MOTHER’S DAY SPECIAL: Telly moms support daughters-in-law

It’s not just mothers who must be heralded on their day. The same goes for mothers-in-law too. Not surprisingly, television soaps are now showcasing goody goody moms-in-law and the actors are backing this trend to the fullest extent. They tell us why…

Nasty kitchen politics and mean mothers-in-law have long been the core of woman-centric shows on telly. But Smita Bansal, Apara Mehta, Supriya Pilongakar and Indrani Haldar have changed the scenario by backing their on-screen daughters-in-law. On the occasion of Mother’s Day (May 13), these ideal screen moms-in-law say that as society has become modern, the relationship has also matured both in fiction and in reality.

Smita Bansal aka Sumitra of Balika Vadhu, who is a pillar of strength for her on-screen daughter-in-law Anandi, says the older generation has become more supportive. “The relationship of a mother-in-law with her daughter-in-law has changed over the years. Since most young women opt to work after marriage, the older generation understands the pressure and supports them,” Smita told IANS. “I live in a joint family and my bonding with my mother-in-law is very strong. She knows I have to go out for work and she understands my hectic schedule. The relationship has now become more mature unlike earlier,” she said.

Daily soaps have a big audience and positive and loving characters inspire people to be like them, says Supriya who as Shailaja in Sasuraal Genda Phool showed that being a mother-in-law is not just about bossing around, she can nurture the family bond and bind everyone together with her love and care. “Mothers-in-law have been an integral part of daily soaps. But there have been shows in the past where they were portrayed in a negative light, so much so that it looked unrealistic. Now with the trend of supporting mothers-in-law, viewers can take inspiration from them,” Supriya told IANS.

Indrani set a new example on the small screen by playing Devyani in Maryada: Lekin Kab Tak. Her character fights with her evil husband to protect her daughter-in-law. “Now mothers-in-law are not ones who will boss around with their daughters-in-law and tell them to do all the household chores. They themselves go out and chill with their family. It is modernity that changed the relationship,” Indrani told IANS. But she says this change is more visible in metros than small towns. “People in cities are becoming modern, but this is not the case in small towns. In villages and small towns, the situation is still the same. That’s why when a television show is based in a village, the portrayal of the characters is not that modern,” she said.

The support of a mother-in-law is very important for a daughter-in-law, says Apara Mehta who is backing her onscreen daughter-in-law – played by Mona Singh -in Kya Hua Tera Vaada. “Earlier mothers-in-law were projected like Lalita Pawar (who frequently played negative roles in Bollywood films of yore) but that does not happen any more. Even the older generation is becoming considerate of the fact that one needs to change with time. And support from a mother-in-law is important as it helps a woman adjust in the family,” she said. Her character in the show, she says, “is supporting her daughter-in-law”. “Had I been in that situation in real life, I would always be on my bahu‘s (daughter-in-law) side,” she said.