In the family-values mores of Indian popular film, maternal love is the emotional constant: the hearth that warms the hero. And the Mother of all Mothers was Leela Chitnis, who died last week at 91. Born in Karnataka, she was already a young mother of four when she began her film career in 1935. In her first bloom of beauty, she brought a natural dignity and a naturalist acting style to love stories with Master Vinayak and Ashok Kumar. Chitnis had the art of suffering radiantly: under arched eyebrows, her large, luminous eyes could hold glistening tears seemingly for hours on...

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