Mimi Inspired Post: Indian Movies About Non-Biological Parents

Mimi is the same movie as English Babu Desi Mem, which itself was a remake of Zamane Ko Dikhane Hai. Sure, the details are different, but the same question of “is the better parent the non-biological one who loves the child, or the rich biological one who can give the child a good life?” is the same. And it is a remarkably common question in Indian film!

This is just a thought experiment, I’m gonna see how many I can come up with, you carry on in the comments if you think of others.

English Babu Desi Mem

Maternal aunt raises orphaned baby in a small town with no money, until paternal uncle shows up with wealth and power to take baby away.

Jaanwar

Gangster rescues baby from drowning, changes his life around to raise child, until baby’s rich parents show up to take him away.

Kya Kehna

Teen pregnancy, but will she choose the boy next door who supported her or the rich boy who is the baby’s biological father?

Chori Chori Chupke Chupke

Couple hires prostitute to sleep with husband and carry their child, but what if prostitute falls in love with them?

Bahubali

Bahubali has a loving adoptive mother, but also a biological Mom he doesn’t even know about.

9 thoughts on “Mimi Inspired Post: Indian Movies About Non-Biological Parents

  1. This was such a common theme in ’70s movies! And the situation can play out a few different ways. In “Parvarish,” Vinod Khanna’s character thinks that his real dad is a daku, so he grows up hating/rebelling against his policeman foster dad, who, given that it is a Desai movie, was actually his real dad all along. (The daku’s real kid is Amitabh, whom Policewallah Shammi adopts and whose foster parents set him out on a good path in life despite “bad blood;” it ends with Vinod getting the daku to surrender to Shammi and Amitabh arresting Vinod.) There’s also a whole storyline about the female leads’ lives have been screwed up due to lack of proper parenting, and they are sort of belatedly parented by Shammi and. . . IDK, whoever plays the wife. “Suhaag” is kind of the opposite, where the foster parent is the bad influence and we want the kid has to side with the birth parent. Amitabh’s character has been raised by creepy Jeevan but he is eventually reformed by being mothered by non-creepy Nirupa Roy, who, given that that one is ALSO a Desai movie, was totally his actual mom. I need to draw a chart to understand how everybody’s related in some of these ’70s movies, LOL. That one has kind of a similar set-up to “Waqt,” where Raaj Kumar is raised in the company of random criminals and has to decide whether to side with them or with the people who turn out to be his “actual” family. “Waqt” is more morally complex than the other two, though. Ahhh, “Waqt.”

    And even earlier is “Bombay Ka Babu,” where the alternative parents don’t come around until the main character is a grown man! We are told that Dev Anand went rotten largely because he didn’t have parents around to guide him as a kid. While hiding from gangsters, he cons a nice couple into thinking he’s their long-lost son. Eventually he decides to stay and actually be their son, even though that means not smooching Suchitra Sen ) :

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  2. There are movies galore about loving kids … and I think, it really is a mankind issue as ancient tales also deal with this subject. There are even stories where kids decide to grow up without adults (I told this to the kids who still are very responsive to the DilToPagalHai rain song). A kid may be interested in the biological parents (if it knows being adopted) when on the way of becoming an adult but before, what only counts, is the loving and caring for him/her. The emotional bond from the beginning shapes the future person. In K3G the huge picture in the London appartment shows it, in EnglishBabuDesiMem the uncle finally understands and feels the bond of love between aunt and nephew…

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  3. Like Shelomit said, literally every movie from the 70s is about this, quite a few from the 80s and 60s too. I really like the variety of outcomes. Look at Geeta Mera Naam where the good girl is with adopted parents but the parents are bad, yet the girl who stays with the nice mother becomes a criminal. Of the brothers, one is adopted by good parents and becomes a police officer, while the other is adopted by dacoits and becomes a dacoit. Then you have Gair Kanooni where everyone becomes a criminal simply because of being switched at birth. You never know what you’re going to get!

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  4. Ahhh, I have just woken up with the recollection of another example, one that you will not like > : ) I will put it because it represents another way these stories can work: when the possibility for affirmation of a family bond lies with the parent, not the child.

    In “Parampara,” Aamir is raised by his maama Anupam. Sunil (daada) considers him to be the banjari’s kid and therefore not a part of his family at all; Ashwini/Chhoti Maa, the dad’s second wife, DOES consider him part of the family even though she doesn’t get to raise him. When everybody is grown up and Aamir is in Ashwini’s life again, she gives him her blessing for the duel rather than her own son Saif. This is similar to the flavor of family drama “Trishul,” where it’s the whole rest of the bunch (maa, brother, sister), rather than the dad, who get to decide whether or not the “odd sibling out” can really belong to the family.

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  5. Still, the relation between child and adult depends on love, acceptation, care, understanding and respect…and I think, a key for that is communication (silent and/or through words and gestures). In my thinking, this should better never ever be a one-direction-way… doesn’t movies and books reflect the possibilities of relations between adults (parents) and children???

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  6. Yennai Arindhaal .. Ajith lives with the daughter of his dead lover although the father is alive
    Thalapathi .. the bio mum was a teen in the 50’s-60’s who left her child in a train
    Ente Mamattukkuttiyammakku/ En Bommukutty Ammavukku (Tamil remake)
    Couple adopts child after losing theirs and bio couple want it back

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