MIL-DIL relationships: The relationship between a mother in law and daughter in law can often mean one of constant disagreements, tussles and competitions.
But at the same time, it can also be one of love and friendship. When we think of a Bollywood mothers-in-law, we are mostly reminded of the “evil” Lalita Pawar. She was always the one to plot and scheme against her daughter-in-law. Such mothers-in-law might or might not exist anymore but Bollywood’s presentation of mothers-in-law as being “dark” has seen a spin in the recent times. The MIL-DIL relationships we see in movies now might not be “perfect” but they are surely realistic.
Here are 5 movies with realistic MIL-DIL relationships
The MIL-DIL relationship between Amrita and Sulakshna is what every woman deserves. Not for a moment do we find Sulakshana dominating Amrita, like other stereotypical mothers-in-law. Nor does she try to poison her son Vikram against his wife. They share a congenial and harmonious relationship. But when Vikram slaps Amrita, Sulakshana doesn’t blame him, instead wants Amrita to forget everything and move ahead. On a later occasion, when Amrita points out how no one asked her if she was okay, Sulakshana understands her fault. She apologises for the family’s mistake and acknowledges their ingrained misogyny. She admits that Amrita is doing the correct thing by standing up for herself.
2. Vicky Donor
Vicky’s mother Dolly Ahluwalia and his grandmother, referred to as Biji share a progressive MIL-DIL relationship. In a scene we find the women sharing drinks and having a heartfelt conversation. This is something very rare, particularly if we take into consideration the generation presented here. As an elderly woman, Biji seems to be ahead of her time and this is seen more than once in the movie. A fine example would be the scene where Dolly finds it difficult to admit that Vicky is a sperm donor but Biji is the one to explain her how he has served a noble purpose by helping the childless couples bear children.
3. Badhai Ho
For a major portion of the movie Durga and her daughter-in-law Priyamvada are a typical saans-bahu duo. Durga tries to dominate over her son Jeetu and quarrels with Priyamvada all the time, throwing taunts at her. Priyamvada’s ‘late’ pregnancy shocks and upsets her just like everyone else in the family. But she stands up for Priyamvada when her relatives ridicule her for bearing a child at such an old age. She defends her for her dutifulness and makes them realise how selfish and mean they are being towards her. This bitter-sweet relationship between them is nothing but endearing.
4. Two States
We don’t get to see the Kavita Malhotra as the mother-in-law in the movie. But the way she treats Ananya because she comes from a different culture and cannot cook is what women commonly face in inter-faith marriages. She repeatedly taunts Ananya and tries to separate Krish from her. However, by the time the movie reaches its end, we have Krish and Ananya happily married with the approval of their respective families. This once again brings out that we can’t categorise the relationship of a woman with her mother-in-law as ‘black’ or ‘white’, there is always a ‘grey’ area.
5. Kal Ho Na Ho
In 2021, Kal Ho Na Ho appears to be a dated movie with casual sexism and homophobia, which we would not like to watch anymore. But we cannot leave behind the fact that it portrayed the dynamics of the relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law in a nuanced way. There is always a tension between Jennifer and Lajjo because the latter believes that the former’s adoption of Gia led to her son’s suicide. Their relationship continues to be a complex one until Gia’s identity is revealed. In reality, it was Lajjo’s son who had fathered Gia but with a different woman. Jennifer adopted her when her mother refused to accept her. Unable to bear the guilt, Gia’s father died by suicide. We are all moved to tears when we see Lajjo reconciling with Jennifer and Gia on leaning the truth.