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This Mother's Day, Omair Alvi takes us through a list of the most compelling 'mother' roles of all time.

Every mother’s day, people all over the world celebrate the day with their mothers (if they are lucky to have them), or with their (deceased) mother’s memories. This year, we at Edition PK, want you to remember your mother through some of the cinematic mothers of all times.

We have selected ‘nine’ mothers from India and Pakistan, and have presented them chronologically so that you understand their journey, as well as why they would remind you of your mother. She might be sitting next to you while you are reading this piece or keeping a watch from above, but be sure that she is watching!

Mother India (1957) – The Quintessential Mother!

Everyone knows that Bollywood legends Nargis and Sunil Dutt met on the sets of this Mehboob Khan flick, fell in love and got married but only those who have seen the film know that Nargis was playing Sunil Dutt’s mother. He saved her from a fire that took place on the set and became her Prince Charming instead. However, their romance was kept secret till the film was released, as at the world-famous climax, the mother shot her son to save the honor of another woman. That’s why she became Mother India, and that’s why it is the first film on every list on Mother’s Day!

Maa Beta (1967) – Sabiha Khanum at Her Best

At the time when she started playing elderly roles, Sabiha Khanum was considered one of the most beautiful and amongst the most versatile actresses in Pakistan. That’s why when she played mother to Mohammad Ali and Waheed Murad in Kaneez and later in Maa Beta, she was believable as the wronged mother on both occasions. In this film, her character was sent into a dilemma when her son went to work for his own father, and fell in love with his niece, without realizing that his employer was the same person who left his mother before he was born! Sabiha Khanum’s career as a character actress continued well into the 1980s and 1990s after she switched to TV from films and continued to deliver hits.

Bahisht (1974) – Nayyar Sultana’s Finest Performance

Veteran actress Nayyar Sultana’s finest performance came in this family drama where a good mother-in-law turned evil because her own daughter was mistreated by her mother-in-law. Starring Nadeem and Nisho besides Nayyar Sultana, this was director Riaz Shahid and music director Rasheed Attre’s final film as they both died during its making. However, they left behind a Pakistani classic that is valid even today after more than 45 years. Nayyar Sultana not only owned her character but also lived it during the film’s run. Those who knew the veteran actress always found her to be a sweet, charming person and when she got to play the ‘monster in law’, that’s where she excelled the most!

Deewar (1975) – The role that became Nirupa Roy’s identity!

Put all the film mothers (except Mother India, of course!) on one side of a balance and the Maa in Deewar on the other, and every time Nirupa Roy’s mother would emerge as the winner. The film that gave the world Mere Paas Maa Hai remains one of the best films featuring Maa in the central role. Nirupa Roy plays a mother to two kids who grow up to be Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor, and while one takes a liking to the life of crime, the other becomes a police officer. When she is made to choose between the rich son and the poor one, she goes to the one who is on the right side of the law. The other son’s death in the lap of the mother made the iconic climax into one of the best in the history of Hindi cinema!

Masoom (1983) – Shabana Azmi plays the ‘other’ mom to perfection

When Erich Segal wrote Man, Woman and Child, he must have had a clue that his novel would be adapted for cinema; however, he must have not known that Shekar Kapoor will emerge with a classic of his own based on the novel. Starring Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi as the main lead, and a super cute Jugal Hansraj and Urmila Matondkar as child actors, Masoom is about a young boy who doesn’t know that the person he is living with is his biological father. His wife doesn’t like the child but after he grows close with all members of the family but her, she also accepts him as one of their own. Shabana Azmi plays the role of a good mother who hates the sight of her hubby’s illegitimate child, but by the time the film ends, she is also a part of team Rahul, the real Masoom of the movie.

Secret Superstar (2017) – Meher Vij plays the ideal mother

Ten years after he vowed the audience as a director with Taare Zameen Par, Aamir Khan returned as a producer with this classic film where he had less to do than the mother for a change. Actress Meher Vij played the mother of a young teenage girl who wants to be a singer and helps her in every way she can. Due to her abusive husband, the illiterate mother keeps her daughter’s talent a secret, disguising her with a burqa. Encouraged by her daughter, she starts to learn reading and writing and by the climax gains so much courage that she stands tall in front of her husband, and defends her daughter like a boss. The film tackles social issues such as feminism, gender equality, and domestic violence on the sidelines and comes out as a winner on all fronts!

Moor (2015) – Samiya Mumtaz Brings Grace to Screen

Ad filmmaker Jami’s first feature-length film Moor tackled many topics from fake degree mills, corruption in the railways, and a father’s turmoil after losing his son’s mother, but the way it portrays a mother makes it a must-watch. Even the title (Urdu translation ‘mother’) pays tribute to motherhood, which can be the person who gives you birth, or the country you are born into. The way Jami integrated Samiya Mumtaz’s ‘mother’ was loved by all those who saw the film, as she is shown to be the person who ran the household, and had words of wisdom for every occasion. This was the second film where Samiya Mumtaz played a daredevil mother; her earlier role in Dukhtar also got her the recognition she deserved as Pakistan’s top actress.

Mom (2017) – Sridevi Saved The Best For The End!

What would you do if your daughter was raped by her school friend and instead of being sentenced for his crime, is left scot-free? Exactly what Sridevi did in Mom, which turned out to be her final film! She had shown glimpses of being a mother in her comeback flick English Vinglish but in Mom, she was as fierce as a vigilante on a mission. With Pakistani actors Adnan Siddiqui playing her husband and Sajal Aly their daughter, this film was amongst the best to be released in both Pakistan and India in 2018. Sridevi went from a normal teacher to an Angry Mom after her daughter’s incident and takes revenge in the best way possible. Of course, she had help from a detective and a police officer, but hey, this is Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate this vigilante mother!

Helicopter Eela (2018) – High School Musical for Kajol

Kajol’s character returned to complete her education in this wonderful flick but it had a catch – she was studying in the same class as her own teenaged son. At first, no one seemed to mind but after a while when the mother started to meddle in her son’s life, it became too much for him. In order to prove her worth, ‘Eela’ went all High School Musical for her son, and came out as a winner. Yes, it looked cool that both mom and son were studying together but how it destroys their lives at home, that’s what stops me from wondering what would have happened if I shared the same class with my mother!

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