Roles of mothers in Bollywood are cliched: Shefali Shah
Mumbai: Actress Shefali Shah feels the image of the on-screen mother has undergone a massive change in Bollywood and is now reduced to just cardboard characters.
The actress is playing mother to Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra in Zoya Akhtar’s “Dil Dhadakne Do”. She is paired opposite Anil Kapoor in the film.
Citing the example of on-screen mothers like Nirupa Roy in “Deewar”, Waheeda Rehman in “Trishul”, Dina Pathak in “Khubsoorat” and Raakhee in “Shakti” and “Ram Lakhan”, Shefali said in the in 60s-70s a story was incomplete without a strong matriarchal figure but today such roles are often cliched.
“There have been incredible mothers in films in the past. In fact, earlier mothers were a far more prominent feature in a film… In the 60s-70s, no story was complete without a mother but today such roles have become cliched. Now, in most films, mothers have become marginalised, they are mere props instead of propellers of the story,” Shefali told.
The actress said she was initially apprehensive about playing a mother in “Dil Dhadakne Do” but she was also reluctant to let go off a good script and consulted her filmmaker husband Vipul Shah.
“When Zoya offered me the film she said ‘I want you but it is a mother’s role’. I read the script and told my husband that it is one of the best scripts I have read and the role is fantastic.
“He asked me what the problem was and when I told him he advised me to take it up. There were apprehensions as Priyanka and Ranveer are closer to my age. But as my character was well-written, I couldn’t say no,” she said.
When pointed out that she played Akshay Kumar’s mother in “Waqt”, Shefali said, “I did it because it is from a play which I loved. For the film I was paired opposite Mr Amitabh Bachchan. But that did have an effect on my career because everyone just offered me mothers’ roles and I wanted to correct it.”
Shefali feels that with women emancipation, a mother’s role in cinema has also evolved but well-written characters are hard to come by even now.
“Earlier, women were shown as dedicated housewives and mothers who did not have a life of their own. From submissive and regressive, such characters have moved to someone having their own voice and a multi-faceted personality.
“I loved the role of Dolly Ahluwalia in ‘Vicky Donor’. I fell in love with the mother and the mother-in-law. Besides that I don’t remember any other interesting role,” she said.