Want to be filmy Ma
As a teenager, I nursed a secret ambition - to become a star. Not for me the dolled up, glamorous looking, heroine’s role. All she has to do is be coy and be a prop to the hero’s image. She is only an ornamental addition to his alter ego. I hankered for a more coveted position – that of a mother! Strangely enough, in most Hindi films, it is this white. saree clad, weeping woman who has the pivotal role. The hero adores her, gives her a bear hug with an affectionate ‘maaaa’, shattering the silence, rests his handsome head on her lap while she gives him maternal glances, picks her up and twirls her around in glee when he gets a first class first in B.A., and vows to avenge the whole world when she coughs her way into the grave. She is indeed, the moving spirit behind the He man’s success!The best mother to date, who has brought errant sons to the straight and narrow path, has been Nirupa Roy. With her godlike goodness shining out of her eyes, she has turned the most toughened criminal sons into slobbering cry babies. The famous temple scene in ‘Deewar’ comes to mind. The fugitive son and the ‘farz nibhaoing’ police officer son, come together at her bidding. How many sacrifices she had made to bring up her ‘ankhon ke tare’. The father is conveniently dead.If he were alive, he would have used the rod to discipline them while ‘maa’ only uses her love.
In ‘Muquaddar Ka Sikander’, it’s ‘maa’ who befriends a waif and gives him love and security which the cruel world had denied. She fondly ruffles the little loveless child’s hair, and he grows up. Of course the most pathetic thing about a ‘maa’, is that you have to forego riches and suffer poverty.
But there are rich ‘maas ‘too. These are portrayed as dishing out money rather than love. Remember that svelte socialite mom in ‘Bobby’? When she isn’t patting her coiffure into place, she is careering off to parties and do’s after giving ‘sonny boy’ a tweak on the check. The poor lad finds solace in the arms of the nurse maid and later, girl friend.
Then there is the mother in ‘Shiksha’, who smothers the ‘eklauta beta’ with love and lucre and he becomes a spoilt brat. (Note how love and money don’t go hand in hand). When papa ticks him off, the brat walks out of the house with mama’s cheque book which she insists on giving to him. The redeeming feature is that the guy repays mama’s trust and becomes a good boy.
Some hero’s sing lachrymose lyrics to their mothers, refering to them as ‘Bhagawan ki surat’, while she gets all glassy eyed with emotion. Lucky indeed are these women, because in real life such devotion is hard to come by.
We must not forget the vicious mother, often played by Lalitha Pawar whose pinched eye gives the right degree of venom. Just as bad is the strict mother of ‘Khubsoorat’ who frowns on every giggle or whisper at the dining table.
Shashikala is a perfect example of the comical mother. She dresses like a teenager, coos like a love bird in distress and flutters her eyelashes like a Japanese fan. All this, to attract an aging doctor in ‘Dulhan Wohi’. Dear indeed is the mother in “Prem Rog‘, who makes her daughter aware of her love for her childhood playmate. Though her own life is pretty shoddy with her husband boozing and coddling the local wench, she is mother enough to feel the throes of passion in her widowed child’s bosom and awakens her to it.
This is where papas step in. They come in a wide range. The typical father has a big moustache, is burly with a bluff manner, is a retired colonel and has a big weakness for his daughter. The wife is often dead – thus giving him an opportunity to stand before her garlanded picture and reel off soliloquies.
Unlike the mama who is generally poverty stricken, he is loaded with cash which he brandishes in the face of the son or daughter smitten with love and threatens to disinherit the progeny.
He is more often than not, engaged in nefarious activities like brewing illicit liquor or manufacturing spurious drugs. He gets a whacking kiss from his daughter who flies into the house with a ‘dadeee’ and a hug to put Boa constrictor to shame. The sons usually are estranged from the father. The mamas and papas of screen are to be envied. They get away with hugs and kisses the censors are waiting to chop off, if indulged in by the hero and his gal. It’s perfectly ok if Sharmila, with powder in her hair and wrinkles on her cheek, clasps Rajesh Khanna to her bosom – but as his beloved?- sacrilege Oh! sweet hypocrisy!