June 20 is the day when we celebrate fatherhood and acknowledge the important role that fathers play in shaping our lives. Here is our pick of the films that will remind you of the warm and caring paternal presence in your life.
This 2019 Yoodlee production was critically acclaimed for refreshingly humanising a patriarch rather than glorifying him as a proverbial pillar of strength. There is an inner child within our 70-something protagonist Karuppu Durai (Mu Ramaswamy) who wakes up from a long illness and escapes from his home and children who are all set to euthanize him. The joy he feels when an eight-year-old wisecracker Kutty (Nagavishal in a National award-winning role) bonds with him, shows us how wrong we are when we look at old age as an ending rather than a beginning of new adventures. Directed with wit and sensitivity by Madhumita, this engaging Tamil film is a heart-warming and eye-opening reflection on relationships, life and death. It is an affirmation that age does not extinguish the desire to fulfil dormant ambitions and should not prevent anyone from enjoying life's little and big pleasures.
2. Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl
This 2020 Dharma production, essayed a father’s support for his daughter beautifully in a world where patriarchal attitudes more often than not snuff out the dreams and ambitions of young women. The Sharan Sharma directorial based on the life of Gunjan Saxena, one of the first Indian female air-force pilots in combat, had a sterling performance by Pankaj Tripathi who plays the wind beneath his daughter Gunjan’s (Janhvi Kapoor ) wings. Calm, soft-spoken, wise and nurturing, he stands up to his wife and son to encourage Gunjan to soar and proves that fathers too can play an important role in empowering their daughters.
This 2019 Yoodlee production is a moving story about what happens when a loving father and husband goes missing. How can a young child make sense of his absence? How can he find solace in a world that has denied him the protection and warmth of a father figure? Will fate intervene? How will he help heal his grieving mother? This Aijaz Khan directorial starring the luminous Rasika Duggal, Vikas Kumar and young Talha Arshad Reshi in a national award-winning role is a stirring adaptation of the play 'Phone No. 786' by Mohd. Amin Bhat. Its heartbreaking and yet uplifting narrative reminds us of the unaddressed pain of bereaved children when tragedy deprives them of the sheltering presence of a father figure.
This sweet and salty 2015 Shoojit Sarkar directorial captured the highs and lows of a co-dependent relationship between a hypochondriac father and his spunky daughter. There is a certain role reversal here as the father monopolises the attention of his daughter while she has to parent his mood swings, complaints and bouts of anxiety about little and big things. The two constantly fight, bicker and talk over each other but also share a bond that nothing and nobody can weaken. Produced by N. P. Singh, Ronnie Lahiri and Sneha Rajani, the film reminds the audience that there will come a time when a parent who has always been the source of strength will grow older, weaker and will need care, time, patience and unconditional love. The film starred Deepika Padukone in the titular role along with Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan.
5. Hindi Medium
This 2017 Saket Chaudhary directorial was a good-natured critique of the irrational ambitions of parents especially when it comes to the education of their children. The voice of reason in this film belongs to Raam Batra, the eternally caring husband and father who is happy with the success of his boutique in Chandni Chowk and content with his family life. However, egged by his wife’s desire to admit their daughter to a prestigious school, he is willing to go through any amount of stress till he can no longer ignore the truth. The film starred the effortlessly brilliant Irrfan Khan with Saba Qamar, Deepak Dobriyal and Dishita Sehgal and commented on not just the warped education system but how unhealthy the obsession to keep up appearances can be. The film was produced by Dinesh Vijan and Bhushan Kumar.