Prominent theatre personality and film and television actress Ratna Pathak Shah turns a year older today. She is well-known for her successful sitcoms – Idhar Udhar and Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. Her work in films began with Shyam Benegal in the critically acclaimed Mandi. She has also appeared in films from Ketan Shah and Merchant Ivory Productions. On the occasion of her birthday, we take a look at five of her prominent film roles.
1. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (2008): This is the film that most people associate Ratna Pathak Shah with. She plays the character of Savitri Singh Rathore, the mother of the male lead Jai, played by Imran Khan. Her altercations with Paresh Rawal’s Inspector P.K. Waghmare and the picture of her dead husband Amar (Naseeruddin Shah) are hilarious and show off her seasoned acting chops.
2. Kapoor & Sons (2016): The actress juggles the roles of a wife, mother and daughter-in-law with absolute ease. It is difficult to imagine anyone else playing the role of Sunita. Scenes where she projects her frustrations at her husband’s infidelity, the conflict between her sons, her eldest son’s sexuality or her father-in-law’s mischievous desires, appear faultless.
3. Nil Battey Sannata (2016): She plays the role of Dr Diwan, in whose house, the lead Character of Chanda Sahay (Swara Bhaskar) works as a maid. Dr Diwan convinces Chanda to enrol in the 10th class so that she can teach the latter’s daughter, Apu (Ria Shukla) on her own rather than depend on a private tutor.
4. Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016): The film tells the story of four repressed and abused women and their desire to be loved and be free. Shah plays a 55-year old widow named Usha, who pines for love and tries to win the heart of a much younger swimming instructor (Jagat Singh Solanki).
5. Unpaused (2020): This five-story anthology film is about characters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The segment Chand Mubarak deals with an elderly woman (Shah) and her relationship with a younger auto-rickshaw driver named Rafique (Shardul Bharadwaj).