Tribute

Tribute: Reema Lagoo’s best mom moments

The stage, television and film actress has died in Mumbai at the age of 59.

Reema Lagoo (1958-2017) has routinely been described as “Bollywood’s favourite mom” in the tributes that flowed after the news of her death on May 18. She was 59, and died after a cardiac arrest in Mumbai. She is survived by her daughter, Mrunmayee Lagoo.

Lagoo was a consummate actress whose career spanned theatre, television and cinema and different genres, but she will be best known for playing the matriarch of numerous stars over the decades.

Born Nayan Bhadbhade in Pune in 1958, she began acting on the stage while in school. Apart from appearing in plays, she began acting in Marathi and Hindi arthouse films in the 1970s, such as Jabbar Patel’s Sinhasan (1979), in which she plays the ambitious daughter-in-law of a state minister (Shriram Lagoo, no relation).

Her noteworthy films in the 1980s include Govind Nihalani’s Aakrosh and Shyam Benegal’s Kalyug. She was also part of the cast of the first Indian television soap, Khandaan. In 1988, she played two different kinds of mothers: sexually assertive in Rihaee, and convention bound in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.

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Aakrosh (1980).

The mother tag that was stuck on Lagoo yielded her nationwide fame in Sooraj Barjatya’s blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989. She repeated the feat in Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994).

Among Lagoo’s most popular TV shows were Shriman Shrimati (1994) and Tu Tu Main Main (1994), both of which showcased her talent for comedy.

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Tu Tu Main Main.

Lagoo kept playing the matriarch, and some roles were better remembered than others, such as in Ram Gopal Varma’s Rangeela. Lagoo is “Mili ki maa”, the mother of the back-up dancer (Urmila Matondkar) who dreams of becoming a film star.

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Rangeela (1995).

On the screen, Lagoo could be as stern as she was loving. In Qaid Mein Hai Bulbul (1992), she plays the heroine’s obdurate mother, who refuses to let her marry her sweetheart.

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Qaid Mein Hai Bulbul (1992).

Also among her best-known films is Mahesh Manjrekar’s crime drama Vaastav (1999), in which she plays the mother of Sanjay Dutt’s criminal. She was paired with Shivaji Satam in that movie, and she reunited with him for Manjrekar’s Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai (2000) and Tera Mera Saath Rahen (2001). She plays Jijabai in Manjrekar’s Marathi-language Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy (2009).

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Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai (2000).

Lagoo continued to appear in Marathi films alongside Hindi productions. In Gajendra Ahire’s Sail (2006), she is the Home Minister of Maharashtra who meets her estranged husband (Mohan Joshi) after years.

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Sail (2006).

In a hilarious episode from the YouTube comedy series Casting Couch with Nipun & Aney, Lagoo cleared the air on being “Salman Khan’s mother”.

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Casting Couch with Amey & Nipun: Reema Lagoo episode.

Several film celebrities paid tribute to Lagoo on Twitter. They lauded her off-screen charm as well her on-screen talent.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.