Nirupa Roy (born Kokila Kishorechandra Bulsara; 4 January 1931–13 October 2004) was an actress who appeared in Hindi films. Roy was mostly known for portraying character roles of the Indian mother. She played leading roles in her early films and started playing mother roles during the 1970s and 1980s. Her acting career spanned more than 50 years, and she acted in more than 275 films. She was referred to as the “Queen of Misery” in Hindi film circles.
In 1946 she acted in her first Hindi film Amar Raj. One of her popular films was Do Bigha Zameen (1953). She largely played mythological characters in the films of the 1940s and 50’s. Her image of a goddess was very strong and people would visit her home and seek her blessings. Among her co-stars were Trilok Kapoor (with whom she played in eighteen movies)), Bharat Bhushan, Balraj Sahni (Garam Coat, 1955) and Ashok Kumar.
In the 1970s, her role as mother to the characters played by Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor made her name synonymous with the impoverished suffering mother. Her role in Deewar (1975) and its dialogues with reference to a mother and son are used as cliches.
Nirupa Roy is remembered in Hindi cinema as an actress who gave a new dimension to the mother’s character with her characters. Born in a middle class Gujarati family, Nirupa’s father used to work in the Railways. Nirupa, who studied till the fourth grade, got married to Kamal Rai, an employee of the rationing department working in Mumbai. After marriage she came to Mumbai. In those days producer-director BM Vyas was looking for new faces for his new film ‘Rankadevi’.
He took out advertisements in the newspaper for the requirement of actors in his film. Nirupa Rai’s husband was very fond of films and wanted to become an actor. Kamal Rai went to meet BM Vyas with his wife and offered to become an actor but BM Vyas clearly said that his personality is not suitable for the actor. But if he wants, his wife can get work as an actress. Nirupa Rai started working in the film Ranakdevi for Rs 150 a month but later she was removed from this film.
Do Bigha Zameen
Se Badla Career Nirupa Rai started her cine career with the 1946 Gujarati film ‘Gunsundari’. He also turned to Hindi films with the film ‘Hamari Manzil’ released in the year 1949. After this he got a job in the film Garibi. After her success in films, she started being recognized as an actress. ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ in 1953 proved to be a milestone for Nirupa Rai. He was also given an International Award for his strong acting in the film.
Played the role of Devanand’s mother
In the year 1955, Nirupa Rai played the role of Devanand’s mother in the film ‘MunimJi’. She was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Co-Actress for her acting in the film. But after that she did not accept the role of mother for six years. But then in the year 1961, she appeared in the role of mother in the film Chhaya. In this she became the mother of Asha Parekh.
Played the role of Amitabh’s mother in the film Deewar
A look at Nirupa Rai’s cine career reveals that her role as the mother of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been quite impressive. She first played the role of Amitabh Bachchan’s mother in the film ‘Deewar’. After this, she also appeared in films like Khoon Sweat, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Suhaag, Inquilab, Arrested, Mard and Ganga Jamuna Saraswati in the role of Amitabh Bachchan’s mother. She last appeared in the role of Amitabh Bachchan’s mother in the 1999 film ‘Lal Badshah’. Nirupa Rai acted in nearly 300 films in her five decade long cine career. Nirupa Rai, who enthralled the audience with her strong acting, said goodbye to this world on 13 October 2004.