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Interview Hindi

Seema Pahwa: Happy to challenge myself to play relatable mother as it is not easy


Pahwa, who is earning praise for playing realistic, funny and lovable mother roles on screen, speaks in an exclusive video interview.

Suparna Thombare

With back-to-back successes in Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, veteran actress Seema Pahwa is earning praise for her entertaining portrayal of realistic and lovable mothers in both films.

In an exclusive interview with Cinestaan.com, Pahwa cited changes in the way supporting characters are being written as one of the prime reasons why her characters in both films, and the films themselves, worked.

"Earlier, they [writers and filmmakers] used to focus only on the hero and heroine," she said. "That leaves a story incomplete. Since the time this participation has started and writing of these characters is done by taking actors like me along, the interest of people in those kinds of films has increased. Take Tanu Weds Manu (2011) or Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015). When you have an ensemble cast you see a lot more flavour. That not only affects the story but also has an impact on the hero and heroine.”

After making her mark as a child artiste on Doordarshan and Akashvani in the 1960s, and then becoming a household name as the eldest daughter 'Badki' in the long-running serial Hum Log, India’s first soap opera on National television, Pahwa nee Bhargava has again become the talk of the town, this time on the big screen.

Her second innings, which began with Ferrari Ki Sawaari (2012), took off when she played the realistic small-town mother, Amma, in Rajat Kapoor’s Ankhon Dekhi (2014). She then earned praise for her portrayal of Subhadra Rani, Bhumi Pednekar's lovable on-screen mum, in Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015).

The actress has now come to be known as the contemporary mother with a sense of humour in content-driven films set in small towns, setting her apart from the sweet-mum portrayals of the 1990s and early 2000s in mainstream cinema, or the long-suffering mothers of an earlier era. 

“More realistic the approach, more the character will feel like your own mother," Pahwa explained. "Instead of being real, if you go with some imaginary factors to build an imaginary mother, who has no backbone or own experience, she is just a mother. But as more detailing goes into the character, you start to feel for the character.”

Pahwa will be making a 180° turn with her next film, Thugs Of Hindostan, also starring Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif, where she is playing a role diametrically opposed to the lovable mother she has essayed in her recent films. How well she does the part remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, watch the first part of Seema Pahwa's interview here: