Bollywood Mamas: A Little Less Farida Jalal, a Little More Ratna Pathak Shah Please

Bollywood

Bollywood Mamas: A Little Less Farida Jalal, a Little More Ratna Pathak Shah Please

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Y

ears ago, I remember watching a Karan Johar interview where he spoke about how his mother almost irrationally believed that he deserved to be a hero. “Maa to pagal hai,” he had concluded, punctuating this anecdote with the filmy punch it deserved. I remember looking back at my mother and wondering what sort of maas he was talking about, where they could be found, and if I could borrow one.

My mother was not this version of pagal. My brother had once drawn a picture of our mother for a school competition. It was stick figure of a woman who stood alone, tall and imposing, one arm on her waist while she held a mustache on her face made of her braid. Around her was a globe that represented our world. It was the most potent representation of what a mother meant to us – a graceful womanly figure who held the figurative mustache (and everything it stood for) on her face, while she kept our world together, single-handedly, without ever losing her poise.

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