Bollywood has often painted us a picture of a proper family with virtuous parents and ideal children. Also, eventually decluttered the same stereotypes in some atypical films. From “Mother India”, where Nargis sacrifices her own son to Nirupa Roy in “Deewar”, where she is put between two young sons with contradictory morals in life. Both the women here are mothers who bring up their children without a father. The Hindi films have made and broken their own moulds of a ‘perfect mother’ over the years. The idea of a single parent raising a child isn’t quite acceptable. It is well conveyed from the stories that have an honest take on the biases of society. A few movies have made a noticeable contribution to bringing forth the ‘unusual’ journey of single mothers. Here are the films that make it to the list:
“Paa”, which released in 2009, revolves around the story of a teenager suffering from a rare genetic disorder, Progeria. Starring Amitabh Bachchan as the lead, Auro, the film showcases the journey of a boy and his mother battling this condition. Although the core of “Paa” is Auro’s story, the mother-son relationship is also significant. Vidya Balan here plays the role of a woman who has a son out of wedlock. Being an unwed single mother is another challenge that Vidya faces and the repercussions reflect on her son’s life. Co-incidentally, at an event, Auro meets his biological father, played by Abhishek Bachchan. He grows eager to know the reason his father didn’t want him. Vidya beautifully portrays the role of a single parent transcending barriers of ‘morals’ in a society and protecting her child at any cost.
Eela (Kajol), who is an overprotective mother, runs out of ways to get closer and understand her son, Vivan. A famous singer at her young age and now a single parent, Eela, decides to complete her education after 22 years. Vivan is intolerant of his mother’s involvement in his life. In the process of becoming a friend of her child, she is somehow pushed away. However, the absence of a father is never an issue in their life. The duo overcomes their differences when Eela and Vivan peek into their lives and find support in each other.
Ki and Ka
The Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor starrer is counted among the unconventional films which touched upon the pre-decided gender roles. Kia, an ambitious and driven woman, decides to marry Kabir. There’s an unusual bit about their relationship. Kabir manages the daily household affairs, which is typically expected from a woman. Other than delving upon the portrayal of gender equality, what’s noteworthy is Swaroop Sampat’s role as Kia’s mother. She supports her daughters’ aims and accepts their terms of modern marriage as well.
Leela and Amaya is a mother-daughter duo of independent and free-spirited women. Leela, played by Dipti Naval, lost her husband 12 years ago and raised her child alone into an open-minded and ambitious woman. However, the bond is affected by the involvement of Jayant Sinha, a photographer, who falls in love with Leela. She finds companionship in Jayant and believes her child would accept this change in her life. Contrary to her beliefs, Amaya (Swara Bhaskar) misunderstands her. The story of a widowed woman finding love and earning acceptance sets the film apart as a modern and different take on motherhood.
Nil Battey Sannata
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s debut film tells the story of Chanda Sahay, a high-school drop-out, who works as a house help. Despite her circumstances, Chanda (Swara Bhaskar) has big dreams for her child, Apeksha, played by Ria Shukla. Where she battles through poverty, Apeksha has accepted her fate. Chanda is determined to make her daughter realise the importance of education and the possibility of a better life. Eventually, this single mother takes a courageous step. She enrolls herself in her daughter’s school. Chanda and Apeksha’s relationship turns sour after that. Undeterred by the setback, she leads by example to make her child realise that social status is temporary and dreams are achievable.
This unconventional film has not one, but two single mothers through whom we learn that there isn’t a formula to ‘right parenting’. Anu, Nayan, and Masha (Kajol, Tanvi Azmi, and Mithila Palkar) are a part of a dysfunctional family. These women have dared to live on their own terms. Anu blames her mother for a difficult childhood and believes she hasn’t made similar mistakes while raising her kid. The bubble is busted by when Masha confesses that her life wasn’t ‘normal’ due to her mother’s uncustomary choices. The common thread that holds the three generations in this family is their freedom to make their own choices. It is somewhat passed on as a ‘legacy’ to them.
Views expressed are author’s own