The word ‘mother-in-law’ already had a enough terror attached to it. And then the soap operas went a mile ahead and added some extra layers of make-up, some larger than life bindis, heavy ghunghats, illogical rituals and strict rules to them, and make the concept of mother-in-law a forbidden one in our minds. Well, if girls like me are single today, it’s just because we don’t want to deal with a Ramola Sikand chiseling my headstone day in and day out. Worst, we also have some mouth-stitched-to-death weaklings who could neither add some value to their own lives nor helping the newly wed brides through her struggles in any way. But honestly folks, these overtly dramatic or ludicrously toothless moms-in-law have outlived their lives on the Indian television. ‘Cause you have these super supportive and cool moms-in-law who can give you a reason to tie the knot.
Maya Sarabhai – Maya Sarabhai in Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai was perhaps the coolest mom-in-law Indian television has ever featured. Yes, she did have her tit-bits with Monisha and not one episode ended without having her saying ‘That’s so middle class, Monisha.’ But fess it up guys, you loved Maya Sarabhai. For all we know she was the least scheming of any other character in the soap operas. I guess, conspiring against the daughter-in-law would be just too middle class for Maya’s standards. I would marry if I get a cool and at the same time ‘hot’ mom-in-law sporting an off-shoulder blouse any day.
Kalyani Devi – When Balika Vadhu hit the screen it made us cringe out of fear for little Anandi and the outrage she had to go through at the hands of Dadi sa. But this character has changed and evolved through the years. From the woman who bought an 18 year old girl and forced her into marrying her 50 year old son, she has progressed into the one who got the same daughter-in-law remarried to a suitable groom after her son’s demise. But the change in her viewpoint didn’t cripple her power, she still retains a lot of command and strength. Having accepted Ganga for who she was, and encouraging her to pursue a career, she is that elderly character that every household needs.Dolly Walia – I guess by now you all know that Sumit Sambhal Lega is basically a weak remake of the hit American sit-com of Everybody Loves Raymond. And if you think the comedy is doing good, you might have not watched a single episode of ELR. Having said that, Dolly Walia is certainly one adorable mom-in-law you can’t hate even if your life depended on it. Sure, she interferes a lot and criticizes Maya’s cooking, but all that is in a good spirit. One thing is certain, she doesn’t mean any damage to Sumit and Maya’s matrimony like the many over-the-top sasumas of the soap opera planet.Devaki Verma– One of the best memories of my childhood was Tu Tu Main Main. It’s weird that this comedy was based on the sweet and sour relationship between a middle class mother-in-aw and her daughter-in-law, yet we had hopelessly fallen in love with both the characters. They fought in every single episode, but we enjoyed those fights so much that we’d rather have a few of those in our lives. For all we know, the exterior of Devaki and Radha’s relation had cracks all over , but the base was rock solid. In fact so solid that in one of the episodes, Devaki Verma went to the extent of turning down the opportunity of playing Salman Khan’s mother in a movie and chose to look after her ailing daughter-in-law. That episode had seriously gotten me all teary eyed.
Even beyond the television, the average mothers-in-law is no more the one who lives to boss around her daughter-in-law, conspires to make her life a burning hell and limit her movement to the household chores. MIL these days are outgoing and love to chill with their families. Modernity has hit the minds of the 21st century Indian mom-in-law too, which has changed their equation with the daughter-in-law for good.
Image Source: All images are video grabs from videos.