In the late ’80s Bollywood witnessed the emergence of some new and talented actresses who gave a new color and dimension to the mother’s role in Bollywood. The first actress in this category is Reema Lagoo who came from Marathi theatre and films. She made her debut in Bollywood in 1980 with parallel cinema. However, she failed to make her presence but in 1988 her career took a twist after she switched to playing mother roles. In Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) she won rave review as Juhi Chawla‘s mother. Further with the huge success of blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) and Saajan (1991) where she played Salman Khan‘s mother, she became a popular Bollywood mother. She did many roles of the mother like Gumrah (1993) as Sridevi‘s mother, Jai Kishen (1994) as Akshay Kumar’s mother and Rangeela (1995) as Urmila Matondkar‘s mother. Her hit films include Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), Yeh Dillagi (1994), Dilwale (1994), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003). The move with which she got immortalized as New Age Mother was Vaastav: The Reality (1999) in which she played mother to a gangster son (Sanjay Dutt). The film won her first Filmfare Award for best-supporting actress. After this film, she took over the crown of most popular Bollywood mother from Nirupa Roy!!
Rohini Hattangadi, another Marathi actress, who studied acting from India’s prestigious National School of Drama (NSD) of New Delhi won international acclaim for towering performance as Kasturba Gandhi in Hollywood film Gandhi (1982) directed by Richard Attenborough. Later, in 1984, Hattangadi did another similar role of an aged mother in Mahesh Bhatt‘s Saaransh (1984) the role fetched her Filmfare nomination and in 1990, she played an aging mother of Amitabh Bachchan in Agneepath, for which she was awarded her Filmfare Award and this stereotyped her in motherly roles. Her other memorable roles include Rajkumar Hirani‘s directorial debut Munnabhai MBBS (2003) in which played Sanjay Dutt‘s mother.
Though Kirron Kher made her film debut in 1983 with Punjabi film Aasra Pyaar Da but failed to make a mark till 2002. In between, she even won a National Film Awards in Shyam Benegal‘s film Sardari Begum (1996) but stardom eluded her. Eventually, after almost 20 years, she found success in 2002, when she was noted for her dynamic performance in Devdas (2002), alongside Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai, and was nominated for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. After this, she never looked back. She kicked aside the sobbing mother and introduced a mother with a touch of humor in films like Hum Tum, Rang De Basanti, Dostana or Khoobsurat, Singh is Kinng, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, etc. The audience went gaga over her hilarious dialogues and comic timing. She has also pulled off roles serious undertones with as ease, like in Fanaa and Veer Zaara.
Farida Jalal is the latest actress who is hogging the limelight as a mother after she won huge applause as Biwi Gul in Raj Kapoor‘s film Henna ( 1991). In this film, she played a Pakistani lady, who lovingly takes care of a Hindu Indian boy (Rishi Kapoor) as her own son. The film won her a Filmfare Award and opened the door of a successful second inning in Bollywood. Interestingly, in her first inning, she was stereotyped as a sister and in the second inning, she got typed as a loving mother. Later in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, she won another Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1995. Her major hit films are Raja Hindustani, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil To Pagal Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… and Mammo, for which she won Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance.