Dina Pathak – The Multifaceted Doyenne Of Hindi Cinema
In Indian cinema, there are a few films where the character roles become as popular as the lead roles, except the comedians. Every decade excluding 90s and early 2000s has a strong footprint left by the character artists in Indian cinema and when we talk about such character artists, one name seamlessly cascades down to our mind – Dina Pathak – Arguably the Doyen of character roles in Indian Cinema, who has performed the most powerful and graceful character roles in Indian Cinema, starting from late 60s to early 2000s.
Dina Pathak has essayed variety of roles with natural ease and elan. She has left her mark in the industry with notable performances in Saccha Jhoota, Dream Girl, Umrao Jaan, Prem Rog, Golmaal, Mausam, Pardes, the list is huge.
Born on 4 March 1922 in Amreli, Gujarat as Dina Gandhi, she took keen interest in acting and started acting in plays since her childhood. She joined the Indian National Theatre as an actress at very young age. While studying in Bombay, she became in student activism. In the ’40s Dina Pathak was a founder-member of the Indian People’s Theatre Association, Bombay.
While the current generation may know her as the mother of Supriya and Ratna Pathak, she has essayed multiple types of roles – mother, devote wife, Matriarch head, courtesan etc. and has left her mark with incredible performances in Indian Cinema.
In her character of courtesan head as Gangu Rani in Gulzar’s Mausam, she gave remarkable performance opposite to the ace actors such as Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila Tagore. Her most memorable – Mrs. Shirivastava from Golmaal, the role she carried with such an ease and inimitably well. Who can forget her warm and affectionate, yet strict grandma roles in 90s and early 2000s. I still remember her final matriarchal dialogue in 1997 movie Pardes when she confronts with Amrish Puri.
Main poochhti hun Kishorilal, jis sagar ki ganga us sagar mein jaaye, jahan sur sangam na taal mile, us pardes bhala kyun jaaye?
Let us remember her by below songs of her, on her 16th death anniversary today.
1. Hari din to bita sham hui (Kitaab) – Probably the only solo song picturized on her, with a soothing voice of Raajkumari, she has essayed the role of a grandmother perfectly in this Gulzar Classic.
2. Saare Niyam Tod Do (Khoobsurat) – The Strict, yet caring matriarch of the family, Mrs. Nirmala Gupta. She is mocked by Rekha in her absence through this song. Still remember her quote from the movie– Koi bhi azaadi bina apne niyamon ke poori nahin hoti, aur issi ko discipline kehte hai
3. Raghuvar tum ko meri laaj (Ankahi) – As a doting mother to Amol Palekar and devoted wife to Shriram Lagoo, which was a stereotype role then, she even made a difference in this Amol Palekar directed movie.
4. Jab deep jale aana (Chitchor) – As a worrying sanskari mother to Zarina Wahab, again a stereotype role, but done with a Dina Pathak stamp.
5. Rajasthani Folk Song Garba (Mirch Masala) – As an old village woman who always gives free but relevant advice to other woman, with the quotes like Izzat Ameeronka Shauk Hai
6. Bansi Bajegi, Radha Nachegi (Saudagar) – As Dilip Kumar’s sister and Deepti Naval’s confidante, she is again a typical 90s head woman in Saudagar.
7. Meethe bol bole (Kinara) – Mother of blind Hema Malin, she has played a role of a strong & caring mother who stands by her daughter but also wants her to come out of her past.
8. Raagmala (Umrao Jaan) – As a courtesan Hussaini, her second courtesan role, but this time a royal one.
9. Mumbai Mumbai (Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho) – As Mrs. Mohan Joshi, always supportive and devoted to her suffering husband, Bhishm Sahni. She always stood with her husband till the end. This song doesn’t feature her, but it gives the essence of the subject matter of the movie.
10. Mile sur mera tumhara (Doordarshan) – She appears for a line here with her costars from Tamas – Om Puri, Deepa Saahi & Bhisham Sahni – “Sur ka dariya bahke saagar mein mile, Badlaan da roop leike, Barsane haule haule”
11. Mere chehreme chupa hai (Naram Garam) – This touching song picturised on Kiran Vair. Dina Pathak as a verbose mother in law to our very own Mr. Bhavani Shankar. She also plays a grandmother to Kiran Vairale.
12. Golmaal hai bhai sab (Golmaal) – The inimitable and unforgettable Mrs. Srivastava. Her Evergreen performance. Though she doesn’t appear in this song, it would have been injustice if this song is not mentioned for her.