13 comments on “The Meanest Mother-In-Law Ever!

  1. :-) For generations of Hindi film-watching Indians, Lalita Pawar was short hand for “evil mother-in-law”. People would actually talk about X or Y’s m-i-l as being as bad as Lalita Pawar! She did the evil m-i-l routine in a ton of family dramas in the 50s right through the 80s – the two that I remember are Neel Kamal (1968) and Shriman Shrimati (1982). And she was finally met her match in a feisty daughter-in-law (Reena Roy) in Sau Din Saas Ke (mother-in-law’s 100 days)!

  2. Thanks for the info, Bollyviewer. It seems that Lalita Pawar played the evil mother-in-law for ages! :) I now recall that it was she who played the evill mother-in-law to Padmini in one of my favorite underrated movies, Bindiya (1960), though she was really the evil stepmother-in-law since she was the Balraj Sahni character’s stepmother. (Wow, evil mother-in-law and evil stepmother at the same time!)

    (Hmm, where’s the writeup that I did on that one? Oh, yes, over here… https://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/bindiya-1960/ )

    By the way, I just looked up Sau Din Saas Ke, and it looks to me as though the beginning of that movie, where the mother-in-law is enraged by an inadquate dowry, must have been a parody of Dahej, which was made 30 years earlier! I haven’t sought after ’80s movies for a while, but this one looks quite amusing…

  3. Maybe we could have a competition to which is meanest mother-in-law in a hindi film?
    Know some real-life example that could give them a run for their money though…

  4. No mines allright, totally the opposite in fact, I sometimes have to argue with her cos she will want to let me have my way always!
    However, some friends and family, least said, better. If I wrote some of the stuff here, you would think I was making it up :(
    Of course, hardly any of them take lying down hindi film style, so it makes for some very tiring fireworks.

  5. Great idea to find the meanest in a film! I too heard from an Indian friend that “Lalita Pawar” is used to describe an evil mother in law. I love her! AN I want to see this film, got it queued up on Netflix now, especially after reading that she make Nadira look like a sweetheart by comparison in this film. I’ve seen her in about 5 films and always enjoy her nasty rolls. She was a mean aunt in Aania, taking family money to go watch Bollywood movies, leaving the children hungry. LOL. But look at what happened in real life to Lalita, lots of stuff to pull from and incorporate into her acting:

    “She acted in over 700 films in various languages. At the age of 25, she was slapped by film actor Bhagwan Dada for her mistake in a film shooting. Consequently, a nerve near her left eye burst. She received treatment for nearly three years but the damage was permanent. The event forced her to shift to character roles. Pawar’s first marriage with Ganpatrao Pawar developed a hitch when he took a fancy to her younger sister. Her second marriage with Rajkumar Gupta of Ambika studios, Mumbai, provided her with some much-needed companionship. She received the Filmfare award for the Best Character Artiste for her role in Anari, which got her a surfeit of offers. Her career was thrown out of gear in 1990 when she contracted cancer in the jaw. She was forced to undergo treatment of intensive radiation leading to weight loss, drain of energy and memorylapses. She then decided to shift to Pune for treatment.”


    BTW, my dad’s mother (don’t even like to bestow the word ‘grandma’ on her LOL) was a real Lalita Pawar. I think this is one reason I adore Hindi filums, because it reminds me of how some relatives act. Funny now that I think of it, since I haven’t associate with these people in years, but maybe THAT’S why I watch these film, because I miss them How warped is that?!? No, it’s really because I only like my dram in filmi form. :)

  6. Here’s another nice article on Lalita Pawar:

    ‘Lalita Pawar – The Mother of all mother-in-laws’

    “…but it was her enactment of wicked and tyrannical mother-in-law, which was most popular. Apart from this she gained prominence for her role of a most cruel, wicked and a cunning lady in a Marathi film titled Sant Sakhoo…”


  7. sitaji, thanks for the info. My collection of real-life scary mum-in-laws comes not only from india, but from europeans es well.
    Somehow, as I said before, having a daughter or son-in-law seems to bring out the worst in many people…towards that person, although cultural differences (i.e. separate households) do provide a certain degree of “protection”, sometimes!

    On the other hand, my own mother says that she had the world’s nicest possible parents-in-law, especially her mother-in-law. And they lived in an extended family unit, so it is possible!!

    I am going to think about the meanest mother-in-law scene from a hindi film.

  8. my aunt used to call her Lalita POWER! Power is/was equivalent to electricity, this synonymy arising from the frequent power cuts.

    Lalita Pawar was great! hard to find a meaner Mother-in-law. But I liked her saintly avatar as well.

    Like I told Dustedoff last time, I would have loved to meet her and gossip with her over chai and bajhiyaas.

    During my childhood, any man who was strict was called Hitler and a woman Lalita Pawar. Poor Lalita, put on par with the evil Hitler.

  9. Oh, well… It seems that Pran got it even worse, with people refusing to name their sons Pran for something like 20 years (so I’ve read). I wonder if there were any mothers named Lalita who felt compelled to change their names…

  10. No, I have at least two ladies in my family (in a larger sense) who are named lalita. You know, the surname makes a whole lot of difference.

  11. Gharana was another movie where she acted as the mean MIL. She also did some memorable roles like in the shammi kapoor starrer Professor where she plays the spinster aunt(or caretaker I forget) of the Heroine Kalpana who falls in love with the disguised Older Shammi Kapoor. Very nicely done by her. She was also very good as Shammi’s aristocratic
    Mom in Junglee.

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