Filmfare recommends: Best Bollywood films about mothers in the last decade

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They say God can’t be everywhere so he made mothers. Mothers and motherhood have always had a soft place in the heart of our filmmakers. Innumerable films have been made till now extolling the virtues of motherhood. Even when a film isn’t about them, mothers are considered sacred in our films. Mere paas Maa hai has to be the most famous dialogue in our film industry. We present you with a list of films from the last decade which talked about the noble virtues of motherhood. Watch them with your mother on this Mother’s Day during the quarantine.

Paa (2009)

Director: R Balki
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Vidya Balan

Paa talks about a mother’s struggle regarding her child suffering from a rare disease. The film’s protagonist Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) suffers from a rare genetic condition known as progeria. He’s just 12 and quite an intelligent and mischievous kid. He behaves like any other tween in the world but physically looks like he’s five times more than his age. He lives with his mother Vidya (Vidya Balan), who is a gynaecologist. His mother has hidden his existence from his biological father, young politician Amol (Abhishek Bachchan), who didn’t want a child at that point of their relationship. Amol meets Arko at a school function where he is called as the chief guest and befriends the brilliant boy. Arko asks him to show the president’s house and Amol does so. Later, when Amol comes to know he’s Vidya’s son, he wants to reconnect with her but she’s still hurting because of his initial rejection. Arko makes it the mission of his life to reconcile the differences between his mother and father. His condition keeps deteriorating and he’s unlikely to outlive his 13th birthday. He’s promised by both at the end that they’ll marry each other and he dies content, calling them Maa and Paa together for the first and the last time. Abhishek Bachchan, who is Amitabh Bachchan’s son in real life, played his father in the film. Vidya Balan was wonderful as the mother, while Bachchan showed he can still surprise you.

Nil Battey Sannata (2016)

Bollywood, mothers, decade

Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Cast: Swara Bhaskar, Ria Shukla, Ratna Pathak, Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Suri

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s directorial debut is a heartwarming tale of a maid who enrols herself in her 15-year-old daughter’s school to make sure she studies diligently for her 10th and doesn’t flunk Maths. Chanda (Swara Bhaskar) wants her daughter Apeksha (Riya Shukla), to study hard as she feels education leads to prosperity but the teenager is fatalistic about her prospects and feels she too will end up being a servant so why should she spend the precious time of her childhood in studying. Chanda too becomes a student in the same school with the help of her employer (Ratna Pathak Shah). She becomes better at Math than her daughter, leading to more resentment. One fine day, however, she realises the extent of her mother’s sacrifices and starts studying diligently, passing with flying colours. In the end, we see her being interviewed for the IAS cadre. The film was praised for its social message, as also for the powerhouse performances by the two leads. Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari went on to remake her own debut film in Tamil. Titled Amma Kanakku, it starred Amala Paul, Yuvasri, Revathi, and Samuthirakani

Mom (2017)

Bollywood, mothers, decade

Cast: Sridevi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna, Sajal Ali, Adnan Siddiqui, Abhimanyu Singh
Director: Ravi Udyawar

When Sridevi leads a film, she gives it her heart and soul. Mom was no different. In this intense revenge story of a mother abandoning her inhibitions and exacting revenge, Sridevi was channelling the king of energies we see with angry-young-man characters. Her performance was soul-stirring, to say the least. Devki (Sridevi) is a popular biology student. Her teenage stepdaughter Arya (Sajal Ali) is also studying in the same school where she teaches and calls her ma’am instead of mom as they don’t get along. Devki tries her hardest to break the ice but her efforts are all in vain. Arya is brutally raped and almost killed but the police botch up the case and the accused go scot-free. That’s when Devki decides to turn vigilante and hunts down the perpetrators one by one like a wounded lioness. Sridevi looked like an avenging angel in the film but there was a softer side to her as well, which too was deftly brought out. Her quest gets justified in the end when her daughter calls her mom for the first time.

Secret Superstar (2017)

Bollywood, mothers, decade

Director: Advait Chandan
Cast: Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij, Raj Arjun, Aamir Khan

The film might have been a coming-of-age story of a teenage girl who aspires to be a singer but was an ode to motherhood all the same. Insia Malik (Zaira Wasim), is a 15-year-old Muslim teenager living in Baroda, with her mother Najma (Meher Vij), her brother Guddu, her grandmother, and her orthodox and abusive father Farookh (Raj Arjun) who often beats his wife. Insia wants to be a singer but her father is against that. She secretly uploads a song on YouTube under the handle of Secret Superstar and becomes an overnight sensation. Meanwhile, her father is becoming increasingly abusive. He breaks her guitar when he learns of her low grades and beats up her mom brutally when he finds out she sold a necklace to purchase a laptop for her daughter. Insia contacts a maverick music director Shakti Kumar (Aamir Khan) who wants her to record a song and agrees on the condition that he helps her get her mother divorced. That song too becomes a hit and her popularity soars. Her father wants to move to Riyadh and get her married to the son of a family friend. Her mother rebels at the last minute for her daughter’s sake and breaks off ties with the husband at the airport, signing the papers to get the divorce proceedings started. Later, when her secret is outed on the stage of an awards show, Insia dedicates her success to her mom, Najma.

Helicopter Eela (2018)

Bollywood, mothers, decade

Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Cast: Kajol’s, Riddhi Sen, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Neha Dhupia, Zakir Hussain

It’s a coming-of-age film about an overprotective mother. Based on the celebrated Gujarati play Beta Kaagdo by Anand Gandhi, Helicopter Eela talks about both motherhood and womanhood. Worrying is a prerequisite for every mother. They never stop worrying even for a moment. Sometimes it becomes obsessive but there is always a reason for such obsession. It’s hard for mothers to let go, to start living life for their own selves. That’s the film’s message. That for their own growth, parents need to loosen the strings tied to their children and just let life be. Eela (Kajol) is a talented singer married to copywriter husband Arun (Tota Roy Chowdhury). She’s the mother of a young son and looks poised for great things. But at around that time, a cousin’s death pushes Arun into a mid-life crisis. He decides to leave his wife and child to find himself. That means Eela has to fend for her son alone. She lets go of her singing career and opens a dabba business, and becomes increasingly possessive as her son grows up. The film rests on Kajol’s reliable shoulders. As Eela, she does everything that’s required for the film. She makes the years roll away as a frothy teenager in the first half and gets her expressions right as a Tiger Mom later on.

Panga (2020)

Bollywood, mothers, decade

Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Jassi Gill, Richa Chadda, Neena Gupta

This sports drama was also a mighty homage to mothers and motherhood. Jaya Nigam (Kangana Ranaut) is a world-class Kabaddi player who gets a job in the Railways under the sports quota and later kind of loses her identity under the realities of being a wife and a mother. She plans on making a comeback to the game at the age of 32 after her young son asks her to give it a try. Aided by a supportive husband Prashant Shrivastava (Jassi Gill) and her son Adi (Yagya Bhasin) as well as a diehard coach Meenu (Richa Chadda), who was her ex-teammate, she hits the gym once more to get match fit. How she faces the travails of getting back in peak physical form as well as societal pressures form the crux of this uplifting film. But even while she’s training, while she’s in the midst of a match, her thoughts are constantly with her child. Kangana Ranaut lives and breathes Jaya. She makes you realise the pain of a faded athlete who has to compromise on her dreams. You relate to her joy when life gives her a second chance. Her constant worry for her child is real and so is her happiness while playing the sport she loves.

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