In India, it’s only acceptable to have a kid when you’re married. But it’s not like you HAVE to be married in order to have a child. Biology doesn’t really have anything to do with this social stigma.
It doesn’t make sense to limit motherhood to one’s marital status. There are a few Bollywood movies that work towards destigmatizing it.
1. Salaam Namaste
Nick falls in love with Ambar and pursues her to move in with him. Although opposed to the idea first, Ambar soon changes her mind and starts living with him. Over time, they get closer and Ambar becomes pregnant, which changes everything for the couple.
Paa revolves around the story of Auro who has a rare genetic disorder named progeria. He lives with his mother who decided to raise him alone after an altercation with her then-boyfriend, Amol. The plot thickens when he befriends Amol, who is now a young politician. The movie was a great take on the struggles of a person with a rare disorder and portrays the life of a single mother.
3. Heyy Babyy
Arush, Ali and Tanmay find themselves in a fix, when a baby girl is left at their doorsteps. Althought hesitant at first, they soon grow very attached to the baby and even fight Isha, who comes to get her baby back. Isha had been raising the kid all alone before her father decided to intervene and make things complicated for his ‘unwed’ daughter.
Julie falls in love with a Hindu boy and accidentally gets pregnant. Julie’s mother, a conservative Christian, forces Julie to deliver and leave the child at an orphanage. The movie highlighted the harsh circumstances women are pushed into just because they either fell in love with a person outside their religion or got pregnant before getting married.
5. Kya Kehna
Kya Kehna was ahead of its time, and showcased the plight of a young woman who chooses to have a say over her life and her body. Abandoned by her boyfriend and her family, Priya braves through the jeers of society when she gets pregnant out of wedlock.
6. Badnaam Gali
The movie follows the journey of a surrogate who braves the world when she’s already been branded as a woman with a ‘questionable’ character. She knows what she wants and goes after it no matter what anyone says. The film stars Patralekha Paul and Divyendu Sharma as the leads.
7. Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye
Another movie that was ahead of its time was Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye. Released back in 1983, the film revolved around the story of Malti and her struggle to seek justice after Suresh abandons her to fight it out all alone while pregnant. She decides to keep the baby and takes legal action against Suresh. Shakuntala, a women’s rights lawyer fights her case. The film is centered around the hypocrisy of people when it comes to women’s rights and being pregnant out of wedlock.
Raj leaves Shanti to marry another girl from a rich family. On his wedding day, he learns that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant with their child. Being a single mother, she raises the child alone until her death. Things become complicated when the child is set out to make his absent father pay for everything he put his mother through.
The most recent movie to talk about being a single mother unconventionally is Mimi. A remake of Marathi movie Mala Aai Vhhaychy! the film is about a surrogate who chooses to give birth and raise the child alone when the biological parents flee after realizing the child might be suffering from down syndrome.
It’s okay to have kids before marriage and it’s okay to not have kids at all. It’s you who gets to decide what you want to do. Nobody else should have a say in this. Not even the society. Period.