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On Kajol’s birthday, we pick six films where the actress blazed a trail as a mother

These six films have been directed by Karan Johar, Renuka Shahane, Revathy, Pradeep Sarkar, Siddharth Malhotra and Amit Ravindernath Sharma

Agnivo Niyogi Calcutta Published 05.08.23, 02:28 PM
Kajol turns 49 today

Kajol turns 49 today Instagram

“I have only two moods — I either talk & talk & talk or I don’t even say ‘bye’ while cutting the call,” wrote Kajol in an Instagram post recently.

In her acting career spanning over three decades, Kajol has channeled both these sides of her personality in the characters she has played, specially in roles of the mother that she has been taking up more frequently of late. On her 49th birthday, we pick our favourite mom characters that Kajol made her own, even as we love how she’s killing it as a homemaker-mother who’s back to being a legal eagle in the Disney+ Hotstar drama The Trial.

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Sujata in Salaam Venky

In Revathy’s Salaam Venky (2022), Kajol shows a mother’s resolve and grit in the face of insurmountable grief and agony of watching her young son’s life slip away. Venky aka Venkatesh (Vishal Jethwa) is a spirited chess player suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a condition leading to degeneration and death. He has by his side his mother Sujata (Kajol), who is determined to let him make the most of his life. Venky’s last wish is to donate his organs and opt for euthanasia — a heartrending situation for Sujata, who is initially opposed to the idea but later goes to great lengths to advocate for a change in the laws surrounding mercy killing.

Eela in Helicopter Eela

Kajol brings her exuberant side to this title role that may have resonated with many single mothers coping with fears and insecurities around their growing kids. In this 2018 film by Pradeep Sarkar, Kajol plays Eela Raiturkar, an aspiring singer who turns into an overprotective mother to her teenage son Vivaan (Riddhi Sen) after her husband walks out of the marriage. Eela takes it too far when she signs up for a course in the same college as her son. Feeling smothered, Vivaan moves out of the house, allowing Eela to discover her individuality beyond being a mother. Kajol’s energetic performance as a middle-aged woman determined to reignite her passion for music was a refreshing touch.

Anuradha in Tribhanga - Tedhi Medhi Crazy

Renuka Shahane’s Netflix film Tribhanga (2021) has Kajol in yet another turn as a single mother but one that is very different in tone and texture. Kajol plays Anuradha Apte, a successful actress and dancer, who grapples with the consequences of her unconventional life choices that have taken a toll on her relationship with her daughter Masha (Mithila Palkar). By being possessive of Masha, Anuradha, who had her out of wedlock, tries to compensate for the neglect she received from her own mother (played by Tanvi Azmi) as a child. Kajol played this flawed yet resilient mother to perfection.

Kajol (right) plays mother to Mithila Palkar (left) in Renuka Shahane’s Tribhanga – Tedhi Medhi Crazy

Kajol (right) plays mother to Mithila Palkar (left) in Renuka Shahane’s Tribhanga – Tedhi Medhi Crazy

Mandira in My Name Is Khan

In Karan Johar’s 2010 film My Name Is Khan, Kajol’s character Mandira shows what an empowered single mother can achieve — fall in love with a man with Asperger’s Syndrome and start afresh. But Mandira’s happy life with Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) and her son in New York is shattered when she loses her child in a racist attack in the aftermath of 9/11. The incident impacts her relationship with Rizwan but Mandira works on building her life back. Kajol’s portrayal of a strong, compassionate mother who fights for justice for her son makes it one of her most memorable roles.

Devyani in Lust Stories 2

In Tilchatta, Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s short film in the Netflix anthology Lust Stories 2, Kajol delivered a standout performance as Devyani, a homemaker who longs to break free from the oppressive confines of her violent husband Suraj Singh (Kumud Mishra). Her son Ankur (Zeeshan Nadaf) is the only silver lining in her life and also her ticket to freedom. And in a heart-wrenching twist, Devyani’s plan for retribution backfires as her son becomes the victim of her conspiracy to kill her husband. Without any dialogue, Kajol brings out the level of devastation Devyani is plunged into when the horror of her action dawns on her.

Maya in We Are Family

Kajol played a divorced mother of three battling cancer in Siddharth Malhotra’s 2010 film We Are Family, an emotional rollercoaster exploring the complexities of modern relationships. Maya (Kajol) makes the hard decision of asking her ex-husband’s new girlfriend (Kareena Kapoor Khan) to join the family and take her place when she’s gone. Kajol portrayed Maya with a lot of grace and dignity, balancing the character’s strength as well as her vulnerability.

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