Veteran actor Dina Pathak, who took to the stage at an early age, left a mark on the both Hindi and Gujarati film industry. With her brilliant performances in films such as Gol Maal, Khubsoorat, and Umrao Jaan, she made her presence known.
Off-screen she played an active role in the independence movement, for which she was expelled from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Pathak was also the President of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW).
In 1957, she performed Mena Gurjari in front of then-President, Dr Rajendra Prasad at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi, embarking a history for it to become the only Gujarati play to have achieved the feat so far.
The actor has two daughters- Ratna Pathak Shah and Supriya Pathak. Both, acclaimed actors of Indian cinema and Naseeruddin Shah and Pankaj Kapur are her sons-in-law.
Ratna Pathak Shah on her mother
The noted actor, Ratna Pathak Shah, penned a guest article wherein she talked about her mother’s capabilities as a performer.
“I knew that my mother is capable of so much better. I had not seen her work as a younger woman, but I had heard about her performances. She would often perform bits for me and Supriya (Pathak) at home, and that quality of acting was stunning,” she wrote.
Shah, later on, revealed the moment she became enamoured by theatre acting, and it was one of her mother’s performances.
“I was about 12 then. She was playing Kali maata, a 10-minute one-scene role in Dubey’s production of Karnad’s Hayavardhan. And she was spectacular. This Kali maata was a very lazy, bored person and my mother was just stunning. She was funny, she was scary, she had dressed like some otherworldly creature,” the actor wrote.
In 2014, during an interview with Etimes, Shah expressed that she misses her mother’s presence since she was someone whose opinions on her performances the actor “could trust very blindly”.
Reminiscing about the early days, she said, “I could talk to maa about practically everything and she was a very dear friend by the time she left. We had got past the unhappy time between mother and daughter. We both had come to accept and therefore, like each other.”