New Delhi: If an American comes to India and boasts of Hollywood saying we have our Camerons and Spielbergs in Hollywood what would a Bollywood fan reply? The inevitable line ‘Mere Paas Maa Hai’. Jokes apart, ‘Maa’ or mother truly is an essential part of Hindi Cinema. Right from Mother India to Dostana, various Bollywood films have seen different portrayals of on-screen moms by various actresses.

This Mother's Day, ‘Jagran Feature Desk’ explores the importance of the presence of Maa in a Bollywood movie and how their all-encompassing equation with their screen sons (the hero) has been the stuff of film lore which more often than not formed the very centerpiece of the story.

Starting with the recent times, Zarina Wahab’s new found image of an onscreen mother has struck well with the audience. After donning the role of mother in  Karan Johar’s ‘My Name is Khan’ and Ram Gopal Verma’s ‘Rakhtacharitra 2’ she is now all set to star in Johar’s upcoming film Agneepath where she will be seen playing the role of Hrithik Roshan’s mother.

She said, “I really enjoyed working in Karan Johar’s ‘My Name is Khan’ and that is why I was glad to accept his proposal to play Hrithik’s mother in his upcoming film.”

Now many Bollywood films would have never been so much fun if not for the melodramatic - over the top kind of moms shown in some of them. These are the types who are mainly responsible for rising decibel levels in the movie and have no mercy for the audience ears while mouthing dialogues. Everything about them, right from their look to their tone too is 'Over-The-Top' and this is what makes for an exciting watch.

Kirron Kher’s name fits here to the T. Her portrayal of a loud mom in films like ‘Main Hoon Na’, ‘Hum Tum’, ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Om Shanti Om’ and ‘Dostana’ has been highly acclaimed.

Who can forget Nargis in Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957) — the fiery, feisty female protagonist who made it to cinema history books? But Nargis was not the first Bollywood actress to portray the role of Mother India.

Infact, in 1940 itself Mehboob Khan had made this film by the title ‘Aurat’ starring Sardar Akhtar in the lead role which he remade 17 years later by the name ‘Mother India’.

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Sulochna Chatterjee is another actress who has portrayed the role of a Bollywood mother in many films like Ek Dil Sau Afsane, Bandini, Khaandaan and Sanjog.

Kamini Kaushal who acted in Manoj Kumar starring Bhagat Singh played the role of Bhagat Singh’s mother in the film with so much conviction that she booked almost a permanent place in rest of the films of Manoj Kumar like Upkaar, Purab aur Pashchim, Roti Kapda aur Makaan, Sanyaasi, Dus Numbari, Painter Babu and Santosh. She was also praised for her performance in films like ‘Tangewaala, Dharti, Vaaris, Anhoni and Premnagar.

Screenwriters Salim-Javed wrote Hindi cinema's most pithy, precious, and popular dialogue. "Mere paas maa hai" in Deewaar (1975) — where Nirupa Roy plays a long-suffering mother forced to see her favourite son (Amitabh Bachchan) topple from her idealistic pedestal — is remembered to this very day. After this, Nirupama Roy became Bollywood’s symbolic mom and starred in a number of films like Anjaana, Roti, Ganga Jamuna Saraswati, Khoon Pasina, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Suhaag, Betaab, Mard, Giraftar and Lal Badshah.

But long before Roy's character in Deewaar (she played mother to Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor) became the most epitomised screen mother in Bollywood history, Hindi cinema had already had its share of memorable mothers.
There was Waheeda Rehman in Yash Chopra's Trishul, Dina Pathak in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Khubsoorat, Raakhee in Ramesh Sippy's Shakti.

In the 90s, Rakhee’s portrayal of mother’s role in a number of films epitomized her as the wailing mom of Bollywood who keeps waiting for her son, either to transcend life and take rebirth or to come to her rescue or to turn over a new leaf and transform from bad to good. A few of her remarkable films are Karan Arjun, Khalnayak, Baazigar, Ram Lakhan, Border and Soldier.

Talking of the 90s, how can one miss mentioning Prem’s mother in Maine Pyaar Kiya or Nisha’s mom in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Reema Lagoo, the pleasing reel mother won every one’s heart with her real-like motherly performance in films like Saajan, Rangeela, Hum Saath Saath Hain, Dillagi, Deewane and Kal Ho Na Ho.

Another name worth mentioning here is that of Farida Jalal who too perfectly blended in mother’s role. Though she failed to achieve much success as a lead actress, she eventually garnered lot of fan following by donning the role of mother in successful films like Laadla, Dilwale Dulhania Le jayenge, Dil Toh Paagal Hain, Kuch Kuch Hota Hain and Kya Kehna.

No Bollywood story is complete without them. The roles may be cliched, but their onscreen power is something to behold.
Only that the last few decades has witnessed a transformation of Bollwyood maa to mom. The lady, who earlier served up gaajar ka halwa piping-hot puris at short notice, is now forced to accept her son’s boyfriend because he is gay. The perfect, all-sacrificing devi has put on a new cloak who will not just sit and shed tears at the loss of something but go all out to regain the loss.  

Whether this transformation is commendable or lamentable, but the presence of maa or mom in Bollywood is indispensable. This is why, even today the clichéd line ‘Mere Paas Maa Hai’ still finds thunderous clapping every time it is uttered.

JPN/Bureau