There are few Indian films that place the mother at forefront of the story. One major exception is the 1957 film Mother India, where a woman is forced to raise her two sons on her own. In the end, her dedication to country and community saves many lives except for the life of her wayward son.
But the landscape of Indian film is changing and so is the role of mothers in Bollywood cinema.
As we celebrate another Mother's Day, here are five favorite scenes starring Bollywood's best actresses who are mothers in real life playing mothers in reel life.
English Translation: "Destroyed in Love"
Release Date: 26 May 2006
Director: Kunal Kohli
Music by: Jatin-Lalit
Singers: Babul Supriyo, Mahalakshmi Iyer, Master Akshay Bhagwat
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Description: Romantic crime drama. Single mom Zooni Ali Beg (Kajol) lives in Kashmir with her father (Rishi Kapoor) and her 6-year-old son. During a snowstorm, a badly injured soldier appears on their doorstep. They take him in and nurse him back to health. As he continues to recover, befriends the family and one day he hears a familiar tune sung by Zooni to her son. Drawn by the melody, he watches Zooni play with her son outside in the snow and soon joins in the fun.
Why I Love This Scene: Playing with your child is as important for the child as it is for the parent. The song's tongue-twisting lyrics and hand motions make this even more entertaining. But it is the authentic fun that everyone is having that makes this mother-child bonding scene so memorable.
Actress Mom: Kajol married to actor Ajay Devgn in 1999. She has two children: Daughter Nysa (born in 2003) and son Yug (born in 2010).
2. English Vinglish
Release Date: 5 October 2012
Director: Gauri Shinde
Music by: Amit Trivedi
Producers: Sunil Lulla, R. Balki, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, R. K. Damani
Description: Comedy-drama. Shashi Godbole (Sridevi) is a traditional Indian housewife who works at home. Her husband Satish (Adil Hussain) works long hours, so she spends her time raising her children and preparing laddoos for neighbors. When her husband cannot attend the Parent-Teacher Conference at their daughter's school, Shashi must step in. The only problem is that their daughter goes to an English-speaking school and Shashi's understanding of English is very limited. This adds tension to the rift that is already growing between Shashi and her teenage daughter Sapna (Navika Kotia).
Why I Love This Scene: Despite Shashi's apprehension about going to the English-speaking school, Shashi feels that the meeting went well with Sapna getting accolades for her scholastic achievements. Shashi's pride in her daughter is interrupted when Sapna explains that her interpretation of the meeting is quite the opposite. Sapna's embarrassment overflows into a teenage tirade. While this is a painful scene, it is a reminder that a mother's love endures all things - even teenage angst.
Actress Mom: Sridevi married Boney Kapoor in 1996. She has two daughters: Jhanvi and Khushi.
Release Date: 12 November 2004
Director: Yash Chopra
Music by: Madan Mohan, Sanjeev Kohli
Producers: Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra
Description: Romantic drama. While fulfilling her grandmother's last wish, Pakistani Zaara Haayat Khan (Preity Zinta) crosses the border to India where she meets Air Force pilot Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh (Shah Rukh Khan). Having some time off, Veer offers to escort the stranger in a strange land across India. He soon finds himself falling in love with Zaara and just as he is about to declare his love, he discovers she is already engaged. When she returns to Pakistan, she realizes she has fallen in love with Veer and she finds she cannot move forward with her marriage to Raza Sharazi (Manoj Bajpayee) because of her preoccupation the man she met in India. When Veer learns of Zaara's plight, he comes to Lahore. Zaara's mother Maryam Hayat Khan (Kirron Kher) confronts Veer and begs him to end the relationship.
Why I Love This Scene: While a bit on the over-dramatic side, this scene is an important part of one of the blockbuster must-see films from India. While the film has an epic feel to it, this scene is very quiet and personal. Maryam's presence is strong. She is willing to fight for her family. As she describes the impact of Veer's love on Zaara and her family, she realizes she is asking Veer to relinquish his love for Zaara in the face of Maryam's love for her family. This is a tragic request, but one Maryam must demand.
Actress Mom: Kirron married Anupam Kher in 1985. She has a son: Sikander Kher.
4. Ki & Ka
Release Date: 1 April 2016
Director: R. Balki
Music by: Ilaiyaraaja
Producers: R. Balki, R K Damani, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Sunil Lulla
Description: Successful advertising executive Kia (Kareena Kapoor) meets Kabir (Arjun Kapoor) on a plane. They strike up a friendship and soon Kabir admits that the business world isn't his cup of tea. He would rather stay at home, taking care of the house - traditionally considered a woman's role. Building on their great friendship and the fact that Kia wants to work and Kabir wants to stay at home, they decide their friendship should become a relationship and they decide to get married. Kia brings Kabir home to meet her mom (Swaroop Sampat), the head of a non-governmental organization.
Why I Love This Scene: As Kia's mother, Swaroop Sampat is a thoroughly modern mom. When she meets Kabir, she asks direct, honest, and personal questions which are not meant to intimidate or discourage but to help her really understand this unique relationship that her daughter has found. Ultimately, her confidence in her daughter and her choice of a husband - as well as Kabir's openness and sincerity - makes her very supportive of the marriage.
Actress Mom: Swaroop is married to actor Paresh Rawal. They have two sons: Aniruddh and Aditya. Also a Mom: Kareena Kapoor Khan, who married Saif Ali Khan in 2012, just had their first child together, son Taimur Ali Khan born on December 20, 2016.
5. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...
English Translation: "Sometimes there's Happiness, Sometimes there's Sorrow"
Release Date: 14 December 2001
Director: Karan Johar
Music by: Jatin-Lalit, Sandesh Shandilya, Aadesh Shrivastava
Produced by: Yash Johar
Description: Family drama. Adopted by business tycoon Yashvardhan "Yash" Raichand (Amitabh Bachchan) at a young age, Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) is groomed to follow in his father's footsteps. But he makes a misturn when he falls in love with Anjali Sharma (Kajol), a low-income candy-shop owner. When he decides to marry against his father's wishes Yash tells Rahul to leave his family's home. His heartbroken mother Nandini (Jaya Bachchan) misses him deeply and ten years later their younger son Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) finds a way to reunite the family.
Why I Love This Film: Nandini's special connection with Rahul makes her aware of his presence. She cannot help but be drawn toward that presence. Perhaps one of the most memorable scenes put to film, this reunion of mother and son is both joyful and emotionally draining. The first thing that Rahul does after embracing his mother is to show her the grandson she has never met. But the reunion is cut short when Yash appears on the scene, highlighting unresolved differences that must be addressed.
Actress Mom: Jaya married Amitabh Bachchan in 1973. They have two children: Shweta Bachchan-Nanda and actor Abhishek Bachchan.
The following playlist features video clips of each of these scenes.
If you like this, please share, leave a comment and check out our other posts.