Mothers have always had a very special place in Bollywood. From the doting mother, the strict mom, to the helpless mom, Bollywood has seen it all. Filmmakers over the years have taken extreme care to position the typical Indian mother on celluloid. We take a look at the most famous mothers in Hindi cinema.
Durga Khote:Once a leading lady of Bollywood, Durga Khote’s career spanned more than 50 years. However, she became a household name after playing Jodhabai, prince Salim’s mother, in the K Asif magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam in 1960. Since then, Khote went on to play a mother in a number of films and earned more accolades than she had as a heroine in the 1930s and 1940s. Her other memorable performances as a mother were in films such as Anupama (1966), Jukh Gaya Asmaan (1968), Bobby (1973), Namak Haram (1973) and Subhash Ghai’s cult classic, Karz (1980).
Nirupa Roy: The most celebrated mother in Bollywood, Nirupa Roy, came up with some breathtaking performances and at times even stole the show in a series of films in the 1970s and early 1980s. Roy, who came up with some memorable performances as a lead actress in films such as Do Bigha Zammen (1953), Garam Coat (1955) and Rani Roopmati (1957), became a household name after playing mother to Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor in Yash Chopra’s classic Deewar (1975). The actress became almost typecast after that and was often seen playing Bachchan’s onscreen mother in films such as Amar Akbar Anthony, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Suhaag, Inqilab, Mard and many more.
Farida Jalal: One of the most under-utilised actresses of the 1970s, Farida Jalal announced her arrival as the new Bollywood mom with a power-packed performance in Aditya Chopra’s Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995). In no time Jalal became a favourite with both the filmmakers and the audience. More popular for playing the charming mother, who would always stand by her children, Jalal’s performances in films such as Gardish, Ziddi, Judaai, Dil To Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Soldier will remain etched in our memories.
Raakhee: Once a Bollywood heartthrob, Raakhee became a hit with the masses playing a mother in some of the biggest hits of the 1990s. More famous for playing the wronged mother, Raakhee came up with some memorable performances in hits such as Ram Lakhan, Dacait, Khalnayak, Baazigar, Koyla, Karan Arjun and Border. However, another gem of a performance came from Raakhee when she played Amitabh Bachchan’s mother in the classic Shakti (1982). The actress was barely 35 years old then, while Bachchan was 40.
Reema Lagoo: She completely changed the image of mothers in Bollywood. Lagoo excelled in her roles where she played the not-so-old, stylish mom, who is also a friend to the son. So much so, that the actress almost started getting typecast as Salman Khan’s onscreen sexy mom after her role in Maine Pyar Kiya (1989). Some of Lagoo’s memorable performances came in Shola aur Shabnam, Saajan, Patthar Ke Phool, Hum Aapke Kain Koun…!, Yes Boss, Hum Saath Saath Hain and Vaastav.
And five heroines who stood out…
Nargis Dutt in Mother India (1957): The actor was only 28 when she played mother to Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar in the Mehboob Khan classic. Playing Radha, a poverty-stricken mother, who leaves no stone unturned to bring up her children and becomes a motherly figure in the village, Nargis came up with one of the most powerful performances in the history of Hindi cinema. The climax scene, where Radha lifts the gun and shoots her son is still considered one of the most, spine-chilling scenes ever shot in Indian films.
Sharmila Tagore in Aradhana (1969): Sharmila, Bollywood’s heartthrob of the 1960s, took a brave decision and played a mother in this Shakti Samanta romantic drama. The actress, who played Rajesh Khanna’s love interest in the first half of the film, stole hearts playing a mom in the second half of the film to the film’s hero.
Shabana Azmi in Masoom (1983): The actor impressed everyone with her effortless acting in Shekhar Kapur’s Masoom, where she played a mother of two. Be it the scene where she learns about her husband’s past or her interaction with her stepson or her silent revolts, Shabana excels in almost every scene in the film.
Rekha in Khoon Bhari Maang (1988): She plays a widow with two children, transforms into a supermom just to avenge the person who tries to kill her and rob her off her property in this Rakesh Roshan film. Rekha turned heads both as a doting mother and a victim of circumstances.
Tabu in Astitva (2000): Known for coming up with powerful performances, Tabu once again won the hearts of her fans and critics with her fine portrayal of a mom. Tabu steals hearts playing a lonely mother, who after years of marriage discloses her husband that her son was actually born out of wedlock.