Happy Father’s Day! Not quite as fruitful a source for videos/films as Mother’s Day, but almost! And again, I am grateful that it happens every year so I don’t have to feel like I am limiting myself with just my choices for this year.
I gotta start with Amitabh, the cinematic father of us all. Not in Paa, because he doesn’t actually play a father in that, and that is just a strange movie anyway. No, Baghban, that’s where it’s at! And also, it is the perfect thing to watch right when you want to reach ultimate guilt over what a terrible child you are and how you don’t do nearly enough for your parents.
Or, you can watch Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and think about how you still don’t do nearly enough for your parents, this time because Shahrukh and Kajol set an impossible bar.
And just to round out Amitabh, let’s look at Piku! Where he plays a not-so-saintly father, but one with a much more believable parent-child dynamic.
Moving on from Amitabh, much though it pains me, let’s check out the 3 Khans and how they handled fatherhood. Aamir was the first to really go all out with a fatherly role, of course, because he is always the first to try something. Not to mention he was the first of them to become a father in real life.
Then Shahrukh gave it a try. First in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, but they kind of backed off on that, even cutting the alternate opening which put more focus on the father-baby relationship.
(That baby has so much more charisma than Little Anjali)
But then Ra.One really feels like they are working out some deep father-son stuff, even more than My Name is Khan.
Salman, of course, was the last to play a father. Because he is the baby of the Khans, and the one least likely to acknowledge his age. Sure, he played a father in stuff like Biwi No.1, but he didn’t go really all in on the parent-child relationship until Bajrangi Bhaijaan. And then he just made me cry and cry.
Honorable mention goes to Anupum Kehr, who always plays the father in everything, but his greatest performance was definitely in Daddy, the terribly named but actually brilliant early Mahesh Bhatt-Pooja Bhatt art film. If you can track down a copy (it took me a couple years, and I had to have it shipped from India), it is well worth it.
Oh, and one more! That’s doubly-fatherly, since it is Amitabh the character reciting a poem he learned from his father, and also Amitabh the person, reciting a poem his father wrote.