Five Hindi Films That Glorified Motherhood Beyond Repair

mothers of bollywood

Mothers in Bollywood films are the epitome of endurance and sacrifice. A typical mother in Hindi cinema devotes her life to her children. She is ‘flawless’ and possesses ‘superpowers’ to sense her child’s presence by their footsteps. The depiction of a mother in Hindi films is such that one forgets that she has an identity besides being someone’s maa. Seasoned actors such as Nirupa Roy, Reema Lagoo, Rakhee, Farida Jalal and Jaya Bachchan have perfected the role of on-screen mothers to an extent that it is impossible to close your eyes, think of a filmy mum, and not have any one of their faces pop in your head. While gradually, the portrayal of mothers is changing, there are films that have put mothers and motherhood to such a high pedestal that merely peering down at reality from up there will give any mom vertigo. 

Here’s a look at films that could have done mothers, differently and realistically.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

How can we forget the classic scene of Rahul’s (Shah Rukh Khan) introduction? With the trademark, Karan Johar background score, we see Shah Rukh Khan, who plays Rahul, run towards his house. Simultaneously, his mother, Nandini, (Jaya Bachchan) walks towards the door with ‘aarti ki thali’ in her hands. And within this scene, it’s established that she just knows whenever her son is around. Well, we all heard the helicopter landing, just saying. But to reassure us that’s how mother’s instinct works, Nandini seeks out Rahul in a mall among a huge crowd of people. Although the relationship of a mother and son in the film is overwhelming, this was a bit unnecessary. 

Mother India 

This classic film, which was also nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars mind you, presented the story of a widowed woman who endures torture at hands of a moneylender to raise her children. Nargis plays the role of Radha, a village woman with a strong will, who battles poverty to raise her two sons, Birju and Ramu, who turn out to be morally contrary as young men. The former holds grudges against the moneylender, Sukhilala, and resorts to revenge by kidnapping his daughter. Radha ends up killing her son for his deeds, becoming the icon of sacrifice and selflessness in Indian cinema. Although Radha is portrayed as a woman of strong convictions and determination, the murder could be counted as far too much. 

Karan Arjun

In this 1995 release, a mother’s agony brings back her dead sons. Here’s how the story goes, Durga Singh’s (Rakhee) twins are killed by Durjan Singh (Amrish Puri) over a family conflict. After the demise of her children, Durga prays to Goddess Kali for years. Miraculously, her sons, who are now Vijay and Ajay, return to the village and avenge their death after 20 years. Moral of the story: A mother can bring back her child from death. 


This Sridevi starrer sees the late actor play the role of a step-mom, Devki. Her step-daughter Aarya is distant from Devki and reluctant to accept her as her mother. Although a well-made crime thriller, Mom goes a little far too with the protagonist. Aarya falls prey to a group of miscreants who brutally rape her. As a result, Devki turns into a vengeful mother and kills the culprits one by one. In the end, she shoots the criminal, Jagan, when Aarya calls her mom for the first time. 


Ram (Jeetendra) and Mamta (Jaya Pradha) are a happy couple with a child named Munna. Mamta is killed by a goon who has been hired by her in-laws. Here, the creators go as far as bringing back the deceased mother as a ghost to protect her child. Mamta returns as a protective spirit bent on revenge and protects her child. Her ghost also manages to escape a tantrik to save her family. When she successfully takes revenge her soul is set free. 

The views expressed are the author’s own.