A few years ago when Anil Kapoor was younger, he had announced a desi version of the 2003 Mark Waters directed Disney rom-com Freaky Friday where Mom Jamie Lee Curtis and daughter Lindsey Lohan swapped places. Anil wanted Sonam Kapoor to play the daughter. The fact that she is his daughter had nothing to do with it. Anil in his professional opnion found her to be the best candidate for the part. For the “freaky” Anil wanted Madhuri Dixit who chickened out as she didn’t want to play a mom to an adult. Then Kirron Kher was brought in. Finally the project was dropped. Freaky moms are unacceptable to Indian audiences. Here are 5 unsuccessful mom films to prove it.
1. Mumtaz in Andhiyan(1990): This was meant to be the most sassy mom-son story on this side of Mother India. Mumtaz who had long quit movies made her comeback as the hip cool and sexy mom to Prosenjit Chatterji who made his debut in Hindi cinema with this film. Aandhiyan failed to whip a storm. Says producer Pahlaj Nihalani, “They couldn’t accept a mother who was a pal to her son. Who wore jeans instead of saris.Who treated her son as her best friend amd who didn’t spend all her time weeping and making sacrifices for her ladla beta.”
2. Manisha Koirala In Akele Hum Akele Tum(1995): Heavily inspired by Kramer Versus Kramer, this was the story of an ambitious mother who walks out on her marriage leaving her husband Aamir Khan to look after their son. Audiences were aghast. “Which Mom does this? Walk out on a happy marriage and leave her little son behind? It wasn’t as if her husband was a wife-beater or something. He was a nice sweet chap. Yet she chose her career over family? I got a lot of hate mail for this. But I loved my role. Meryl Streep had done the original and got an Oscar. I didn’t get anything. But I enjoyed the experience of being a mother who was very different from other screen moms,” says Manisha.
3. Shabana Azmi in Log Kya Kahenge(1982): Shabana admits she went a little too far in this one. She played a woman forced into marriage with a widower(Sanjeev Kumar) who kills her stepson with her bare hands. Says Shabana, “I saw the look in my eyes on screen when I am strangling my screen son. It frightened me.Somewhere inside us we secrete these homicidal tendencies. It was not a pleasant experience.” Not for the audience either. They rejected this B R Ishaara directed tribute to the twisted mother.
4. Priyanka Chopra In Pyaar Impossible(2010): At age 28 Priyanka “dared” to play a mother to a rebellious teenage daughter(Advika Yadav). They hung out together. They fought like cats and dogs….sorry cats and kittens. Mom dated guys. Daughter dated guys. Not quite Mother India, this one. Audiences rejected the film.Mother impossible!
5. Reena Roy in Apnapan(1977): In a make or break career move, Reena Roy elected to play a mother who abandons her husband and son for greener pastures but dares to return to get her previous life . Reena’s well-wishers were aghast. “How can you do this role? It is the vamp’s role? The homebreaker!” Reena stuck to her guns. After the film’s release they gave her the Filmfare award for best supporting actress. She rejected the honour. Imagine being honoured for a supporting role after playing a homebreaker!