karma (1986). She won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for Meri Jung.
Dina Pathak: The late actress became a favourite of art and commercial films alike during the 1970s and 1980s playing powerful motherly and grandmotherly roles. It was in these films that she became recognized as the Grand-Old-Mother of Hindi cinema. Her portrayal as a middle-aged woman pretending to be Amol Palekar’s mother in Golmaal and a strict matriarch of a large family in Khoobsurat won her accolades. Apart from these roles she was also a renowned theatre actress in her early years.
Rakhee: Insistent upon playing good roles rather than star status, the actress raised eyebrows when she didn’t hesitate to play frequent co-star Amitabh Bachchan’s mother in films such as Laawaris (1981) and Shakti (1982). Towards the late 1980s and early 1990s she portrayed strong character roles as the bereaved and bitter elderly mother widowed at the hands of the villains or a woman with principles in films like Ram Lakhan (1989), Baazigar (1993), Khalnayak (1993), Karan Arjun (1995) among others.
Achala Sachdev: The veteran actress is most memorable for her role as Balraj Sahni’s wife in the 1965 film Waqt in which the song Ae Meri Zohra Jabeen was picturised on her. She also portrayed Kajol’s grandmother in the 1995 hit Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge.
Waheeda Rehman: After a stellar career as a leading lady from the 1950s till the early 1970s, she became known for playing elderly mother and grandmother roles in films like Coolie (1983), Om Jai Jagadish (2002) and Rang De Basanti (2006) among many other films.