RIP Reema Lagoo: The happy opposite of Nirupa Roy’s Bollywood mom | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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RIP Reema Lagoo: The happy opposite of Nirupa Roy’s Bollywood mom

Reema Lagoo’s characters had their own share of struggles and fights, but they were never the weepy, helpless, poor mother that Nirupa Roy often played in her films

bollywood Updated: May 18, 2017 15:38 IST
Sweta Kaushal
Lagoo was quintessentially the middle- or upper-middle-class Indian woman of her time.
Lagoo was quintessentially the middle- or upper-middle-class Indian woman of her time.

Reema Lagoo died Thursday morning after a cardiac arrest at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai.

She played the typical Indian mom in films and popular TV shows and was frequently cast in films starring Salman Khan, including Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, Hum Saath-Saath Hain, and Maine Pyar Kiya. She also played Shah Rukh Khan’s mom in Kal Ho Naa Ho.

Reema Lagoo and Shah Rukh Khan in Kal Ho Naa Ho.

Lagoo’s mother was also an actor, the Marathi stage performer Mandakini Bhadbhade, and Lagoo, who was born Gurinder Bhadbhade in 1958, began acting while studying at the Huzurpaga HHCP High School in Pune.

Lagoo grabbed her first big break in 1988 with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, starring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla. Lagoo played Juhi’s mom. She also worked in the popular television serial Tu Tu Main Main. The only actor cast more often than she in the films of Sooraj Barjatya was Alok Nath.

Reema Lagoo and Supriya Pilgaonkar in Tu Tu Main Main.

Unlike the classic Bollywood mom of the 1970s and 80s, Nirupa Roy, Lagoo’s characters were socially well adjusted and mostly happy. Be it Salman’s mom in Hum Saath-Saath Hain or SRK’s mom in Kal Ho Naa Ho, her characters had their own share of struggles and fights, but they were never the weepy, helpless, poor mother that Nirupa Roy often played in her films.

Lagoo was quintessentially the middle- or upper-middle-class Indian woman of her time, a blend of the stereotypical Indian sanskar (culture) and the modern-age attitude that a bad situation can be changed with one’s own deeds. In Vastaav (1999), she was memorably powerful as a mother who kills her own son, played by Sanjay Dutt, after he is driven mad by the burdens of his criminal activities. She doesn’t her motherly love stop her from walking down the righteous path. She shoots him to free him from his messed up life.

On the other hand, Nirupa Roy was usually seen in a long-suffering mother’s role. She stood on the sidelines helpless to help her family or perpetually in need of rescue. Other than Deewar, which turned her into the most iconic moms in Bollywood, movies like Amar Akbar Anthony, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Suhaag, Mard and many others usually saw her in a state of despair while trying hard to maintain dignity.

Sanjay Dutt and Reema Lagoo in Vaastav.

Reema Lagoo is survived by a daughter from a marriage to the Marathi actor Vivek Lagoo. They later separated. At the time of Lagoo’s death, she had been working in the ongoing TV series, Naamkarann, in which she had taken on the role of a single mom in a story inspired by Mahesh Bhatt’s Zakhm (1998).

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