It’s Father’s Day today and while we celebrate the real-dads, here’s taking a look at some of the reel-dads too who’ve given us much to celebrate on the big screen. Right from Prithviraj Kapoor in Mughal-e-Azam (1960) to Nazir Hussain in Ram Aur Shyam (1967), Ashok Kumar in Aashirwad (1968), Balraj Sahni in Ek Phool Do Maali (1969),to Rajesh Khanna in Avatar (1983) and Amrit (1986), Naseeruddin Shah in Masoom (1982), Jackie Shroff in Kaash (1987), Alok Nath and Rajeev Verma in Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Amrish Puri in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Anupam Kher in Saaransh (1984), Daddy (1989), DDLJ as well as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Kya Kehna (2000), Shah Rukh Khan in K2H2, and Ra.One (2011), Kamal Haasan in Chachi 420 (1997), Ajay Devgn in Main Aisa Hi Hoon (2005), Drishyam (2015) Shivaay (2016), Ronit Roy in Udaan (2010), Rishi Kapoor in Do Dooni Chaar (2010) and Kapoor & Sons (2016), Sharman Joshi in Ferrari Ki Sawaari (2012), Sanjay Dutt in Pitaah (2002) and Bhoomi (2017), Mithun Chakraborty in Golmaal 3 (2010), Farooq Shaikh in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), Vinod Khanna in Wanted (2009) and Dabangg (2010), Hrithik Roshan in Krrish 3 (2013), Akshay Kumar in Heyy Baby (2007), Airlift (2016), Salman Khan in Tiger Zinda Hai (2017), Farhan Akhtar in The Sky is Pink (2019) and Saif Ali Khan in Jawaani Jaaneman (2020) to name a few… Bollywood has over the years given us some very memorable father figures, some of which have gone on to become iconic and legendary in their own right. But while several actors have defined the word father with their screen portrayals, here’s presenting the five who’ve won our hearts playing screen dads in recent times:
First as the erstwhile father Raj Batra set to ensure his daughter secures an admission in an English medium school in Hindi Medium (2017). And then as a father Champak Bansal in Angrezi Medium (2020) who pulls out all the stops in trying to make sure that his daughter’s dream of studying in a London university is fulfilled – Irrfan showed to what extent a father is willing to go for his children’s happiness. The late star as always wowed audiences and critics with his performances as a dad in both the films. Interestingly, Irrfan has played a likeable father on screen earlier as well in several films including The Namesake (2007) and Madaari (2016). On the other hand, his turn as Umber Singh – a man obsessed with fathering a son – in Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013) sends shivers down the spine! So from playing one of the most-hated screen fathers, to playing one of the most-loved ones, Irrfan leads the way in this list.
The actor is a rocking dad to his kids Sonam K Ahuja , Rhea and Harshvardhan Kapoor. And the senior star and daughter Sonam proved to be an equally adorable father-daughter duo on screen too with Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (2019). In the film, Anil plays a happy-go-lucky father, but an extremely conservative one, when it comes to his daughter’s sexual preference. However, he shows how Dad’s the way to be, when he finally stands up for his daughter and accepts her and her choice of partner. Earlier too, the actor had bowled us over with his father-role in Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do (2015) when he took a stand for his son-daughter Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra Jonas respectively. And not just recently, who can ever forget him play the adorable stepfather in one of his career best films Eeshwar (1989). Extremely versatile, we love the senior Kapoor as much as we loved him in his hero avatars. Anil Kapoor has our vote in the top five for sure.
Through his incredible journey as India’s superstar, Amitabh Bachchan has wowed us in his varied father avatar several times over. Baghban, Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham, Bhootnath, Bhootnath Returns, Nishabd, Baabul, Waqt: The Race Against Time, Sarkar, Wazir… amongothers! However, it’s the actor’s quirky father characters in films like Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006), Piku (2015) and of course 102 Not Out (2018) that has our votes. The latter that had Bachchan Sr playing father to the late Rishi Kapoor and threatening to send his son to an elderly care facility had us in splits. The coolest Pa in tinseltown, the star proves that he is the coolest dad on screen too and this earns him a comfortable spot on this list!
Aamir Khan first got us emotional with his screen outing as a father in Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995) and then in Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (2012). But the star is making the cut on this list because of his 2016 superhit Dangal! Aamir excelled in the role of ageing wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat who dreams and struggles to make his daughters international wrestling champions and win medals for India. Mr Perfectionist once again wowed with his performance and the rotund belly, et al, but it was his emotionally charged scenes with his reel daughters that had the hearts of every real father-daughter.
While talking about father-roles, it’s impossible not to count Kumud Mishra in the Taapsee Pannu-starrer Thappad (2020). The actor’s role as a father who decides to steadfastly stand by his daughter no matter what her choice comes as stark reality check in an otherwise hypocritical society where wives and daughters are told to hush up matters on domestic violence or compromise on their self-respect for the greater good of the family. The fact that the father supports his daughter even when the rest of the family doesn’t, speaks volumes and subtly sets a new benchmark for fathers. This one role definitely makes you smile and root for the father-daughter duo!
Special mention: Sushant Singh Rajput
The late actor’s last big screen outing Chhichhore (2019) had him play a father to a teenager, who attempts to end his life after failing to make it to a college of his choice. Oscillating between playing a young college student and a much-older man in his forties, Sushant delivered a perfectly-nuanced performance in every scene and aced the role of a father wrought with grief and uncertainty with ease. The list would be incomplete without adding the late actor’s role as a father!