They rocked the screen

The big screen has seen many amiable and admirable characters as moms. On this Mother's Day, here are some directors and screenplay-writers talking about their favourites

They rocked the screen

Mother figues: (L-R) Vidya Balan in Tumhari Sulu, Sridevi in English Vinglish, Kirron Kher and Ratna Pathak Shah

Mona

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above, The angels, whispering to one another, Can find, among their burning terms of love, None so devotional as that of ‘Mother’... wrote Edgar Allan Poe. If literature has masterpieces like To My Mother, cinema has given many memorable characters right from doting, courageous, defensive, God-fearing to free-spirited moms. This Mother’s day, here are screen-writers and directors speaking of their favourite Ma!

Voice of conviction

Shashi from English Vinglish, Sulu from Tumhari Sulu and Dorothea from 20th Century Women are my favourites. Shashi is eager to learn and even though apprehensive, she has a voice of thorough conviction. It comes through several times in the film, especially rather overtly in the last speech she makes. Sulu is the mother-version of a spoilt student of life, who has seen many failures and rejections, but her spirit for life doesn’t cower in the face of societal criticism. Lastly, Dorothea’s character is an ode to every reluctant mother of a teenager who feels like she isn’t enough to raise her child, but she will sure go to any lengths to ensure her child isn’t deprived of a colourful mix of perspectives to play with while growing up. What all these films do primarily is give these women traits beyond one-dimensional role of motherhood! They display them as people despite the parent.

- Garima Pura, Writer, Director


Breaking stereotypes

My favourite on-screen mother is Savitri Singh Rathore, played flawlessly by Ratna Pathak Shah in Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na. She’s progressive – breaking shackles of patriarchy. She teaches her son ways of the world, her son cooks and goes about life as any boy or girl should. Especially in times of Bois Locker Room, her character is totally relevant and one to be emulated. In my shows too, the biggest challenge I feel is writing about progressive male characters. Somewhere, somehow we need to break regressive chains, and characters like Savitri Singh Rathore truly inspire.

– Sumrit Shahi, Writer


Leading lady

Mothers in Indian cinema and Punjabi particularly haven’t had much role to play except to nourish her children and be the last one standing for them. However, I have been meaning to write a part which is beyond affection and a traditional matriarch. I would love her to be the reason the movie is made; the central protagonist; dark, secretive, sensitive and ageless. A leading lady’s competition in the film should be her mother or her love interest’s mother. My greatest inspiration is Sadqay Tumhare, a Pakistani series wherein a mother is inspired to pursue her love interest looking at her daughter in love. Through the series, the viewers can’t tell whose love story is less important. This is how I’d like to write down a mother’s part some day.

– Anjali Khurana, Screenplay writer


Epitome of care

My favourite mom on screen is Mitro, played by Kirron Kher as DJ’s (Aamir Khan’s) mother in Rang De Basanti. That Kirron Kher is an actor par excellence is one thing, but in Mitro I see my own mother. Just like DJ, along with my friends, I too would end up home and my mother would feed us all with much love. Any time, any hour, she was always friendly, and always there to receive, entertain and guide.

– Avtar Singh, Director


Being righteous

Mother India has been one portrayal in Hindi cinema that’s touching and has stayed strong even after decades. Unlike Bollywood tradition, in Mother India Nargis was the ‘hero’ of the film. Socially relevant, her brilliant act on screen takes the context ahead of just being centred on her own son’s life. She represents the country, and even mother earth. Not blinded by just the love for her son, she stands for what is right.

– Rahul Dahiya, Writer, Director

mona@tribunemail.com

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