Reema Lagoo – And Childhood Memories

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On Thursday morning, I looked at my mobile mundanely to go through the morning news feed.

‘Reema Lagoo dead after suffering cardiac arrest. She was 59!

What? She did not have any serious illnesses that we knew of. She was not even a senior citizen technically. How could she die?

As a kid, (like most kids born in late 80s), I was in love with Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. I was around six when the movie was released. I had already watched it thrice in the theatre. At that time, there were only single screen theatres, the impact being much more grand. My relatives who were visiting from a small town wanted to watch Hum Aapke Hain Kaun in the ‘bigger city.’ My parents and sister wanted to watch Bombay. It was no dilemma for me. I joined my relatives to watch my favourite movie for the fourth time. That was a bold step for a clingy six year old – to choose to be away from parents for three hours.

But how could I not? When I loved all the characters in the movie. They all dripped of nobility. Especially, the graceful Reema Lagoo. She was part of two of the most entertaining comedy shows at that time, ‘Tu tu main main’ and ‘Shrimaan Shrimati’. It was a different time when comedy was not about cracking perverted jokes, or making fun
of every other famous person.

In the interval, I had asked my uncle to get me Thums Up, (in those glass bottles), and chips. Today, I can’t imagine drinking cold drinks. I don’t even have them occasionally. And I could eat chips in a theatre, without using sanitizer? It was an innocent, less complicated, carefree time.

I remember watching an interview of Reema Lagoo. I think it may have been on Shekhar Suman’s show. He asked her, “How can a mother be so beautiful.” She had replied that when she was offered Maine Pyaar Kiya, she took it up because it was a good role. She had no idea that she would be typecast in mother roles forever. She added that once she was asked to play ‘Dharamji’s mother’ to which they both had a hearty laugh.

I used to take things at face value. It never occurred to me that in Bollywood, actors could actually not be the age they were depicted. I asked my mother, why couldn’t she play Dharmendra’s mother. My mother told me that she is very young. She is not even old enough to play Salman Khan’s mother. I was shocked! How could something possibly be unrealistic in my perfect movie?

When I heard that Reema Lagoo passed away, I felt like all the good things I associated with my childhood are gone, one by one. Her death has bereaved us of not just a great actor, but of an era. For me, that era represented values, and everything good and positive. How will watching her movies ever be the same again? She played mother to people not so young, yet she did not live to see the age that she played? It seems so unfair.

I find it difficult to say things like ‘May her soul rest in peace’. But what I do want to say is that she led a blissful life. Such a timeless beauty with a kind face and exceptional talent, that we all loved her as if we knew her, and she were our very own. We will truly miss her.

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