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Maa tujhe salaam

What Christopher Reeve is to Superman, Nirupa Roy is to Supermom.

entertainment Updated: Sep 15, 2010 14:09 IST
Riteish Deshmukh

Agar apni Maa ka doodh peeya hai, toh saamne aa! No, this is not a slogan for a new advertisement propagating breast feeding. This is Indian cinema’s most memorable and oft repeated homage to the power and importance of a mother. The role of the mother in the annals of Indian cinema has always been at the forefront. The amount of times our heroes have taken their maa ki kasam can easily rival the amount of times they have threatened to drink a villain’s haemoglobin-filled blood.

It is an interesting fact that mostly, the mother has been associated with the action of ‘feeding’. Be it milk or maa ke haathon ka bana halwa. Of course, the latter usually was a reward for the middle-aged hero, who has just popped his head into the middle-class living room, usually a set at a film studio, proudly displaying a trophy he has just won by standing first in a badminton tournament or by securing a ‘first class’ in his exams.

Riteish DeshmukhWhat Christopher Reeve is to Superman, Nirupa Roy is to Supermom. The elegant lady played the perfect, long suffering, yet loving mother to generations of heroes, the most favourite being Mr Amitabh Bachchan himself.

Who can forget him singing maa meri maa se mila de mujhe in the film Mard as a ferocious tiger turns a guide and takes Nirupa Roy to safety by pulling the pallu of her saree and then proceeding to stand on his hind legs and folding his hands in humble devotion! I challenge even Superman to achieve that!

Over the years, the fervour of the mother figure in our films has reduced considerably. The mother is no longer put on a pedestal and our heroes have stopped taking Maa ka badla.

However this changed last Friday with the arrival of Dabangg. Indian cinema’s biggest box office opener has the hero’s brother informing him dramatically in the climax that their mother’s killer stands before them. This leads to perhaps the most applauded and seeti scene in recent history as Salman’s anger leads to his rippling muscles tearing off his shirt on their own and revealing his chiseled six pack as he proceeds to avenge his mother.

The thunderous clapping and whistles in the theatre bear testament to the age old fact, that we may have learnt to shoot our films with better techniques; we may have discovered beautiful foreign locations; our films may have special effects on par with Hollywood, our stories may have become urban for the thinking, educated youth; our single screens may have transformed into plush multiplexes! But, without Maa there can be no Indian ‘Cine’Maa!

Read more Riteish Deshmukh columns