#100days100scenes: Changing Indian mothers

The Mother India template had such a strong influence on Indian cinema that it took almost 30 years to have some friendly neighbourhood normal mothers.  The refreshing change was the entry of Reema Lagoo as the mother for the younger brigade. Before that you had mothers being played by the 60s and 70s heroines to both heros who acted in the 70s and the 80s.  So Waheeda Rahman played mother to Amitabh in Trishul in 1975 and also to Anil Kapoor in 1991.  The other breed of mothers were vamps turned mothers like Aruna Irani or junior/TV artists turned mothers like Anjana Mumtaz who struggled to get any screen space.

Reema Lagoo was a fantastic stage performer before she entered Hindi cinema, first playing Juhi Chawla's mother in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. There is a saying that after the kids turn 16, the parents should play the role of their friend. I think Reema Lagoo was a good ambassador to that and by not looking super old, she managed to carve a niche as the youngish mother , where the son can be 20 ish and she can be 45ish although her age was only 30. Not as celebrated as Nirupa Roys dukhi maa , she was the sukhi maa.

She could manage to play the voice of reason without being overpowering. It was also a shift in times, since the audience was getting bored of the movies getting made - the fight against the corrupt nexus of politicians- police - businessman by a one man army. Maine Pyar Kiya gave that family time much before Coke made it part of the advertisements. Although it was a Barjatya movie with its excessive uncles and borderline childish movie making, it brought family to the fore again.

However this family is still the traditional one , with every cultural value overstated , like having a temple in the house, the foreign returned son a teetotaller and not even willing to flirt with a girl and so on. Even from a societal perspective, women wore closer to Juhi Chawlas skirt blouse combos rather than miniskirts. So everything was a bit seedha saadha still. In 1989, boys used to come to their mother and ask them to find a good girl like in this scene from Maine Pyar Kiya. So a happier mom but still navigating towards tradition and peace at home .

Salman Khan nails this scene with his boyish innocence, and the one film wonder Bhagyashree smiling away to vicco vajranti glory and Reema Lagoo providing that reassuring charm that makes it all nice. The great Indian family is happy. Beti samaan Bahu is here.