'Cinema ki maa' in the Hindi film industry always arrived with a set of characters. Selfless, loving woman, with tears in her eyes at the sight of her beloved child.
Nargis Dutt and Nirupa Roy may have played a major role in taking the lives of their sons in 'Mother India' and 'Deewar', for what they felt were morally the right thing to do, but when their sons, (who were thought to be corrupted) were shot dead and were giving out their last breath, the mother in them vocally screamed a 'naaahiii', keeping in mind the memory of the good days with their son.
Even in the 90s and early 20s when the so-called cool parent era started in films such as 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham', mothers remained incredibly selfless towards the wishes of their dearly beloved sons and daughters.
This was an image which had wrongly set standards high for women back then who were doing their best to be the perfect parents. Naturally, we expected our mothers to be loving like Farida Jalal and failed to see them as women who might just want to spend some time just with themselves, alone, without any screaming children crossing their paths. Sooraj Barjatiya made it even more difficult for mothers.
It was probably for the first time in 2000 when Nishatbi (Jaya Bachchan) from Fiza, became a more relatable character when she switched off the television and acted as a strict mother. You probably even exchanged glances with your mother when you were watching the film in the same room/hall.
Years later Jennifer Kapur from Kal Ho Na Ho, had set a standard for motherhood, which were more attached to reality. This mother was selfless in the right sense. Despite the various financial burdens, she never burdened her children with unhappy thoughts. An angry Naina, played by Preity Zinta, may have disagreed with Jennifer on various topics, but being her daughter, she could find comfort in her company.
Lately, the character of mothers in the Hindi film industry is written, keeping real emotions and mothers in mind.
When you think of Dimple Kapadia from Angrezi Medium, she instantly reminds you of the woman in your neighbourhood, who perpetually remains annoyed at younger-aged women.
Champak and Ghasiteram soon learned that she was soft-person at heart, who shielded her otherwise depressing life with anger and a slight bit of arrogance. This woman was unreasonable. Although she had a daughter who cared for her enough, to take the first step in mending their strained relationship, being an Indian mom, she kept her ego above love.
In 2015, when Dil Dhadakne Do released, we witnessed the tale of several moms. Neelam Mehra (Shefali Shah) who emotionally, never let her guards down despite her insecurities of watching her husband flirt with other women, Manav's mother (Zarina Wahab) who kept an image of being the modern mother-in-law, but in reality had her morals attached to deep-rooted patriarchy, which emotionally affected her daughter-in-law (Priyanka Chopra).
When Ayesha's brother Kabir (Ranveer Singh) came to visit her sister, Manav's mother indirectly shamed Ayesha for laughing out loud and making regular conversations at the dinner table. When she asked for a divorce, the mother-in-law presumed that it was because Manav never took her out for shopping.
Despite being a woman, she refused to see her daughter-in-law as an individual adult who has the right to live her life the way she wants. But was she alone in the game of patriarchy? Every mother in the ship wanted to decorate their daughters in the best of attires, not for self-confidence, but to find a suitable, well-settled, groom in the ship of extravaganza. Although Dil Dhadakne Do had its share of flaws, the mother all felt like characters taken from real life.
It was in 2016 when the film Kapoor and Sons came from an unexpected production house; Karan Johar's Dharma Productions, a cinema house where moms live in mansions and wear sarees sewn with diamonds. (This was in the late 90s and early 20s, and a lot has changed since then). We became familiar with Sunita Kapoor (Ratna Pathak Shah), a mother who played favourites.
If he had to choose between his sons Rahul Kapoor (Fawad Khan) and Arjun Kapoor, (Sidharth Malhotra) he would happily choose the former. She was a disturbed person, who couldn't bear the sight of her husband's 'other woman', walking inside the premises of her house. Unable to control her anger, she creates a scene, humiliates her husband and herself without thinking of the consequences.
The same year, Ki and Ka released and the most unbelievable mother was written for the film. Kia's mother (Swaroop Sampat) recommended sex before marriage, terming it as 'important before commitment'. She thoroughly studied Ka's (Arjun Kapoor) nature, and when she learnt that he is an unemployed son of a rich businessman, who does not wish to inherit his father's property, she indirectly complimented Ka, of being a man of integrity.
She gave her blessings knowing that her daughter has fallen in love with the person and not with Ka's possible financial security. Yes, we absolutely loved her and was the right example of a modern mother and a mother-in-law.
In the later years, we saw Neena Gupta-Gajraj Rao from Badhaai Ho, who became the hit senior citizen Jodi. Surekha Suri from the same film, and in years to come, we hope to see more characters taken from real life, narrating some real stories of struggle with motherhood.