So far, Bollywood has shown us numerous shades of fatherhood, some of which are relatable and others that are completely unbelievable. Fathers in Hindi cinema have made a long journey from wrathful villains to feminist dads.
With a surge in the depiction of new-age parenting, we got to see hands-on dads, divorced yet doting fathers, and not-so-perfect fathers. And here’s a look at some of these characters and their connections with their kids.
1. Sharmaji Namkeen
Sharmaji Namkeen, Rishi Kapoor’s swan song, is mostly about life after retirement, but it also explores the bond between a single dad and his children. The film looks into the father’s individuality, as well as his space away from his family, to whom he has committed almost his lifetime. After a long time in Bollywood, we finally got to see a perfect depiction of single fatherhood with this comedy-drama.
Shoojit Sircar’s Piku, starring Amitabh Bachchan as Bhaskor Banerjee, gave us a truly modern dad that our modern cinema has always craved. The staunch feminist father, who rejects society’s outmoded notion of placing women in boxes, is the parent every daughter deserves.
3. Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui
Giving the main character an ally in her father was one of the few things the trans-inclusive movie got right. Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui showed us a father who embraces his daughter’s gender identity and keeps her above everything— his gender beliefs, society, and even his entire family.
4. Angrezi Medium
Champak Bansal, Irrfan’s character in Angrezi Medium, altered gender boundaries by acting as both a mother and a father figure to his daughter. He fights against all odds, recognising his daughter’s goal of pursuing higher education overseas. As a father, he acted as a shield between his daughter’s dreams and society’s patriarchal conventions.
Mahavir Singh Phogat, played by Aamir Khan, overcomes his prejudice against a girl child and acknowledges that his children are no less. He not only stood by his daughters as they embark on an unconventional path, but also shared their ups and downs.
6. Wake up Sid
Wake Up Sid was about finding one’s individuality as much as it was about the relationship we have with our family. The coming-of-age film explored the relationship between a father and his son, who have led very different lives. It also discussed a child’s load of expectations and parents’ yearning to connect with their children.
7. Kapoor and Sons
Kapoor and Sons may still be viewed as a one-of-a-kind film for depicting a dysfunctional yet realistic family. Rajat Kapoor, who plays the father, is caught cheating on his wife by his son and is actually never put on a pedestal. For once, the film did not depict a parent as a “saint”, but rather a human like any of us.
8. My Name Is Khan
In Bollywood films, we rarely see characters with disabilities, but Rizvan Khan in My Name Is Khan is shown as a doting father with autism. Not only did the film debunk the notion that disabled parents are incompetent, but it also depicted a kind and loving stepfather.
Masoom, a film that was much ahead of its time, looks at a father’s relationship with his kid born out of wedlock. As Naseeruddin Shah’s character attempts to undo the damage and make amends for being a remorseful husband and an unavailable father, we see a completely different shade of fatherhood.
10. Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
Sam in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna was among those ‘cool’ dads who have a life of their own and know the boundaries when it comes to their children’s lives. His character strikes the perfect balance between being available while giving absolute freedom.
Cheers to all the dads, trying to give their best out there.