In today's Bollywood or in Hindi movies, ‘Maa’ has become a pass(e) and (glam) Mom is the word. Mothers in a majority of Hindi films today are either filthy rich or very poor, leaving no space for family dramas and the middle-class
Gone are the days when the on-screen mothers in Bollywood would sing lullabies in their soft voices, those pain-filled eyes reflecting their sacrifices, their adoring smile and strokes that soothed away fears, their all-encompassing equation with their on-screen sons.
From "Mother India" (1957) to "Vicky Donor" (2012), the portrayal of on-screen mothers have changed over a period of time with the 'Maa" of yesteryear becoming 'Mom' today.
Then, no story was complete without them but today those roles have become mostly clichéd. Now, in most films, mothers have become marginalised, they are mere props instead of propelling the story.
"There is less importance of mothers in films today. Even if there are roles for mother, there is hardly anything for them to do on screen. Things have changed, there is hero and heroine for everything, so there is no need of mother," Zarina Wahab, who essayed the role of a mother to Shahrukh Khan in Karan Johar's "My Name is Khan" and Hrithik Roshan in the remake version of "Agneepath", told PTI.
"The kind of emotions and sentiments that is attached with the character of a mother is not there in today's films. I am happy that after a long time I got to do a film like 'Agneepath' (remake one)," she said.
Can anyone forget actor Shashi Kapoor's famous dialogue as a cop, "Mere paas maa hai", to his smuggler brother Amitabh Bachchan in "Deewar", where Nirupa Roy was the mother. She became the most epitomised on-screen mother in Bollywood history.
Nargis played a fiery single mother in Mehboob Khan's "Mother India", who brings up her two sons, Rajendra Kumar and Sunil Dutt. Nargis does not hesitate to fire a bullet at her criminal son, Sunil Dutt.
Leela Chitnis created the archetype of Hindi cinema mother, as she often played an ailing mother or one going through hardships and struggle. She played the mother of leading men, including the legendary Dilip Kumar.
Then we had Waheeda Rehman in Yash Chopra's "Trishul", Dina Pathak in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's "Khubsoorat', Raakhee in Ramesh Sippy's "Shakti'", Nirupa Roy in Manmohan Desai's "Amar Akbar Anthony".
Then came a new set of mothers-Rajshri Movies' favorite maa, Reema Lagoo in "Maine Pyaar Kiya", "Hum Aapke Hai Kaun" and "Hum Saath Saath Hai", the cutest maa-Farida Jalal in "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayege" and "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai", the glamorous maa-Kirron Kher in films like "Veer Zaara", "Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna' and "Dostana", Zarina founded a new image of an on-screen mother by the donning the roles in "My Name is Khan", "Rakhta Charitra" and the latest "Agneepath".
"Times have changed and so have the role of mothers in Bollywood. As films reflect society, the portrayal of mothers has become more westernised like in terms of clothes. There are not much family drama movies today-either we have a filthy-rich mother or a mother from Dharavi (a slum locality in metropolitan Mumbai). Where is the middle class mother who goes through struggle, pain?" asked Reema Lagoo, who has played the on-screen mother to Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt ("Vaastav") and Shahrukh Khan ("Yes Boss").
"I feel mothers have merely become a prop today... there is hardly anything for them to do on screen. I miss playing the kind of roles I did earlier," she said.
How can one forget the drinking mother, Dolly Ahluwalia, in "Vicky Donor". She played the mother to Ayushman Khurana and had the audiences in splits with her act.
In "Vicky Donor", the scene between Dolly and her mother-in-law (Kamlesh Gill) sharing a drink has become the most talked about act of the film released last month.
Dolly has admitted she had apprehensions about the audience accepting the saas-bahu's drinking sessions. "To our good fortune, our bonding, including the drinking part, has been liked," Dolly has said.
RPN Singh, minister of state, MCA in written reply in Lok Sabha said that, “There is no separate activity code to identify multi level marketing (MLM) companies.” Surprisingly, such a reply from MCA comes at a time when ministry of consumer affairs is drafting guidelines for MLMs
While many multi-level marketing (MLM) companies continue to mushroom, targeting gullible people and amassing several thousand crores, the government seems to have no solution to stop them. Recently the ministry of company affairs (MCA) said that that there is no separate activity to identify MLMs and it has no information on any action taken on such companies.
RPN Singh, minister of state, MCA in written reply in Lok Sabha said that, "There is no separate activity code to identify multi level marketing (MLM) companies. Therefore, these companies cannot be separately identified from the list of companies registered under the Companies Act, 1956. Also, there are no separate guidelines for MLM companies. Hence information on action and tax collection is not available."
Mr Singh was replying to written questions on whether the government is aware that the MLM companies are prevalent in India; details and total number of such companies, if the government has proposed any guidelines for these MLM companies along with details of any action against any MLM company and the tax collected from such companies in last three years.
Surprisingly, such a reply from MCA comes at a time when ministry of consumer affairs is drafting guidelines for MLMs. Sources confirmed to Moneylife that acting on the order from the Prime Minister's office (PMO), the ministry is consulting stakeholders to formulate detailed guidelines on MLMs and for direct selling companies.
Recently, Veerappa Moily, minister of consumer affairs, had said that it has written to the ministry of home affairs stating that it has no reservation if such regulatory body, as suggested by Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), is set up within the ministry of home affairs to check the cases of frauds by MLMs as is being done of chit funds.
SFIO is a fraud investing body. Famous scams by MLMs such as SpeakAsia Online and Gold Quest International (a chit fund company) are being investigated by the SFIO. Currently, India bans MLMs and Ponzi schemes under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978, which is grossly inadequate. However, considering menace of these schemes, the state of Meghalaya implemented its own Act which completely banned Ponzi and MLM schemes from the state. Rajasthan is also planning to draft its own legislation, apart from the central Act.
The Kerala government, which in the past admitted noticing frauds amounting to over Rs1,000 crore by MLMs, framed guidelines to distinguish a genuine direct selling company from a fake one. However, experts pointed out that these guidelines were grossly inadequate and misleading.
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