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as a single mother. It was great to see her rebuild her life with self-respect

Television has plenty of women, but where are the mothers? Priya in Saans was a beautifully written character, strong and weak at the same time, she took over the reins of her life as a single mother

india Updated: May 13, 2006 15:04 IST

Shashi Kapoor immortalised Mere paas ma hai.

Celluloid also has unforgettable images of the (often) widowed mother working at a construction site wiping the sweat off her brow even as three famished knee-high children tug at her worn-out sari, besides the Maine tumhare liye gaajar ka halwa banaya hai variety.

But despite its women-centric soaps, television hasn’t really given us great ‘mothers’. The small-screen mothers who managed to rise above their oftenhackneyed roles have been very few and far between. T

Todayis Mother’s Day and so we take a look at some of those mothers, mas, matas and mummies.

In the good old days, we had Hum Log and we had Bhagwanti (Asha Sharma), the simpering, whimpering mother who bore the brunt of her alcoholic husband and her mother-in-law who left no opportunity to make digs at her.

Anita Kanwar as Lajoji inBuniyaad followed a close second in the tragic look department though occasionally it broke into a shy smile.

A victim of the Partition and unsavoury familial circumstances, Lajoji was a woman, petite yet with strong character and dignity, she was the support behind her husband Haveliram.

There was also Sushma Seth playing a super cool mom to Navin Nischol and Shekhar Suman in the hit comedy Dekh Bhai Dekh. Elegantly dressed and a sassy old woman, Seth made her character come alive in a sea of other well-written characters.

Years passed and the skies opened — we had Surekha Sikri playing a middle-aged single mother to her three daughters in Deeya and Tony Singh’s Banegi Apni Baat on Zee. Firm, rational, sensitive and with an immense capacity of accepting her daughters’ follies and weaknesses, the Banegi Apni Baat mum was super strong.

More and more women-centric soaps followed as more channels sprung up and we had bejewelled women dressed in heavy-duty saris playing moms, daughters, sisters, daughters-in-law and then we had a Neena Gupta playing Priya, a middle-aged woman, married and a mother of two teenagers left one day to fend for herself and her children as her husband goes to another woman.

Priya in Saans was a beautifully written character. Strong and weak at the same time, Priya took over the reins of her life as a single mother. It was great to see her rebuild her life with self-respect.

Other commendable small screen mothers include Baa, Savita Virani and Tulsi Virani, the three leading women of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhie Bahu Thi.

While Baa was the matriarch with a soft heart, Savita was the quintessential mother who couldn’t see beyond the apple of her eye, her first born, Mihir Virani. And then there is Tulsi who bent over backwards to instil the right values in her children, the mother who showered her daughter with love and didn’t think twice before shooting her wayward son, a la Mother India.

There was also Achint Kaur who played the hyperventilating Pixie in Kittie Party. Balancing her act between bringing up her adolescent son and struggling to keep her job, Pixie was bang on as the contemporary single mother. Last but not the least, we have Momma, or the chic upper class Maya Sarabhai (played to near-perfection by Ratna Pathak-Shah) who made no bones about her unwavering affection for her poetry-spouting son in Sarabhai V/s Sarabhai and the dramatic Godavari Thakker, the Gujarati matriarch (Sarita Joshi) in Baa, Bahoo Aur Baby.

But even though TV today is full of women in all shapes and sizes, a great mother is still difficult to come by and no, we don’t trust those ‘Favourite Ma’ awards either.

First Published: May 13, 2006 15:04 IST