It’s my father’s birthday! 65, which I guess means I should do something very very big. Oh well, he’s getting a nice little thing from me and my sister and there is a family dinner planned, that should be good enough. And this post!
My father was the first person to watch movies with me. When we were little (like, 2 and 4 through 6 and 8), my mother had a group she went to every other Friday night, her one tiny bit of selfish non-mothering time with real adults. And Dad would stay home with me and my sister and we would have a little party.
“A party” meaning he brought pizza home after work, and then we watched videos cuddled up together on the couch until Mom came home and sent us to bed. Wild times!!!! Well, it was exciting for us, way more exciting than normal nights when we had healthy homemade dinners and went to bed at a regular hour after having a book read aloud to us.
(2:20 into this song, that was us. Dad sat in the middle with the popcorn bowl so we each had an arm to hide under if the movie got scary)
We did have some very scary nights as Dad introduced us to a whole variety of films. For instance, ET. That is a TERRIFYING movie! Divorce, sibling arguments, secrets that your mother doesn’t know, all very very scary things. Plus aliens. Koi Mil Gaya is much more family friendly.
And also The Seven Samurai which wasn’t so much scary as VERY VERY DEPRESSING. When you are 7 years old, the explanation of “but see, in their culture, dying with honor was more important than living happily” does NOTHING to make you feel better. At least the China Gate version had a fun song.
As we got older, eventually Friday night shifted from the “Dad and daughter wild crazy unsupervised times” night to the “daughters entertain themselves, Mom and Dad do dishes and laundry and other boring old people stuff” night. But we still had special Dad-only movie traditions. Starting around ages 12/14 (my sister is 2 years older than me, did I mention that? That’s why I always give two ages two years apart), we started sharing with Dad movies in theaters that Mom refused to see. Mostly superhero films and disaster movies. The two best genres, according to my father.
(Kind of sorry I missed out on seeing Spyder in theaters with him, mostly because of the big hospital collapsing finale. I am open to more Indian disaster movie suggestions if there are some I have missed!)
We kept up the movie tradition through college, including the memorable time when my sister came home for the weekend and we took her directly to see Spider-man, not even stopping at home to say “hi” to Mom first. But Dad also went along with watching our new obsession, Indian films. Although his biggest issue was with how horrible all the fathers always were. Lots of frustrated “but why would they ever forgive Amrish Puri??? He’s such a terrible father!” complaints.
(So much wrong with Gadar, and what bothers my father the most is “why would you let that man back into your life? He SHOT you!!!!”)
Once we were all reunited in Chicago post-college, Dad was even willing to go along with me to Indian movies in theaters, especially when I needed a ride. Although I felt kind of bad for taking him to Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, considering how extremely depressing that ending ended up being.
(The teaser was so good! How did it turn out so dark?)
But at least our most recent movie date was good! I took him to see Bahubali 2 with me.
(Much more of a son-mother movie, than a daughter-father, but it still worked!)
And now he is 65, and my sister is coming home for Christmas in a few weeks, and we will have to figure out a movie to watch together. Probably either the new Star Wars (since we watched the first one with him on the couch 25 years ago, seems right to watch the new one together in the theater), or maybe the new Spider-Man on the couch (he saw it in theaters with my sister over the summer, but I missed out on watching it with them, so I am owed a re-watch).
Oh, and to end, my father’s 2 favorite Indian movie songs. The one he calls “the ku ku ku song”
And the “dancing on the train with the Frankie Avalon looking guy” song
Oh, and one final non-Indian treat, the first kind of film I ever remember watching, curled up on the couch with Dad. The music starts and I immediately feel about 2 feet tall and all snuggled up in my footy pajamas: