If there’s one thing that Bollywood is consistent at, it’s wasting good talent. We constantly see brilliant actors being casted in similar secondary roles. Neither do they get a prominent space, nor does the character explores their versatility. Seema Pahwa is one example among many others.

After the much awaited comeback in Ankhon Dekhi, we couldn’t help but fall in love with her all over again. While Seema Pahwa has been just as amazing on screen as she once was, we cannot dismiss the fact that she hasn’t received the best of work. 

With Gangubai Kathiawadi, she’s made one thing clear – that she’s made for better, more prominent roles. If you’ve watched the film, you’d know that it’s almost hard to keep in mind that she’s the same maa that we know of. 


When we watch her act, we can see her commitment for the space, so much so, that for the length of the film, she becomes a part of our lives. It’s as if we know her. And if that isn’t enough proof of her brilliance on screen, I’m not sure what can be. 

Bollywood isn’t always sensitive or generous and when it comes to women, there’s the added judgement. This is also why we either do not see enough of older female actors or we see them getting type casted.  

I am doing such kind of roles because I am only getting these kind of roles. I regret that casting directors don’t want to experiment.

-Seema Pahwa to Hindustan Times

Free Press Journal

So, for someone like Seema Pahwa, there’s been the ‘maa ka role’ with the similar perquisites in each film. Sadly, these are good films that we’re talking about – films like Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. They keep giving her the same maa, whose life revolves around her kids and family – as if that’s every woman’s only dream.

The Indian Express
Amazon Prime Video

The intriguing part is, she manages to add her own quirks, that make each version of ‘filmy maa‘ feel different from the last one. At times, if filmmakers feel like getting ‘creative’, they give her – the funny mausi. The thing is, there’s more to an older woman than being a mother and most times mainstream cinema forgets that. Seema Pahwa’s portrayal of Sheela in Gangubai Kathiawadi is nothing but a reminder that if given the right role, actors like her are capable of a lot more.

It’s not even like the actor isn’t comfortable stepping out of the same zone. In an interview with Indian Express Online, she shared how she wants to explore characters that have more to offer with something to add to the story – characters where she has a stronger personality or profession. 


It clearly means, that Bollywood hasn’t been very welcoming to this talent and been too scared of experimenting just a little bit. Hopefully, the industry sees her for who she is – a performer with a range that has been left unexplored.