Sulochana Latkar who played mother to nearly every top hero and heroine of the 1960s and 70s is gone. With her passing Indian cinema has lost the last of the archetypal screen mother. Leela Chitnis , Kamini Kaushal, Achala Sachdev and of course Nirupa Roy ….the weepie all-sacrificing moms toiling over the sewing machine , are all gone.
Sulochana epitomized the culture of mother-worship in our country.
Says Amitabh Bachchan, “After Nirupa Royji she played my mother in the largest number of films. Sulochanaji was indeed a mother-figure to both the Hindi and Marathi film industry.I still remember the beautiful handwritten letter she had sent me on my 75th birthday. It was one of the most cherished gifts I’ve ever received.”
Adds veteran actress Asha Parekh, “I’ve done many films with her. I can’t remember a time when Sulochanaji was not part of the film industry.All of us gave her the same respect that we gave our real mothers.”
Marathi director Sameer Vidwans of Anandi Gopal fame who is to make his debut in Hindi with Satyaprem Ki Katha says, “Sulochanaji belonged not only to Marathi or Hindi cinema. She left us at the age of 96 and spent a good 70 years of those 96 years in front of the camera. So I’d say she belonged to Indian cinema per se. Sulochanaji was a metaphor for ideal motherhood. People said, ‘Ma ho toh Sulochana jaisi ho’ She was such a lovely person and so serene on screen. When she came on screen she exuded a maternal solace .While her going is a blow for Hindi cinema, it is an irreparable loss for Marathi cinema. She is an integral part of the history of Indian cinema.”