As the world celebrates Mothers Day all across the globe, Anjali Barot took this tribute to the very next level. Starring in a short film O Maa, she has resonated with the feelings of every child. The film with its expressions of love and with its climaxes will give you some teary eyes and a heart full of gratitude this Mother's Day. Here’s an excerpt from the interview.
What is the film about?
A mother’s love knows no bounds. Her presence is akin to air. She’s truly the force behind all your learning and growth. She’s been there for you selflessly through thick and thin and welcomes you with her arms wide open in the good times and bad. If there’s one person who has silently pushed you to achieve your fullest potential, it’s her.
To her, you are her hero and that’s one source of positive motivation that you won’t find even in the best of self-help books. The power of this selfless love and a celebration of motherhood is what this film is about. The film beautifully stitches together various stages of a child’s journey. It depicts instances, where the mother has trodden the same path, hand in hand, and is perfect for the occasion of Mother’s Day.
What was the drive behind you choosing this role?
Nothing gives me a larger sense of gratification than being a part of projects that make a difference. One such venture was the campaign for Women’s Day with Gits which depicts the journey of Malti. A highly driven woman from a humble background, Malti shattered stereotypes to carve her own path to success. Another was a film I did the title ‘Methi Ke Laddu’ for a leading digital platform. This was a slice-of-life depiction of a mother-daughter relationship. Thus, when I was offered to be a part of ‘O Maa’, in one glance of the script, it was an instinctive and an instant ‘Yes!’. Being someone who comes from a close-knit family, also helped bring in the emotional frame of mind required as part of the film.
What are your thoughts about single parenting?
I consider myself to be truly blessed to have been raised by both my parents. However, I do have friends who have been raised by a single parent and I think it takes immense courage and strength to be in a situation like that. For both the child, as well as the parent, this is a challenging situation. My heart goes out to such families who have stood firm in the face of adversity and pulled it all off with a smile. Nothing takes away from the fact that it must truly be a challenge, one I will never fully comprehend. Having said that, I have immense respect for all those wonderful single parents who are a constant reminder of and true personification of selfless love.
In the patriarchal society we live in, do you think fathers can bridge the gaps?
Gone are the days where parental roles are confined to the father being the breadwinner and the mother being responsible for the chores. Increasingly today, we’re seeing these lines blur. Moreover, the change is seen at the grass-root level in the way we raise our children. So, it’s not so much a question about whether they ‘can’ or ‘cannot’.
I think eventually for us, our parents form one single entity and we don’t really see them as two distinct individuals. So, it’s a seamless transition for either to bridge the required gaps that may arise in the future. Fathers are our unsung heroes too. It’s so overwhelming to see so many single fathers raise their kids beautifully.
What is the message that the film gives out?
Simply put, the film is a gentle reminder to be grateful to your life’s biggest blessing. Sometimes I truly wonder how our parents can be so selfless. But I guess you would never know until you become one and that would be a beautiful realization in itself.
Are your thoughts on single parenting synonymous with the film?
Yes, they are and maybe that’s something that truly moved me to be a part of this film. It takes a brave soul to walk this path alone and raise a child single-handedly. And sometimes, the little gestures make the biggest difference in their lives.
Considering this film wasn’t shot in the usual ways you’re accustomed to, how was the experience?
Filming from home has its set of challenges and it took me over 12 hours to complete the shoot. However, what makes this one all the more special is that this was completely shot by my parents. From the lights, set-up, and camera-work, it was truly a touching experience to see their glittering eyes and enthusiasm throughout the day, in ensuring I deliver my best for this project. The film is more like...for a mother by a mother and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
Watch the film here and let it strum some strings in your heart this Mother’s Day!