Happy Father’s Day! Let’s Get Sentimental!

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.



13 thoughts on “Happy Father’s Day! Let’s Get Sentimental!

  1. It looks like Amitabh has cornered all the best Dad roles in Bollywood.However I loved the father-daughter dynamics in Dillagi, especially when Urmila gets dumped by Bobby Deol and pours out her heart to her supportive father(not to her mom).It goes something like this “I don’t want to get married,Daddy.Men are liars.I just want to stay with you and mom forever.” And he consoles her with the right words.He doesn’t add to her misery with any ‘I-told-you-so’, nor does he rush out with a shotgun to shoot Bobby in vintage Bollywood baap style.He just gives her the time and space to grieve.Sunny Deol did a great job with his maiden venture here.


    • Dillagi makes me think, really there are a lot more touching movies about sacrificing and protective and loving big brothers than there are Father’s. Maybe that should be the theme of next year’s post? All the “Bhais” and “Jeejas” who act as the fathers of their households? Dillagi, yeh Dillagi, Dilwale, other movies that don’t start with “dil”….

      And then it would be all Amitabh again, because Deewar is the BEST of all of them.


  2. I’m a little surprised that you don’t mention Alok Nath in a father character (he was Kajol’s dad in K3G), but maybe you haven’t watched that many Rajshri movies. 🙂 I just want to say, about Salman playing father’s roles — he did it quite early in his career, way before Aamir and SRK. The first one he wasn’t an actual father, but in the father’s role to a bunch of children (who were his orphaned nephews, I think) in Ek Ladka Ek Ladki. He was quite effective, but the movie was basically a romantic comedy, so the “fatherly” aspects weren’t that important. A later, but still early, film was Jab Pyar Kissi Se Hota Hai, where he’s a reformed playboy madly in love with the heroine, who finally gets her to get engaged to him, when SPOILER SPOILER his out of wedlock son from a former affair shows up on his doorstep. It’s a very sensitive performance of a man trying to meet his responsibilities while not losing his love. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it highly. A non-conventional father’s role.


    • Thank goodness father’s day comes every year, so I can pull out Alok Nath next year! I love him in Maine Pyar Kiya, the big ol’ softie.

      Those Salman movies sound interesting! I’ll add them to my list. I am weakest on Salman’s filmography of all the Khans. Shahrukh, obviously I want to watch everything. Aamir, it’s not that hard to see most of his stuff because he slowed down in the late 90s and there just isn’t that much to watch. But Salman, he kept up that 3-4 movie a year rate for over a decade, and I don’t really have that burning desire to see every second of him on screen that I have with SRK 🙂 If there are any other interesting early lesser known Salman films I should seek out, let me know!


  3. Well, I’ve revealed the big twist in JPKSHH, so maybe you should wait a while till you forget it before watching that movie. 🙂 You can ELEL in the mean time. What’s interesting to me is how all three Khans had movies with the same basic set up — bachelor guy stuck with raising a bunch of pesky kids — and how different the stories are. For Salman it was Ek Ladka Ek Ladki, for Aamir it was Hum Hain Rahe Pyar Ke (very popular, but I didn’t like it that much), for Shahrukh it was One Two ka Four. Both Salman’s and Aamir’s movies were fairly early in their careers, while for SRK it came in 2001, quite late.

    For both Salman and SRK, I like their earlier films better than their later ones, mainly because the early ones were before their “star personas” became well-established and started to interfere with the nature of the films. In contrast, for Aamir I tried to watch his films chronologically, but soon gave up, as his early films were pretty bad. 🙂 Tell me what kind of films you like and I can recommend early Salman ones for you. If you’re such a huge SRK fan, you might mainly like romances? There aren’t that many of them for Salman, whose films are more about multiple interconnected relationships than just the one with the heroine. One I like is Bandhan, which is mainly about the bond between brother and sister (the sister is older so it’s not the “big brother” trope you mentioned), though there is of course a heroine also. Oh, another cute romance, which is not all that early, is Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge. Despite the title which is clearly a riff on DDLJ, and borrowing one element, it is a very different story and treatment. If DDLJ was about NRI’s, DHLJ is very much about desis in their desh. 🙂


    • Aw, I like Hum Hain Rahe Pyar Ki! I think I saw Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge years ago, back when there was a cheap DVD rental store down the block from me and I was just watching everything. Salman and Karisma are super cute together, but then they are always cute together.

      In general, I like movies that are either really good, or really bad, or just plain interesting. Like, with early Salman, I’ve seen Sangdil Sanam (baaaaaad), Chandra Mukhi (bad and interesting), Khamoshi (good). Salman’s filmography is so huge, if you can help me sort of the really outstandingly bad/good/interesting ones, I might finally get on top of it!

      The 90s movies always make me so nostalgic, because everything was so loose and cheap and a little wild, you could tell films were being filmed in bits and pieces as the money was available, and the three Khans were just doing whatever they needed for a paycheck. And then, like you say, we get to 2000, and the film industry because a real professional industry, and the Khans start cutting down on how many movies they make, and it all gets kind of less interesting.

      When you were doing the early Aamir’s, did you get to Tum Mere Ho? It definitely falls in the “bad and interesting” category.


      • I haven’t watched Tum Meri Ho, but can’t remember if I might have bought it. 🙂 I didn’t like HHRPK because of the way Tamil and Tamilians were used, which may have escaped your notice.

        Your comment on 90’s filmmaking is too sweeping, IMO, and is more appropriate for an earlier era, and then, too, only to smaller film makers. There have always been big producers who were professional about their industry.

        OK, as for films — your criteria are very subjective, don’t you think? Too much so for me to figure out how you’d react to a particular film. For instance, I quite liked Sangdil Sanam, while I couldn’t stand Chandramukhi — couldn’t even finish it. But could you solve one mystery for me? Why is it that Bolly bloggers who either don’t care for Salman or don’t know his films, nevertheless manage to find the most obscure, hardest to find, and terrible ones of his films, but skip right over his acclaimed or popular ones? My guess with these two would be that maybe you were drawn to them for their heroines?

        I generally am more concerned with the idea of a film than its production values. If I think an idea is interesting, I’m willing to forgive a lot in terms of how it was produced, even if it doesn’t quite work in the end. I’d rather have an interesting failure than a boring success. 🙂 Before I started watching Salman’s films, I’d read a lot of articles with the statement, “Salman has never worked with big banners”, but I didn’t really understand what that meant till I saw the films. There are a LOT where the technical values are really bad — sets too dark to see properly, camera not focused, that level of badness. I always marveled that Salman could build up the fan following that he did with such films. But maybe, like me, others also appreciated the product and were willing to overlook the packaging? I mean, it wasn’t till 2012 or so that Salman did his first film with YRF. He still hasn’t done one with Dharma. Compare that to SRK, for example, to see the contrast.

        Sorry for rambling on, but if you want lesser known films, I’m going to go out on a really risky limb here and suggest Suryavanshi. It’s a film of his that many people laugh at and mock (often without having seen it) all because there’s a still of Salman in a long blond wig. 🙂 I admit that’s what first caught my interest, too, but that part only lasts for about 10 minutes. But I found the plot quite interesting from the start. It’s about an archaeological site where someone is stealing priceless relics and selling them. How often do you see a story line like that? Then on top of it, Salman’s father and the heroine’s father are best friends and they want their kids to get married, but Salman is reluctant to do so. Why, and how they resolve that issue, form the backbone of the story. I’ll only say that, you really have to be patient — the story may feel like it makes absolutely no sense along the way, but all the loose seeming threads come together very logically by the end. So, watch at your own risk.

        Another film I like, even though I felt the story was stupid, was Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha — a flop, but with an amazing performance from Salman. Similarly, I thought his performance in Kyun Ki was outstanding also, though the story was all over the place. Many people think Tere Naam is Salman’s best performance, but I think Kyun Ki’s is better.

        Incidentally, talking of obscure films, have you seen SRK’s Oh Darling Yeh Hai India? I rate that as one of SRK’s three best performances (the other two being Asoka and Dil Se), but most people haven’t seen the film, and SRK himself repudiates it because it was huge flop. But I like it. Maybe I’m weird. 🙂

        Try those for a start. There are a whole lot of Salman-Karisma films to choose from, too, if you like their pairing.


        • Oh yeah, now I am remembering the whole Tamil and Tamilians thing in Hum Hain Rahe Pyar Ki. It’s not something that I am particularly sensitive too, so it is easy for me to overlook. But you’re right, that was odd. Also, and this is just a random thought, the American movie that HHRPK was loosely based on featured Sophia Loren in the Juhi role, and there was a whole thing about Italians versus Americans. I wonder if they tried to do something like that with the Tamilian stuff, only it was very clumsily done? If I remember, there is no particular reason her character HAS to be Tamilian, so it felt like they kind of shoe-horned it in, maybe just because they liked how the Italian thing was handled in the original.

          I can’t speak for other bloggers or non-Salman fan movie watchers, but I can tell you that for me, the big problem with watching the better Salman movies is exactly what you talked about, smaller production houses and no YRF or Dharma pictures. Because YRF and Dharma were on the forefront of making DVDs available internationally, and selling streaming rights. So all the big Shahrukh films with those companies are super available in America, but with Salman, something like Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, I had a surprisingly hard time finding on DVD. And then there would be these random odd films that for some reason were released in America, or my library happened to have a copy, so I was able to watch them. I’ve seen a pretty wide array of Salman movies, but they are all over the place, just what was available, not what was best or most interesting. Rajshri, at least, is really good about making their stuff available, so I have seen all of those Salman films. But for the smaller production houses, it was really hard to track down copies.

          Of course, now almost everything is available, and its more a matter of sorting the wheat from the chaff, which is where I find your recommendations super helpful! Especially because, just like I did for Shahrukh before Fan came out, I’ll probably do a Salman theme week before Sultan.

          I saw Dil NeJise Aapne Kaha ages ago, but it is probably worth a re-watch. I’ve never seen Kyun Ki, looks very dark, but that was the same reason I avoided Tere Naam for years and then I ended up loving it.

          I actually own Oh Darling Yeh Hai India, but I still haven’t watched it. I own a lot of movies like that, because of the whole “impossible to find DVDs in America” thing, I tend to buy stuff when I see it and then decide if I actually want it later. But if you say it is good, then I may finally get around to seeing it this weekend.

          Are there any other Salman movies that I should definitely see and/or post about?


          • I’ll reply to your request in the To do list section, but I took a look at your SRK Week, and you only discussed all his important & successful movies! So what’s the point of asking me about little known or off-beat Salman films? I don’t suggest any of the films I’ve mentioned here for your Salman week. I’ve been busy for the last few days tracking down and then culling down his film list to suggest something workable for you, which I’ll post in the other section in a day or two.


        • I look forward to your list in the To-Do list post! I already watched Suryavanshi and I LOVED it! So much so that I ordered the DVD from Amazon before I had even finished watching it.


          • Oh, great, you found it on youtube, then? Now I look forward to having a powwow with you about it, since you loved it. 🙂


  4. Even though Alok Nath played umpteen good fathers, I can’t forgive him for being such a poor specimen of fatherhood in Pardes.


    • Oh my gosh, you’re right, that was Alok Nath!!! I had somehow blocked it out! And I was just thinking about that sequence because of Udta Punjab. There is a similarly horrible scene with a woman at an old family farmhouse, and I was thinking “well, at least this isn’t as bad as Pardes.” But I was picturing Amrish Puri, because it’s always Amrish Puri. Except, no! For once, he is the father of the boy, not the girl, and poor Alok Nath has to play the heavy.

      Although, he really isn’t that great of a father in some of his more Alok Nath-y roles either. Too passive. Like, in Vivah, why can’t you just stand up to your wife and force her to be a little less of a rhymes-with-witch to your niece? Would have solved all their problems!


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