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Mother’s Day 2021: The Shifting Portrayal of a Mother in Bollywood

With films like Mom or Tumhari Sulu, here’s how the portrayal of mother has changed in Bollywood over the ages.

Mere paas maa hai”- These four simple, yet powerful lines that were first said 46 years ago in the film Deewar have transcended the barrier of time and remained with us ever since. Whenever we think of the mother character, we are reminded of the significance of these lines and how we can fight against all odds if we have the mother’s hand over our head. Since its very inception, Bollywood carved out the archetype of a mother character, according to which she is overtly sentimental, melodramatic, and over the top in her depiction of emotions. Think of Neerupa Roy, Jaya Bachchan in the later part of her career, Kirron Kher, Farida Jalal or the iconic image of a plough bearing Nargis Dutt in Mother India, all these characters have embodied a similar prototype, that is, their entire existence revolves around the purpose of being a mother.

However, in recent times, Bollywood has been seen taking baby steps towards portraying a mother that is a character of her own, is grounded by certain motivations that are not an extended version of the hero’s motives and is independent.

A very recent example would be Renuka Shahane’s Tribhanga where we see the equations between mother and daughter spread over three generations of women. Going beyond the typical image of a mother figure that is as ‘pure’ as a goddess, this films focuses on the issues that were hardly associated with the perfect mother. It talks of single motherhood, abuse, open relationships and aspirations of a woman. When we paint a mother’s character with just one shade, we often tend to leave out her most humane qualities, and Shahane challenged this notion in her film where relatability lies in the imperfectness of the mother.

In Jazbaa, we see Aishwarya Rai’s Anuradha breaking the docile image of a mother and taking charge of things when her daughter is kidnapped. In Mom, Sridevi’s character does the same when she turns into a vigilante trying to avenge her stepdaughter after she is sexually assaulted at a party.

Nil Battey Sannata saw a mother who goes beyond her archetypical duties and enrolls in a school so that she can help her daughter excel in the subject of mathematics. The film ends with her tutoring struggling maths students which makes the statement that some characters are not bound by the constraints of doing something just because society expected them.

For the greater part, mothers are also shown as women whose ultimate goal is motherhood, and once that is achieved, she goes back to being a side character, stripped off of her own desires and individuality. Her life, which was till now associated with the man she married, suddenly starts revolving around her offspring, and she finds it hard to separate herself from their identity. Pradeep Sarkar challenged this concept in his film Helicopter Eela, which shows the transformation of a single mother from being overprotective about her son to rediscovering her desires and aspirations that she had before she got married.

Tumhari Sulu saw a mother struggling with her domestic responsibilities and her professional work as the onus to hold her family together fell on her, being the woman. However, the film did a good job in representation those struggles which are the reality of many and finally letting us know that you can keep the latter without losing the former.

Another remarkable portrayal would be Tabu’s character Ghazala in Haider. Hindi cinema has imprinted the image of a woman crying and praying for days after her husband’s demise but in Ghazala, the complexities of human behaviour show when she marries her husband’s brother instead. Anyone who has read Hamlet, the play Haider is based on, knows this is how things are supposed to unfold, but the odd choice of replacing a sentimental mother provided her character with a lot of depth and perspective that were previously hard to find. Taking that trail of thought forward, director Imtiaz Ali made a very important point through a compact scene in Jab We Met when he made Geet’s character (Kareena Kapoor) defend Aditya’s (Shahid Kapoor) mother even though the latter had nothing but disrespect towards her. After it is revealed that his mother had an extramarital affair and her subsequent elopement bought shame to the entire family, Geet explains to Aditya that when it comes to a mother, its hard to explain things, but her actions were a consequence of her being in love with someone, which is why Aditya should be more accepting of her.

Photo-Prem Movie Review: A Paranoia Dealt with Little Conviction

The core plot seems to be covertly lambasting the modern world’s obsession with selfies and photographs, but it is hardly fleshed out.

Directors: Aditya Rathi, Gayatri Patil

Cast: Neena Kulkarni, Amita Khopkar, Vikas Hande, Chaitrali Rode,Sameer Dharmadhikar

The latest Marathi movie, Photo-Prem, on Amazon Prime Video, reminded me of a 2014 Tamil work called Mundasuppati (Turban Village). Here the villagers have a huge phobia about being photographed. The story goes that an ancient superstition about faces being captured on camera will spell doom. The film had a great climax with the village mob chasing our hero, a photographer, as he is eloping on a two-wheeler with his lady love. And the contraption stalls, and in a clever move, he takes out his camera and points it at the angry crowd, which turns around double quick and scoots!

In Photo-Prem, helmed by Aditya Rathi and Gayatri Patel, the protagonist, Sunanda, also addressed respectfully as Maee (played by Neena Kulkarni), is also camera shy to the extent that she has a terrible fear of being being captured by the lens – paranoia that she has had ever since she was a teenager. It is never clear why she feels so, and as she grows older and gets married, it is revealed that she was not even to be seen in her honeymoon pictures. Her boorish husband (Vikas Hande), who keeps lording over her and hardly ever talks to her, complains in one scene that it appeared from the honeymoon pictures that he had gone all by himself. The directors, who are also writers, stretch this a little too far when Sunanda shies away from being photographed even during her own daughter’s marriage.

But this changes when Sunanda attends the funeral of a woman, and notices her family scampering around trying to find a picture of her’s for a newspaper obituary. Later, when Sunanda visits the woman’s home, she sees the picture of a young girl on the wall; obviously the family could not find a later-day picture.

This incident pushes Sunanda to ponder about her own death and how her grandchildren can remember her in the absence of a photo. And the rest of the movie wanders through her attempt, punctuated by reluctance and a deep sense of inexplicable shyness, to get a picture of herself. This sudden obsession is not written with a sense of believable conviction.

And, Photo-Prem seems such a drag even with its relatively short runtime of 90 minutes, peppered as it is with inane situations. Incidents such as an acquaintance repeatedly accosting Sunanda on the street with questions, and her own daily conversations with her house-maid are at best silly, and if the writers had fancied that these would produce laughs, they could not have been wide off the mark.

Jaaved Jaaferi’s Commentary in Lava Ka Dhaava Takes Us Back to Takeshi’s Castle Days

Jaaved Jaaferi’s new Netflix show Lava Ka Dhaava reminds us of his commentary days from the popular children’s show Takeshi’s Castle.

Seasoned Bollywood actor Jaaved Jaaferi has a special place in the hearts of the late millennial and early Gen Z kids of India. During the late 90s and early 2000s, Jaaved showed his cool dance movies in Boogie Woogie, was a part of fan-favourite kids films like Jajantaram Mamantaram and most importantly, won hearts with his commentary in the Japanese show Takashi’s Castle.

Takeshi’s Castle was an adventure-based game show where the participants would have to navigate difficult obstacle courses. Some of them included scaling high walls, others had to cross a pond through ‘skipping stones.’ The show was also made interesting by the presence of ‘royal guards’ or pranksters who would try to stop the participants from completing the round successfully. However, no matter how many people won these obstacle courses they would always lose in the ‘final showdown.

Takeshi’s Castle was an integral part of our childhood. It was a super interesting and unpredictable show. But for us Indians, what made the show so special was Jaaved Jaaferi’s commentary. The actor was relentless, using his sense of humour and voice modulations to make puns and jokes about every situation. There were also segments called ‘Jaaved’s Ridiculous Replay’ where we would see a contestant falling repeatedly, added with a quirky thing that the actor said. The show was a riot, thanks to the actor.

Hence, we were excited when we first learnt that the actor is hosting a similar game show. The show, which released on Wednesday, is called Lava Ka Dhaava. It is a Hindi dubbed version of the American show The Floor is Lava. It is also a high-pace obstacle course where the participants have to go from one corner of a room to the other without falling in make-believe lava.

The concept of the show comes from the popular game and meme of the same name. In viral internet videos, a person could be heard saying, “the floor is lava,” and their friends would scarmble to find any furniture they can climb on.

This show takes it to another level. While the lava is make-believe, it is still hot and intimidating. The contestants, who play in teams of three, have to jump across rotating furnitures, slippery rocks and even insect infested walls to go to the other corner. It is also time-bound, after five to six minutes, the stairs that help you get out of the lava room start dissappearing, making the exit next to impossible.

The show is interesting to watch. It is basically like watching any other American game show like wipe-out. However, we cannot deny that Jaaved’s involvement in the show makes it a lot funnier. Of course, there are some jarring moments, like how the audience is supposed to pretend that the actor is actually communicating with the contestants, or the times where it seems like he is reading out of a script to synch it with what the contestants are saying. The language spoken is also too literal instead of colloquial to separate it from the original version. Hence, ‘Spider-Man’ becomes ‘Makdi Manav.’ It also gets a little repetitive after three episodes.

That being said, Laava Ka Dhaava is a fun show to watch. It is amusing to see people bring out their most competitive side only to slip and fall in fake lava. Since we are also living in trying times, a show like this is exactly the mindless and hilarious distraction we need.

Shraddha Kapoor Requests People to Donate Plasma, Gives Brother Siddhant’s Example

Actress Shraddha Kapoor on Wednesday uploaded an Instagram picture of her brother Siddhanth donating plasma, and urged all to do the same.

Actress Shraddha Kapoor on Wednesday uploaded an Instagram picture of her brother Siddhanth donating plasma, and urged all to do the same.

My bro @siddhanthkapoor just donated plasma. Urge all those who are eligible to do same please,” wrote Shraddha with a picture of Siddhant donating plasma, flashing a victory sign and a grin for the camera.

Siddhanth had tested Covid positive in December. After the required time gap, he decided to donate his plasma to help others fight the disease.

Siddhanth too uploaded the same picture and requested people eligible for plasma donation not to hold back from doing so.

Talking about Shraddha’s upcoming projects, the actress will be seen paired opposite Ranbir Kapoor in Luv Ranjan’s next. The film is yet to be titled, but Shraddha has announced the project on Instagram. The movie also stars Dimple Kapadia and Boney Kapoor.

Kartik Aaryan Reminds ‘Mask Hai Zaroori’, Shares Pic

Actor Kartik Aaryan’s new post on Monday reiterates the importance of wearing a mask, saying that the practice must be compulsory.

Actor Kartik Aaryan’s new post on Monday reiterates the importance of wearing a mask, saying that the practice must be compulsory.

Kartik posted a picture on Instagram where he is seen wearing a turtleneck paired with a colourful jacket. In the image, he pulls up his turtleneck all the way up to his nose and pulls it down with his finger.

“Don’t try this in public #MaskHaiZaroori,” he wrote as caption.

Earlier this month, Kartik was surrounded by controversy when Karan Johar’s banner Dharma Productions officially announced that he would no longer star in their upcoming production Dostana 2, adding that the production house would never collaborate with the actor again.

Meanwhile, Kartik’s date diary is packed. He is busy with his upcoming horror comedy Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 where he features alongside actors Tabu and Kiara Advani. The film is a follow-up to the 2007 film Bhool Bhulaiyaa and is slated to hit the theatres in November this year.

Arjun Kapoor on What He Has Learnt from Malaika Arora: I Love How Dignified She is

Actor Arjun Kapoor opens up about his relationship with Malaika Arora and reveals how he is inspired by her every day.

Arjun Kapoor and Malaika Arora have been dating for some time now, and the couple doesn’t shy away from expressing their love in public. They occasionally make an appearance on each other’s social media, leaving fans gushing over their chemistry. Now, in a recent interview, Arjun Kapoor opened up about their relationship and spoke at length about Malaika Arora.

Talking to HT Brunch, the 2 States actor revealed what he has learnt from Malaika Arora in his life. He said, “I love how dignified Malaika is. From the age of 20, to today, being an independent woman with her own personality, I have seen her trying to change the narrative about things. She has just believed in keeping her head down with dignity and letting her work do the talking and leading a life that allows her to be happy. I learn from her every day!”

He also opened up about his family members including his late mother Mona Kapoor, and sisters Janhvi Kapoor and Khushi Kapoor. Talking about Janhvi, Arjun said she is very curious and unlike what he had expected her to be because she comes from a lineage of being told that she is going to be the next big thing in the world. About Khushi, he added that her calmness and understated confidence inspires him.

On the work front, Arjun Kapoor recently released a music video Dil Hai Deewana opposite actress Rakul Preet Singh. He will next be seen in Netflix’s film Sardar Ka Grandson, Ek Villain 2, and Bhoot Police.

After Criticism, Kangana Ranaut Calls ‘She-man’ Comment About Taapsee Pannu a ‘Compliment’

Kangana Ranaut recently called Taapsee Pannu a ‘She-Man’ on Twitter. However, after being criticized by netizens, the actress said the comment was a compliment on Taapsee’s looks.

Actress Kangana Ranaut recently targetted her contemporary Taapsee Pannu on Twitter by calling her ‘She-man.’ However, after being criticized by Twitter users, the Queen actress has said that she meant the comment as a compliment about Taapsee’s ‘tough looks.’

A Twitter user on Saturday commented that Kangana’s She-Man comment was ‘cheap.’ Replying to a fan of the actress, he wrote, This is equally wrong and condescending. FYI. I had never watched this before though. Also there’s a huge diff between this and the Kangana tweet.

On Friday, Kangana shared a sarcastic definition of Taapsee on a Twitter handle called ‘Urban Dictionary’ which read, “Taapsee Pannu is bollywood actress known for her befitting replies. She’s also called as the “Sasti Copy” of Indian superstar and padma shri recipient – Kangana Ranaut. She is also a member of Pappu Gang (sic),” read the definition.

The tweet was criticised by her followers who claimed that Kangana was ‘bullying’ Taapsee. One user wrote, “Then what’s the difference between you and Bullywood? All that standing up for Sushant only to turn around and do similar to someone else.” Another comment read, “Shame on you to insult another fellow female actress. We don’t know if there are bullies in Bollywood or not but you definitely are one. You preaching about anything is like devil quoting scriptures.”

The comment was also deemed to be homophobic and transphobic as the term she-man is used derogatorily against trans people.

Meanwhile, Kangana will be next seen in Thalaivi, the biopic of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. Taapsee, on the other hand, is currently shooting for Mithali Raj’s biopic Shabaash Mithu.

Akshay Kumar’s ‘Prithviraj’ is Inspired by Epic Poem Prithviraj Raso

Prithviraj is based on the life and heroism of the fearless and mighty King Prithviraj Chauhan.

Filmmaker Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who has previously directed Pinjar, Mohalla Assi, and TV show Chanakya, is currently busy with his next, Prithviraj, starring Akshay Kumar and Manushi Chhillar and on World Book Day, he reveals how an epic Prithviraj Raso is the inspiration behind this much-awaited historical. “Prithviraj is also based mainly on medieval literature, an epic called ‘Prithviraj Raso’ by the great poet Chand Bardai. Apart from a couple of versions of Raso, there are many other literary works on Prithviraj, his life, and times. In addition to these there are commentaries on Raso,” Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi reveals.

Dwivedi says that for Prithviraj he had to deep dive into exhaustive research on the warrior king. He says, “I get involved in exhaustive research as I enjoy the process of entering the unknown and unexplored world of great heroes of India and their times. It is like having a dialogue with these great characters in their times. I am sure most of the writers must have experienced this strange phenomenon.

He adds, “Apart from the story, I love to research art, archaeology, costumes, material culture and available historical data. In other words, I love to do archaeological exploration and excavation in the pages of a literary work or historical fiction to recreate the era and personalities of its time. This gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction as an artist who loves to paint cinema’s canvas with lights and camera.

The film-maker believes that the stories of great warriors like Prithviraj are extremely relevant in today’s times where good is constantly locked in a battle with evil. He says, “I do not make characters like Prithviraj to make them relevant for young viewers. I choose them as my subject for cinema as they are relevant for our times and all times to come. They are shining bright stars in the galaxy of great historical characters which will inspire many generations to come.

Abhishek Banerjee on Netflix anthology Ajeeb Daastaans: ‘Took time to accept that this was happening at Dharma

Banerjee, known for his scene-stealing acts in movies and shows such as Pataal Lok, Stree, Mirzapur and Bala, said the film was different from the ones that have come out of Dharma, which is primarily known for its love stories and family dramas.

New Delhi: Actor Abhishek Banerjee, who features in the Khilauna segment of the upcoming Netflix anthology Ajeeb Daastaans, says he initially could not believe that the movie was being made by Dharma Productions.

The film, which features four shorts from filmmakers Neeraj Ghaywan, Kayoze Irani, Shashank Khaitan and Raj Mehta, is the latest anthology to come out of Dharmatic, the digital content company of Karan Johar-led Dharma Productions.

The movie, as its title suggests, is about the third wheel in relationships and explores complex themes of fractured relationships, and human emotions such as jealousy, entitlement, prejudices and toxicity, and their effects.

Banerjee, known for his scene-stealing acts in movies and shows such as Pataal Lok, Stree, Mirzapur and Bala, said the film was different from the ones that have come out of Dharma, which is primarily known for its love stories and family dramas.

“It took me a little time to accept the fact that this was happening at Dharma. Because you have a very different image about the production house and also the director… Suddenly you reach the set and realise that it is actually being made. So in the process of the film, I realised what we are making and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey,” the 35-year-old actor said.