The entertainment industries, in India or abroad, have stereotyped mothers for a very long time. They are portrayed as people who have no ambition other than living for others, and it is about time that changes. 

Thankfully, we do have examples of on-screen mothers who are shown in a refreshing light. These are well-rounded characters, with complexities, and here are some examples of the same.

1. Moira Rose – Schitt’s Creek

Moira (played by Catherine O’Hara) isn’t the symbol of sacrifice, and that’s what we admire so much. She loves her children to death, but she also loves herself. A lot. And so, she focusses on her career and raises two very smart kids, who are equally independent and really kind people underneath all the sarcasm.

The Advocate

2. Shashi Godbole – English Vinglish

In sharp contrast to Moira, Shashi’s life revolves around her family. And though she is a businesswoman, she is low on confidence for not being fluent in English – something only made worse due to the taunts from her daughter and husband. English Vinglish, is about Shahi learning a new language and finding her voice.

Trivia: Shashi’s character is based on the life of director Gauri Shinde’s mother. In an interview, Gauri said, “I made this film to say sorry to my mother”.


3. Neena Gupta – Masaba Masaba

To be honest, Neena Gupta’s life was waiting to be turned into a movie. Neena had her daughter Masaba outside of marriage and has confessed a number of times that it was very tough. Masaba Masaba, though fictional in terms of plot, is heavily inspired from the lives of the mother-daughter duo, who play themselves in the movie. 

Neena was a breath of fresh air in the project, as she is in real life and we couldn’t love her more for it.

he Indian Express

4. Sunita Kapoor – Kapoor & Sons

Ratna Pathak Shah shines in every role she takes on and this one is no exception. She plays the role of a woman who is not allowed to follow her ambition and is ignored by her husband who is having an affair. She makes her way through these difficulties while also living with some guilts and coming to terms with her son’s sexuality. 

India Forums

5. Dr. Vidya Arte – Paa

Dr. Vidya Arte, played by Vidya Balan, is the mother of a child who is suffering from a disease called progeria. She raises him by herself after her partner at the time, Amol, refuses to accept the kid. She is also pursuing her career as a gynecologist, and makes sure her kid doesn’t feel inferior to anyone else because of his condition. 

Hope Productions

6. Aarya – Aarya

Aarya (played by Sushmita Sen) is a fierce woman who decides to avenge her husband’s murder while also protecting her kids from any possible harm. She is understanding, loyal, loving and also someone you wouldn’t want to mess with.


7. Najma Malik – Secret Superstar

Najma, played by Meher Vij, is a woman who truly wants to support her daughter’s dream of becoming a singer. She sticks with her through thick and thin, and in the process, also learns to stand up for herself. This makes Secret Superstar a movie as much about following your passion as it is about motherhood.

Radio City

8. Maya Awasthi – Taare Zameen Par

Maya, played by Tisca Chopra, is the mother of a child (Ishaan) suffering from dyslexia. However, no one in the family knows about his condition. She battles the confusion regarding her child’s behaviour, sudden outbursts of her husband, and separation from her kid who is sent to a boarding school. The scenes with Maya and Ishaan leave us heartbroken each time.

Filmi Sufi

So much to learn from these women.