AVENGING PARENTS MAKE AN IMPACT
Several Bollywood A-listers pick revenge dramas to return to the screen after a hiatus
Sanjay Dutt in Bhoomi (releasing soon) and Sridevi in Mom (recently released) have something in common with Raveena Tandon in Maatr (April 2017) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Jazbaa (October 2015). All of them were among the most soughtafter lead actors of their time; were absent from the big screen for a while; and then made — or will make, in Sanjay’s case — an impactful comeback by playing a parent who goes all out for revenge after their child is harmed or threatened. Is this, then, the perfect comeback role?
Bollywood trade analyst Atul Mohan explains, “Actors wanting to come back to films choose differently. They are offered a host of options, but choose a film where they can explore so many elements: drama, anger, and revenge.”
Mohan adds that it is because of the easy emotional connect with families that makes these actors project themselves as a parent. “Action, when mixed with emotions, allows them to portray a different image in front of the viewers,” he says.
Raveena, who played the titular role of a mother in Maatr, out to take revenge on the people who raped and killed her daughter, feels that the choice shouldn’t be seen only as a manipulative strategy. “Personally, I took up such a role in Maatr because I have three daughters myself, and had faced molestation in my younger years. This role allowed me to show the frustration of the common man who does not get justice,” she says.
While many might see this as a trend, Sanjay Gupta, director of Jazbaa, says that it is merely a coincidence that all these films have top actors returning in lead roles as avenging parents. “Actors don’t look at this aspect specifically. The only thing they want is a good script,” says Gupta.
Sridevi has said something similar. She said in a past interview, “I wasn’t consciously planning to pick up anything for better relatability with the audience. When something comes to me and touches my heart, I do it.”
L-R: Raveena Tandon in Maatr; Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Jazbaa; and Sridevi in Mom; Below: Sanjay Dutt, whose next film is Bhoomi