The relationship between a mother and daughter is mostly shown in its perfect form in films – which is far from true. While we all love our mothers, there are also times where we do not exactly like them, and vice versa. This isn’t something that needs to be villainized, because it’s normal – given the generation gap. But, fiction is romanticised and we cannot always expect the truth.

However, here are some movies and shows that tried to focus on the complexity of the relationship, while keeping the love intact:

1. Dear Zindagi

The film made the effort to put light on the imperfections of a mother-daughter relationship, in ways which showed parents as people who make mistakes. There’s a scene, where Kaira talks about how her relationship changed with her mother, because of something that she witnessed when she was a child. It is, in its own way a raw and real look at the how mothers can be wrong, even when they want the best for us – and how that’s fine.

2. This Is Us

In a line, the show is – emotions that I didn’t even know existed. And while addressing all those emotions, it also addresses individuals in different relationships. This scene from the series focuses on how, Kate and Rebecca looked at each others’ actions differently. It is a very honest example of how daughters seek the need to be perfect for their mothers’ validation – even when there might be no external pressure. 

3. English Vinglish

English Vinglish felt like a breath of fresh air and Sridevi’s character cannot not have a special place in all our hearts. The scene from the film where she visits her daughter’s school was able to focus on the generation gap and hence the distance that builds between mothers and daughters. Her daughter is ashamed of the fact that she cannot converse in English and even goes on to disrespect her. However saddening, this scene was very close to reality.

4. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The web series is not only funny, but also important. It is about a woman’s struggle in a man’s world, and well, that exists. But, it also shows how mothers can miss out on who their daughters are. In a scene from season 3, Midge confronts Rosy about how she hates that Rosy doesn’t accept her profession – also how she wishes to include her in the life that she’s trying to build. This scene is exactly the confrontation that I had been waiting for, the entire time.

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5. Badhai Ho

The film focused on the need to remove the taboos surrounding sex, specifically when it comes to older couples. While doing so, it also shows us a relationship where a mother and daughter talk about things and even disagree, instead of shying away from them. The scene where Sanya Malhotra’s character stops her mother from talking about Nakul’s family a certain way, is an example of how it’s okay to not always agree with your mother and vice versa.

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6. Lady Bird 

The beauty of the film was that it showed us a relatable character in its entirety. And with it, also the relationship of a mother and daughter who do not always like each other. The scene where Christine jumps off the car, after she gets into an argument with her mother is the kind of turbulence that films often miss out on – in portraying mothers and daughters as perfect. It is raw and doesn’t dismiss the fact that they do love each other – no matter how different they are.

7. Kal Ho Na Ho

Kal Ho Na Ho definitely leaves us a little in love, with every watch. But, it also showed the different dimensions to the characters, including the relationship of Naina and Jennifer. The film starts with Naina introducing the people in her life, which also includes her mother. She goes on to mention that they both do lie to each other about their emotions and hence have a complex equation which remains unaddressed for most part of the film.


8. Made In Heaven

From a flashback in the series, Tara and her sister are seen sitting with their mother – who ‘schools’ them on how to ‘look perfect’. They both dislike the ways, and her sister even disagrees with them. The scene very subtly shows that the idea of ‘being perfect’ can be different for both mothers and daughters and that’s understandable. Because, standing up for what you think is right, is important too.

Amazon Prime Video

We can love people without putting them on a pedestal. And yes, that means – maa aur beti best friends na ho toh bhi chalega.