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Saturday, May 12, 2012

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My mother is happily on Facebook, making a list on the best courtesans of Hindi cinema. To those of you who were wondering where I got the idea of writing a 'book of Bollywood lists', I hope you have got the answer. She's the one who ignited and fanned my near-obsessive love for Hindi cinema.
I have made a couple of Mothers' Day posts in the past about the Most Memorable Moms of Bollywood. And every time I wrote something about Mothers, I thought this was the last time as I must have surely exhausted my reserves. But as it goes, Bollywood doesn't let mother content finish. Ever.

This year, I thought of my five favourite 'Mother' scenes. Coincidentally - or naturally - most of them are big hits with her as well.

I had written a post on her birthday once (six years back, incidentally). That post was triggered by a Sunday viewing of Karan Johar's super-weepie, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.
KJo had exaggerated a mother's intuition manifold and yet created a bloody effective scene (see from 1:50 onwards) in which SRK entered a mall and Jaya sensed his presence from afar. By intercutting the scene with images from SRK's entry scene of the movie, Karan Johar managed to create a scene that never fails to grip me (however much I hate the other parts of the film).

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na had Ratna Pathak Shah as the ultimate cool mom. Being a single mom is nowhere close to being easy but she managed to maintain a perfect balance between being a mentor and a confidant.
As she lay on the sofa reading Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth, her son entered whistling and obviously happy with the first flush of love. She managed to capture the emotion with a wonderful line - "Honthon pe seeti, chaal mein uchhaal. Maajra kya hai?"
Nothing could have explained the mother-son relationship better than this one scene. (Watch from 1:08:40 onwards.)

Reema Lagoo in Maine Pyar Kiya was the first 'cool mom' of Bollywood. She understood her son and knew about his love perfectly well but decided to play a small prank on him. Despite it being slightly contrived, I had watched the scene so many times that I could recite the dialogues without a thought or a pause.

The most iconic mother film of all times - Deewaar - had several scenes where Nirupa Roy had the best lines and was the centre of attention. Though funnily, the most famous mother line in Hindi cinema - "Mere paas maa hai" - doesn't have the mother present.
Neither does my Mom scene from the film. As Nirupa Roy remained unconscious in an ICU, her atheist son climbed the stairs of 'her' temple for the first time in his life. And did something we never imagined possible - he vented his anger at God. In the most touching display of a son's devotion toward his mother, Amitabh Bachchan told God that he was willing to turn himself in if only he gave him his mother back.
Whenever - in the last 37 years - Amitabh Bachchan has gone on a world tour, he has been asked to perform this scene. And for the last 37 years, there hasn't been a dry eye in the audience.

Aradhana was the first film that she recommended that I watch (preferably unblinkingly). And I obeyed her and understood the charisma of a filmstar for the first time. Especially in this scene.
Sharmila had just been released from prison and she was taken to an Air Force base by her foster-niece, who wanted Sharmila to meet her fiance. As a side-actor (called Subhash Ghai) announced the arrival, the familiar background score of the film reached a crescendo, the mother saw the smartest Air Force officer walk towards her.
You know the context. You know the scene. Let me not spoil it with my blabbering.

And while I am at it, I might as well link to this exquisite P&G film.
When I first saw this, I - quite strangely - did not think of my mother but my wife. Probably because my sister and I were such angels (koff koff) that my mother's job couldn't have been the toughest in the world. My wife - on the other hand - has her task cut out with two of the world's naughtiest kids. Hopefully, they will end up on an Olympic podium one day.

Happy Mothers' Day! 


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