Bollywood is synonymous with the Indian life. Since the late 1900s, the Indian film industry has been churning movies and music which have influenced the Indians way beyond its usual entertainment quotient. The characters and images from the movies have created such a long lasting effects on the Indians psychology that its sometimes hard to separate the two. We have created idols, icons and even Gods out of the Bollywood actors and actresses. Being the industry which creates the biggest number of films every year, it is also recognized today for its realistic and quality content.
Just like some characters of heroes, heroines, villains and comedians which have become iconic because of their widespread popularity since many years, there are some women characters – especially those of mothers which have achieved a place of honor in our hearts for the extremely realistic, intense and sensitive portrayal of their roles. These women – who are actually strong and multitalented in their real lives as well – have enacted the characters with great aplomb and grit. Some of them have been very unconventional and might not be the ideal mothers everyone can worship. But they have tried to give something new and different which in its own way created their identity. Below is the list of 10 such badass Bollywood mothers. Read and enjoy.
1. Shabana Azmi:
First and foremost who comes to mind for being the most badass woman and mother on the silver screen is the multi-talented and versatile actress Shabana Azmi. Be it the mafia leader Rambhi from the Godmother (1999) or the subtle Indu from Masoom (1983) or the Anjali from 15 Park Avenue (2005) or the recent Rama from Neerja (2016), she has played variety of mothers with conviction and courage. In her real life as well, she has been a consistent activist for the betterment of slum dwellers. She deserves to be the numero uno on the list without any other competition
2. Jaya Bachchan:
She played sublime and calm Hazaar Chourasi ki Maa in 1998 who comes to know that her son was a naxalite. Our hearts cried for her pain. Then she was the traditional, pati vrata, compassionate and affluent maa in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum. She played the exact opposite, modern, liberal yet again compassionate Jennifer Kapoor in Kal Ho Na Ho. In real life, she is this doting mother who left her career for her kids yet maintained her strong personality. She is our number two badass mother
3. Ratna Pathak:
She was the loud and outspoken die hard journalist mother in Jane tu ya jane na, who kept on fighting with her husband’s spirit. She was truly royal in Khubsoorat (2014). Then again she played Sunita Kapoor in Kapoor and sons and showcased the imperfections and vulnerabilities of a simple middle class mother. And of course only she can be the legendary MAYA SARABHAI. Period. When she is not acting, she is a dedicated theatre artist and she has graciously taken Heeba – Naseeruddin Shah’s daughter from his first marriage under her wings. She deserves a high ranking in the list.
4. Hema Malini:Remember the strong, loud, possessive and power hungry Dugeshwari Devi from Jamai Raja? It was the first time a woman had played a mother in law who rages war against her own son in law. She was evil yet we loved the beauty in it. Then in 2004 she played Maati in Veer Zaara. Even in 3-4 scenes she stole our heart with her love and naughty tu-tu-mei-mei with Amitabh Bachhan and then finally it was Puja Malhotra in Baghban when all of us cried buckets watching her misery. She has been a dignified woman and a single mother in Bollywood when it was not fashionable to be so. She will always remain the most beautiful badass mother Bollywood has ever had.
5. Waheeda Rehman:She was the daayi maa in Lamhe taking care of first Naren and then Pooja. She expertly dealt with the complexities of being a daayi jaan yet experiencing the pain of a real mother. “Tumhare bina to mei khud ko dikhayi nahi deti – na aadhi na puri” says it all. Then again, she was this innocent and emotional mother of three sons – Om Jai and Jagadish which she played with aplomb. Finally there was Rang De Basanti and the whole nation wept when she sung “Lukka Chuupi bahot hui samne aa janna”. The way she has aged so gracefully even with her white hair and wrinkled face, every woman would want to follow in her footsteps. She makes a badass grandmother along with being a great mother.
6. Kirron Kher:Very few people know about the film Sardari Begum (1996) when Kiron Kher played the titular role of a singer and courtesan. It was just her second film but she was able to reach incredible heights with her brilliant acting range. The struggles, the complex emotions and the grief she portrayed was extremely moving. After that she has played numerous mothers in Mei Hu Naa, Devdass, Rang de basanti, Dostana, Kabhi alvida na kehna, Om shanti Om which are totally different from each other and which show her prowess as an actress. She is also an active member of the Rajya Sabha and an extremely beautiful woman as well. She is one of our all-time badass mothers.
7. Dina Pathak:She played the strict disciplinarian mother in Khubsoorat in 1984. When other mothers were busy playing the pati vrata, subservient wives, she was the one who was in control of her emotions and her home. She was strong and also contributed to social work. After that, she played the naughty and confused Mrs. Srivastava in Golmal – a double role and showed her humorous side as well. She has been an important part of the 70s and 80s era and played significant mother roles. She is one of our badass mothers
8. Tabu:Who would want to ignore Tabu when it comes to meaty roles and strong women characters? Just like her other roles, Tabu has played badass mother in Astitva when she chooses to leave her son to redeem her individual identity. Think about Haider and everyone will agree that no one can give justice to the complex and layered character of Ghazala. Lastly – The Namesake and Tabu – Its inseparable. She is the best badass mother of modern times
Revathi is one such brilliant yet underrated actress of all times who deserves much more than she gets. Firstly, she beautifully showcased the frustration, angst and helplessness of a mother who has lost her young son in Kargill war in 2003 movie Dhoop. It was an intensely strong film and the control and patience she expressed clearly displayed her skills and her stature as an artiste. Then she was this simple TamBram amma in 2 states and looked beautiful in the traditional avatar. But her most celebrated acting has been in the 2015 release Margarita with a straw playing the mother of a girl having cerebral palsy. She had few scenes but the effect remains forever. She definitely deserves to be one of the top badass mothers.
Finally, no one can beat the beautiful yet confused, simple Maharashtrian mother struggling to learn English from English Vinglish? Sridevi reached a new high in her career with her portrayal of Shashi and the role will go down in the history as one of the most underrated yet iconic mothers of all time. Of course, otherwise also, Sridevi has been a badass mother bringing up her two daughters with strength and dignity.