Reema Lahoo brought a certain oomph to playing mother on screen. Before her, vetran Nirupa Roy Symbolised ‘Mother India’ through her stoic, long-suffering and sacrificing portrayals.
But when Reema Lagoo started playing mother, she brought the young matriarch in vogue. She was the cusp between modern and seemed much in touch with a liberal India slowly thawing towards globalization. It helped that she was just a decade older to stars like Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Sridevi, Juhi chawla and Maduri Dixit, whereby she could strike a playful camaraderie withe her screen children.
We remember her for being cool with the ‘choices’ of her children, supporting them and being a gentle confidante to their anguish. Reema started her career in Marathi theatre. Being the daughter of acclaimed actress Mandakni Bhadbade, it was the logical step for her. She made her mark in popular plays like Jhale Mokle Akash, To Ek Shan, Savita Damodar Paranjpe and Purush. She came for a lot of critical acclaim in the latter. It’s said her role of woman, who takes on her rapist, brought theatre audiences to a standstill.
Best Rolles of Reema Lagoo
MAIN PYAR KIYA
She Played Salman Khan’s mother who overlooked his naughtiness as she recognised his inner goodness in the Rajshri Romance.
HUM APPKE HAI KOON…!
She played the beautiful and sporting samdhan in Sooraj Barjatys’s tale of joint families and grand weddings. Her easy camaraderie with Alok Nath was one of the highlight of the film.
HUM SAATH SAATH HAI
She played a mother, who is swayed by her emotions to disown her stepson, only to realise her mistake towards the end.
She played a woman firmly believing in righteousness who doesn’y flinch from killing her own son in Mehesh Manjrekar’s dark drama.
She forayed into Marathi cinema with the film Sinhasan (1979), a critique on Maharashtrian politics directed by Jabbar Patel and written by Vijay Tendulkar. Her other critically acclaimed Marathi films include Reshamganth (2002) and Janma (2011). She came to be recognised in Hindi films primarily through her ‘mother’ roles. Her good looks and youthful exuberance got her tagged as a well-groomed mom when she appeared as Juhi Chawla’s mother Qayamat she Qayamat Tak (1988). Playing Salman khan’s mother in Maine Pyar Kiya, a year later, further sealed that image. She was the most preferred screen mother after that, cementing her place in film after film including Aashiqui (1990), Saajan (1991) all successful at the box office.
She acted in the crime thriller Gumrah (1993) as Sridevi’s mother, in Jai Kishen (1994) as Akshay Kumar’s mother and in Rangeela (1995) as Urmila Matondkar’s mother. Her most remarkable roles during the 90’s was playing Ajay Devgan’s mother in Dilwale (1994), Sanjay Dutt’s stoic mothe in Vaastav(1990), Madhuri Dixit’s mom in Hum Aapke Hai Koun….!, Kajol’s in kuch kuch hota hai (1998) and SRK’s in Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003).
She did play other characters, like in the controversial film Rihaee (1988) or that of a ruthless matriarch of a business family in Yeh dillagi (1994). She was a popular actor on television too, being part of hit series like Khandaan and the comedies Shrimaan Shrimati and Tu Tu Main Main.
She was married to Marathi actor Vivek Lagoo and the couple have a daughter Mrunmayee Lagoo. She divorced her husband a few years later. Mrunmayee is a popular actress in Marathi films and TV.Reema was admitted to Kokilaben Dhirubhi Ambani Hospital in Mumbai at 1 am on May 18, 2017 after she complained of chest pain. She died two hours later from cardiac arrest. Reema was only 59. she didn’t have any major health issues and her sudden demise was shocking indeed to family and friends. She may have gone but will forever remain in the hearts of cinegoers as the changing and beautiful face of the Indian screen mother.