Mothers’ Day 2015: 7 Most Memorable Bollywood Moms

Published by Shah Shahid on

In movies, parental figures are often used to provide insight into characters’ personalities and their motivations, and act as a way of developing the main lead through the influence to their moral core, or lack thereof. In Bollywood, Moms are an often used staple when it comes to this kind of character development, as well being of big signifance thematically. Films have centered around maternal relationships; motherhood has been used as a parralell to patriotism and a variety of other premises within the industry. So being Mothers’ Day, I thought this would be a great time to take a look at some iconic on-screen Mothers from Bollywood movies, or actresses who have played those roles with distinction.

Reema Lagoo in ‘Vastaav’

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she’s sho shweet!

With a filmography that is littered with character names that end with “*insert hero’s name*’s Mom”, Reema Lagoo is most well known for her amazing portrayals as a mom in some of the biggest family blockbusters in Bollywood history, like ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Hum Apke Hai Kaun’ & ‘Hum Saath Saath Hai’. However, her most badass portrayal of a mother has to be in ‘Vastaav’, where she plays a rural mother who is disgusted at the transformation of her son into a greedy, drug adled gangster. The character comes full circle when she is forced to end his suffering at her own hands, in a gesture of maternal pity. It’s a scary good performance by the actress who is otherwise known mostly for her family friendly roles.

Rakhi in ‘Karan Arjun’

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the unwavering faith of a mom…

Speaking of badass mothers; Rakhi cannot be overlooked in a role where she ultimately portrayed every instinct that a mother has, but to the extreme. Granted this had a lot to do with the fact that she was kind of off her rocker, snapping after witnessing the death of her adolescent sons, roaming the streets for years declaring their return some day. It helps that the story was about reincarnation, and her sons did return 20-something years later and vindicated her crazy ramblings. Rakhi’s strong performance was supplemented mostly by the story and Rakesh Roshan’s direction where he has muscle bound actor Salman Khan coming to her aid and serious actor Shahrukh Khan justify her craziness… otherwise her performance wouldn’t have been as powerful as it ended up being.

Amrita Singh in ‘Shootout At Lokhandwala’

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Amrita Singh in ‘Aurangzeb’

While not having done many Mom roles, (or roles in general recently) her latest being in the romantic drama ‘2 States’, Amrita Singh gave an awesome performance as a villanous mom, that is extremely underrated. While most ‘bad mom’ characters are mostly in family films where they most villainous thing they do is spread lies or drive a wedge between other characters through clever manipulation,  Singh role in ‘Shootout At Lokhanwala’ was almost like an actual villain, playing the evil Mom to the film’s main bad guy, Vivek Oberoi. Her performance in the role is delectable as she utters vulgarities and crudely tells off the heroes, staying truly despicable all the way to the end. It’s an amazing performance by the actress that not many know of.

Farida Jalal in Everything!

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oh DJ why you so maternal…?

Farida Jalal has been the epitome of a every Desi mom, in almost every movie she’s done. Even if she hasn’t played the actual mother of a lead character, she’s been the mother figure; be it aunt, neighbour, grandmother, caretaker, etc. The characterization of the roles never really change; caring, loveable, traditional, supportive, benign and just the sweetest mom anyone can ever ask for. Her most commerically successful roles of this type have been in films like ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’, ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’… and so on, mostly on retainer with Yash Raj films.

Kirron Kher In… also Everything

Blank Page Beatdown celebrates Mother's Day 2015 with the most Memorable Bollywood Moms

Maa da Ladlaa…

Similarly to Jalal, almost every Kirron Kher appearance can be considered the same character; the lovably loud and boisterious Punjabi mom. Kher may be the only one on this list though whose performances as a mom have more of a comedic approach, as evident in films like ‘Dostana’ & ‘Om Shanti Om’. Kher never shies away from being typecast though, despite playing other powerfully intense roles in other films, they have mostly been in the minority. Kher is most well known for the comedic mom depictions in most of her films, and it hasn’t yet become annoying or tiresome.

Lillete Dubey

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she’s just so awesome!

While most of the actor’s portrayals on this list have been more culturally traditional depiction of Indian mothers in mainstream films, Lillete Dubey has played more contemporary and urban mother roles in more independent and smaller budget films. My first exposure to Dubey was in ‘My Brother… Nikhil’ as a mother whose son was being discriminated against for his lifestyle choice, while she’s gone on to give strong performances in films like ‘The Lunchbox’ & ‘Heroine‘. The actress still has fun in commercial roles as well like that of an aging hottie in ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ and a sultry widow in ‘Housefull’.

Jaya Bachchan

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Leading lady Jaya Bhadhuri made a comeback to the industry after almost 20 years in mom roles starting with ‘Fiza’ and continuing with more blockbuster successes like ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ & ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’. Her small frame and cute demeanour make her perfect for these roles, as she does them with a much class as imaginable causing us to completely fall in love with her as a soft spoken mom that you can’t help but love.

Honourable Mentions

Hema Malini in ‘Baghban’ & Waheeda Rehman in ‘Rang De Basanti’ 

Let me know who is your favourite movie Bollywood mom, even if she’s not on this list.

Check out some of the movies discussed in this article below

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Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


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