Popular Indian cinema usually portrays heroes in larger-than-life roles but there are also films that show you that men can mentor, nurture and express gentleness. Here is our pick of a few such films on the occasion of Father’s Day, that remind us of the lasting impact that a father figure can have on our life. This Father’s Day tune into such stories that celebrate the crucial role fathers play in the lives of their children by providing unconditional love, warmth, comfort, inspiration and guidance.
The Lion King
This 1994 animated classic depicts with great emotional depth how even after his death, the legacy of the formidable Mufasa continued to inspire his cub Simba. Though initially, overwhelmed by grief, Simba flees into exile but soon the support of his friend Nala, and his shaman Rafiki, help him to take his rightful place in the circle of life. He not only avenges his father’s murder but also brings back peace to a polarised animal kingdom. The lessons taught by Mufasa are relevant not just for Simba but also for the audience as they remind us to nurture our relationships, have a broader vision of life and to take well-measured decisions that benefit everyone. The film also shows that a father’s love outlives loss, grief and death. The Lion King is streaming on Disney + Hotstar and its sterling voice cast includes the likes of Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Rowan Atkinson and Whoopi Goldberg.
Billy Elliot: The Musical
This Zee Theatre offering revolves around Billy Elliot, a young boy growing up in Everington, a fictional mining town in County Durham, England. Billy lives with his widowed coal miner father Jackie, older brother Tony and maternal grandmother. In this rather bleak and ordinary existence, where his father expects him to learn boxing, Billy stumbles upon ballet dancing and falls in love with it. Jackie is a conventional, stern father who thinks that Billy’s passion for dancing will make people think that he is gay. Billy however continues to learn ballet and his unwavering faith in his dream finally wins not just the approval of his father but the support of his town. The musical, while depicting how a generation gap can make it hard for a father and son to communicate, also shows that finally, love can bridge any distance. The moment when Billy performs the lead in Swan Lake while his father and brother watch in wonder, evokes loud cheers from the audience every single time. Billy Elliot: The Musical is directed by Stephen Daldry and Brett Sullivan and stars Elliot Hanna, Ruthie Henshall and Deka Walmsley. It is being screened on TataPlay Theatre.
This story is about a father who goes to extreme lengths to make sure that his girls are second to none. This multi-award-winning, biographical sports drama, is based on a true story about former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat who decided to train his daughters to win the accolades that he could not for India. Aamir Khan steers the film with remarkable gravitas while Geeta Phogat is played by Fatima Sana Shaikh and Babita Kumari is portrayed by Sanya Malhotra. Initially, Mahavir faces sarcasm and taunts from society and resistance even from his daughters and wife but then his determination, grit, and faith in his daughters, lead them to conquer international arenas. Geeta in fact brings home India’s first-ever Commonwealth gold medal in wrestling. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, the film was produced by Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao and is streaming on Netflix.
This Is Us
This Is Us, streaming now on Disney + Hotstar is a family drama that provides rich insights into parenting and how fatherhood does not need to be hyper masculine and can be gentle and emotionally nurturing. Jack and Rebecca Pearson are at the heart of the story as they raise three children Kevin, Kate and Randall through various challenges including the racism that Randall, their African-American adopted child faces while growing up. The story takes a turn when Jack dies suddenly post a devastating fire that burns the family home to ground. The story of how this loss impacts the family and how Jack’s love continues to inspire his children to deal with life’s many challenges spans across six seasons that make you laugh, cry, learn and grow. The much-acclaimed show stars Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson and others.
In this Yoodlee production, a 70-year-old man and an eight-year-old boy are not bonded by blood, but by love. The 2019 Tamil comedy is set in a village in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu. The protagonist Karuppu Durai (Mu Ramaswamy) lies in a coma and his relatives including his children decide that euthanasia is the best option under the circumstances. The old man regains consciousness and runs away from his family only to meet an orphan, Kutty (Naga Vishal) – a child full of energy and zest. They develop a special bond and Kutty begins to call him KD and then goes on to tick all the wishes on the old man’s list. The grandfather rediscovers the child in him through Kutty and also becomes a father figure Kutty never had. The poignant visual treat delves deeply into human emotions and shows us the beauty of relationships that are not driven by selfishness but by mutual concern and care. The Madhumita directorial won a Jury Award at Singapore South Asian Film Festival and is available on Amazon Prime.
With superlative production quality and a well-woven storyline, Yoodlee’s ‘Hamid’, is the adaptation of an Urdu play, Phone No. 786 and is set against the backdrop of Kashmir. After the tragic disappearance of his father (Sumit Kaul), the little hero of the movie Hamid (Talha Arshad Reshi) dials random combinations of numbers to call God and ask about his whereabouts. One day, a CRPF Jawan (Vikas Kumar) answers the call and an emotional bond develops between the two. The soldier is longing to be with his eight-month-old daughter and even in the absence of any tangible reason to connect, the two begin to bring healing and solace to each other. Hamid won the National Award for the Best Feature film in Urdu and is streaming on Netflix.
The Sound of Music
At the heart of this 1965 classic movie, is a simple story of joyful parenting where a stern father learns that more than discipline, his children need his time and attention. Embittered by the loss of his wife, Captain Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) treats his children like military cadets and reprimands them if they break his impossible to follow rules. He spends little or no time with them. It is when a new governess, the spirited Maria (Julie Andrews) stands up to him and brings playfulness, music and joy back in the life of the children, that he melts and not only rediscovers his fondness for singing but also becomes the loving father his children always craved for. In a moment of acute crisis, he is calm, protective and brave and guides his family out of Austria after the Nazi invasion. You can catch The Sound of Music Live!, a star-studded live production brought to India by Zee Theatre. Now playing on TataPlay Theatre, this version stars multiple Grammy winning Carrie Underwood, as Maria along with a stellar cast.
This 2021 biographical sports drama film stars Will Smith as Richard Williams, the father and coach of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams. Richard became a highly controversial figure in the tennis circuit when Venus and Serena were growing up because he pushed them sometimes too hard to excel and also controlled their careers unapologetically. Along with his wife Brandy, he raised a family of three stepdaughters, and Venus and Serena like a man on a mission. From organising the routines of his daughters to making sure they never lost sight of their goals, he often went too far but is today recognised as the force behind their success stories. He taught his girls that success is not incidental but has to be willed into existence and that is why he made a plan for them even before they were born. He coached them daily while holding two jobs and when the time came, found the coaches who would polish their raw talent to a sparkle. The film is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
This 2020 sequel to the 2017 hit Hindi Medium was the final film of legendary actor Irrfan and portrays the depth of a father-daughter relationship. It movingly depicts how far a father can go to support his daughter’s dream of studying abroad even though his ambitions have never grown beyond his small sweet shop in Udaipur. Irrfan plays the widower Champak Ghasiteram Bansal, while his daughter Tarika is played by Radhika Madan. Tarika gets a scholarship to study at a London university, but fate intervenes and Champak must find a way to fund her education. The relationship between the father and daughter is also tested in this journey full of twists and turns but finally, they realise how to hold on to what matters most to them. A sense of home and each other. The Maddock Films production was directed by Homi Adajania and is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
This 2015 Shoojit Sarkar film portrays a not-so amicable and yet enduring relationship between a father and a daughter. This slice-of-the-life story revolves around a cantankerous and controlling patriarch, 70-year-old Bhashkor Banerjee and his wilful daughter Piku (Deepika Padukone) who loves him but finds it difficult to deal with his eccentricities which include constant discussions about his bowel movements. They fight often over big and small things but are inseparable even though Bhashkor often interferes in Piku’s love life and doesn’t want her to marry any of her suitors. He even introduces her to a prospective partner as a financially, emotionally, and a sexually independent 30-year-old woman. Then during a long road trip, Piku bonds tenuously with Rana (Irrfan) the owner of a taxi service and this creates even more stress between the father and daughter. The heart-warming film was produced by N P Singh, Ronnie Lahiri, and Sneha Rajani and can be seen on SonyLiv.
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