The Importance of the Role of Mother in Bollywood

Mumbai, May 13, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Kreation Guru) Not too long back a phenomenal box office flick starring SRK had successfully captured the essence of a mother to his daughter who was unfortunate enough to lose her at the time of birth. The film was ‘Kuch kuch hota hai’ and by virtue of Karan Johar’s verbose the little Anjali could get a glimpse into the meaning of a mother. Down the years Mumbai filmdom upheld the portrait of an ever loving and ever sacrificing ways of Indian mothers.

Besides the iconic ‘Mother India’ which revolved around the courage of a struggling maternal figure in bringing up her sons, right from the forties down to the recent nineties mother oriented films made its fare contribution towards the ever changing scenario of B town. Apart from ‘Aradhana’, ‘Gharana’, ‘Maa’,’Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan’ which were purely mother centric,’Dewaar’and ‘Shakti’ also highlighted the significance and value of a mother figure.

Unfortunately the latest scenario in Indian filmdom is shockingly disgraceful with films bypassing the role of mothers. A leading director of our time attributes this to a changing societal shift in the growth of nuclear families. With viewership trend in constant flux many including one of the leading directors feel that Indian audience is not taking too kindly to women centric films or for that matter mother centric ones. Both the reasons are equally ridiculous. It is true that in the changing social scenario a youngster or a growing adolescent finds item numbers and actresses donning skimpy wears to be more palatable, but at the same time it is also true that most of the film makers with a commercial base have run out of ideas to showcase the changing perspective of Indian mothers.

Indian mothers of the 21st century have come of age. She is not to be found within the hackneyed confines of home and hearth, so the viewpoint of her playing a ‘clichéd’ archetypal role does not really make sense. Her scope has widened beyond the realm of a sewing machine where the ever sacrificing mother figure Nirupa Roy found herself too often. Somehow let’s come to terms with the ground reality that for some reason or the other the shifting perspective of women has not found favors with many.

In spite of the generally unfavorable scenario, many a film maker is seen delving into the sidelined realm, that of the delicate bonding of motherhood. Supriya Pathak was highlighted as a sympathetic mother in ‘Wake up Sid’. Similar touches were found in Paa where Vidya was shown bearing the challenges of mothering a progeria child. ‘Kya Kehna’ starring Preity Zinta depicted how an unwed mother put up with the challenges of society to protect her forthcoming child. The film was a success. So it cannot be said that audience is unwilling to accept such innovative ways. But somehow one feels at one with director Onir that such roles calling for strong characterizations, there are very few options around to delineate them to nicety. Divya Dutta is right in assessing that such delineations require gutsy acting. With heroines preferring to sizzle and dazzle over acting it out, the film makers are also running out of ideas.

As we wish our mothers on Mothers’ Day, let us  all share the hope of the renowned film critic Omar Qureshi, that a good script on mother oriented portrayals will definitely pay off because a mother’s significance can never slag.