Veteran actress Reema Lagoo known for her brilliant body of work both in Hindi and Marathi Industry is no longer with us. From playing the quintessential lovable mother in several Bollywood Movies, to doing an array of unique Indian Telly and theatre, Reema Ji’s on screen/stage persona was simply amazing.
Lastly seen in Mahesh Bhatt’s Naamkarann on Star Plus as Dayawanti Mehta, Reema Lagoo ji’s absence from the world of entertainment will truly be a void that cannot be filled.
As a tribute to Reema Ji – The actor, performer, artist – we bring you the actress’ most memorable top 10 PERFORMANCES
• Kaushalya Choudhary of Maine Pyaar Kiya: This was the very first time Reema Ji played Salman Khan’s mother and ever since they duo have been hailed as the best on-screen mother-son Jodi; and we completely agree. The scene where Kaushalya holds Prem’s hand, and takes him to the pooja ghar and asks him to give the ‘shagun ke kangan’ to her bahu, seconds after her husband asks her to make their son understand that he should not go in pursuit of his true love remains a classic. She knew that if she asked him to not leave he wouldn’t go, but she gave her blessings even when it broke her heart to see her son leave. A mother who loved and supported her son unconditionally, to the extent where she went against her husband made viewers fall immensely in love with her.
• Mrs. Siddharth Choudhury of Hum Apke Hain Kaun: As wife of Prof. S. Choudhary (Anupam Kher) and mother of two lovely young women Pooja (Renuka Shahane) and Nisha (Madhuri Dixit) this was Reema ji’s second collaboration with Rajshri Productions. However what the viewers fondly remember regarding Reema ji’s character in the movie is that she was adored by all as the exceptionally beautiful mother of the bride, and how everyone including her husband teased her as Kailashnath’s (Alok Nath) crush during the trio’s college days. Remember the song ‘Samdhan Ji’?
• Mrs. Sharma of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Reema ji played Kajol’s mother in Karan Johar’s directorial debut. Though her character was introduced in the second half of the movie, she was seen as the pillar of strength her daughter Anjali (Kajol) could fall back on. Anjali had gotten engaged to Aman (Salman Khan) but her mother senses that her daughter is not entirely happy. What follows is a soulful conversation between the mother-daughter duo where Anjali tells her mom that she would never be able to move on from her one true love Rahul (Shahrukh Khan) while her mother encourages Anjali to give love another chance as Aman was a wonderful man and loved her very much. Her dilemma on Anjali’s insistence of preponing the wedding with Aman and then tears of joy on seeing her daughter finally unite with the love of her life in the climax were scenes that simply stood out. The movie also saw Reema Ji’s reunion with Salman Khan yet again. The duo won the hearts of the audience with their unique and easy camaraderie as mother-in-law and son-in-law in this 1998 hit.
• Mamta Ramkishan of Hum Saath Saath Hai: After this movie the audience knew for sure that Reema Lagoo and filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya were an unbeatable combination. Reema ji yet again essayed the role of a mother in this hit movie but with a twist. Her character of Mamta Ramkishan was largely based on that of Kaikeyi’s from Ramayan. Mamta’s loves all her children Vivek (Mohnish Beehl), Prem (Salman Khan), Sangeeta (Neelam Kothari) and Vinod (Saif Ali Khan), but a tragedy that falls upon her daughter followed by some mind poisoning from friends leads to Mamta breaking up her once happy joint family. However, the movie ends on a happy note with Mamta realizing that she was wrong to have treated her step-son Vivek indifferently and everybody uniting.
• Shanta of Vaastav: An epic crime drama by Mahesh Manjrekar that has gained the status of a cult classic over the years; Vaastav is remembered till date not only because of Sanjay Dutt’s amazing performance as underworld don Raghu but also for its infamous climax scene. When everything starts to spiral out of control in Raghu’s life he seeks help and shelter from the one person he knew would never fail him – his mother Shanta. Shanta is heart-broken to see her son losing his mind and promises to protect Raghu at any cost. When Raghu requests his mother to free him of his dreadful life, Shanta recalls how Raghu had taught her how to use a gun, pulls the trigger and kills him point blank. This was undoubtedly one of Reema ji’s best performances in her acting career spanning over 3 decades and would make viewers go numb even today. Try it!!! Watch the scene ON YouTube.
• Lakshmi of Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai: The movie may not be as popular as many others in this list or in Reema Ji’s acting career but her role as Lakshmi, Ganga’s (Govinda) adoptive mother in Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai, was a performance that would leave anyone teary eyed. Ganga is adored by his parents who are sheep-herders, but one day he learns that he is not their biological son. The scene where Lakshmi tells Ganga that they were just his care-takers and that they had taken money from his real-parents for his upbringing was a real tear-jerker. You know that she is lying, that the thought of getting separated from her son is killing her but even as the tears roll down her cheeks, she puts up a brave face and makes sure that he leaves the village to start a new life away from them.
• Mrs. Mathur of Kal Ho Na Ho: Reema Ji reunited with SRK and essayed the role of his mother on screen for the second time after Yes Boss. As Mrs. Mathur the happy and full of life Aman’s (SRK) mom, she had to go through the most painful and hardest thing a mother could ever go through- watching her son die. The scene where she learns Aman’s heart condition is getting worse and that his days are numbered, the shock and pain that clouds her face is unfathomable. Her disbelief regarding the news and persistence that Priya (Sonali Bendra) had told her there was hope, and her silent resolve to stay strong for the sake of her son are scenes where you witness the exceptionally wonderful actress that Reema Ji is. As Aman spreads his magic and brings happiness in everyone’s life, love in Naina’s life etc. Mrs. Mathur watched from afar, putting on a brave face and silently supporting his son in his last few days.
• Kokila Kulkarni of Shrimaan Shrimati: Long before &TV came up with Bhabhi Ji Ghar Par Hai; Doordarshan came up with a show that entertained the audience and ruled hearts. Shrimaan Shrimati was a highly popular sitcom, and Kokila aka Koki – the smart and graceful homemaker essayed by Reema Ji’s was a character that left the audience in splits. As Keshav’s (Late Jatin Kanakia) wife and Dilruba’s (Rakesh Bedi) crush, Koki aka Reema Ji showcased a side of her acting prowess that wasn’t seen in Bollywood where she always essayed the role of the archetypical mother. The audience loved her and wanted more of such performances from the actress which came true when she went on to do Tu Tu Main Main.
• Devaki Verma of Tu Tu Main Main: Who can forget the constant bickering and arguments between one of the best and most unique Saas-Bahu aka of Indian Television that made fans fall in love with this particular relationship which otherwise makes audiences look at it with skepticism? Devaki and Radha essayed by Reema Lagoo and Supriya Pilgaonkar made certain that this would be one saas-bahu drama that would remain in the hearts of the viewers’ even decades after it went off-air. With brilliant comic timing, a great sense of humor and realistic acting Reema Ji gave a masterful performance in this 90’s superhit sitcom. The role of Devaki the stubborn, nagging yet loving mother in law won Reema Ji the Indian Telly Award for Best Actress in a Comic Role.
• Dayawanti Mehta of Naamkarann: We are sure that the audience will agree with us 101% when we say there couldn’t be a better choice to play this role other than Reema Ji. As the shows main antagonist Dayawanti, Reema Ji left no stones unturned in making the character as hateful as possible. From manipulating Ashish (Viraf Patel) to planning Ayesha’s (Barkha Bisht Sengupta) accident to shooting a young child aka Avni (Arsheen Namdaar), Dayawanti has done everything that would make viewers cringe. Reema Ji brought with her years of experience, unadulterated talent and sincere dedication to the role and breathed life into it. While see Dayawanti on screen, viewers did not recall the loving Kaushalya or Mrs. Mathur but saw what Reema Ji wanted viewers to see – Dayawanti Mehta, a woman who would do anything to get what she wants.
Author: Vijitha Rajan