Anita nair had written a nice article in the New Indian Express on father's day. I always get very interested when people talk about their relationship with their father, the jokes and pranks they shared, their discussions,arguments etc. In our family, we knew our father only through my mother. He hardly spoke to us and if we needed anything mother conveyed it to him and it was either approved or rejected. No further appeal. He was not someone who was ever worried about our academic performance - perhaps because we were all inevitably at the top of the class but i have a nagging feeling that he would have signed our report card without a murmur even if we had got the last rank in class. I do not remember him ever giving us advice or opinion on anything - he might have if we had asked him but we were too scared to talk to him directly. And it was always a joke to me when my mother claimed that I was my father's favorite - i wish he had shown it to me in some ways! It was only after my marriage that I experienced tangibly a father's love through my father in law who treated me more like his own daughter.

With this kind of emotional baggage, I always feel a tug somewhere inside when I come across special father /children bonds in books and films.Needless to say that I have my own set of favourite fictional fathers:

At the very top of the list of course is daddy "Mrs.Doubtfire"- doting and full of fun, a buddy above all- someone who makes you feel "no matter what, I will always be there for you." He could get you in trouble, lots of it but you know he will also get you out of it. A great dad for pre-adoloscents.

Almost rubbing shoulders with daddy doubtfire is the daddy played by Gregory Peck in "To Kill a Mockingbird" - a daddy whom every child would be proud of. A little too perfect? May be, but who's complaining?

Mr.Bennett of Pride and Prejudice is another favourite. He was perhaps a failure in a conventional way in terms of securing a sound financial future for his daughters and that is precisely what makes him more human than the other fictional fathers. He is not a super hero. He is an ordinary father whom you could actually hope to have - well-read,one with whom one can discuss anything under the sun, share a good joke with and one who would support you in any rational decision you make. A great father in your teens and adulthood.

The role of "daddy" played by Anupam Kher in the Hindi film of the same name is another favourite - an immensely talented poet. oozing sentmentality from every pore, weak in many ways but I just love the way he looks at his daughter - as if his world started and ended there.

I love another father's role he played in "Dil Hai ki maanta nahin" - super rich and super crazy. Now that is a fun father who would indulge your every whim and if you are equally crazy, the world can't get better. I particularly loved the last scene when he incites Pooja to elope with Aamir in stead of the rich boy who is about to marry her and the way he gleefully announces after she runs away: "She has a habit of running away and she has done it again!"

The only Father/ daughter duo I could remember from Tamil films is the one in Rajaraja chozhan played by Shivaji Ganeshan and Lakshmi - very interesting interaction between a smart father and daughter. The daughter worships the father and the father adores the daughter but neither could be bothered to make a show of it and have to constantly engage in verbal battle and one-up-manship in witty exchanges. Very interesting portrayal.

Of the ad dads, my favorite would have to be the father in the Nokia cell phone ad which goes "Na Badla woh suraj woh rah, Na badle mere papa." In the one minute you see the special bond between father and son and their expressions are lovely - a father who takes special care to instil the right values in his children and show them the right path ahead and would stay down to earth to insist that the function of a phone is to simply talk to someone!

And finally of course I know for most of you who read this your favourite daddy is your own - So don't wait for a special day to let him know that - Now is always a good time!
17 Responses
  1. Visithra Says:

    The article was interesting but not as interesting as yours - i only realised i was my dads fav n so alike when i was going through his things after he passed away - its so typical of asian dads to have this barrier especially with their daughters -

  2. bastet Says:

    Reading your touching article the recent post in postsecret about dads came to my mind.

  3. You missed Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Ashirwad, a melodrama about father-daughter relationship. Ashok Kumar was the father (won him the Filmfare best actor award for the year), and Sumita Sanyal was his daughter. If I recall right, it's the story of a man separated from his daughter due to the machinations of his villainous wife, and eventually ends up in prison (for murder?). The daughter grows up to be a famous singer, and her favorite song (ik tha bachpan) was the one sung by her father in her younger days. The song helps Ashok Kumar recognize her as his daughter, but he decides not to reveal his identity, to save her from embarrassment for being a criminal's daughter.

    Now, I must get ready for my daughter's arrival to celebrate a belated father's day with a long hike in the Sierras :)

  4. Hip Grandma Says:

    of all the dads mentioned by you i think the dad in 'To kill a mocking bird' was the best.your piece was very children have a dad who'd set unrealistic goals for them like topping the univ. and they would feel compelled to try harder when they'd rather fool around a bit.i remember my son calling me aside and confiding that he would not be able to make it to Harvard and would daddy be upset if he didn't.he was only 10 yrs. old then.i advised him to go out and play while i dealt with his dilemma.i later told my husband that his hi-fi expectations tend to burden the children and he should stop right there if he wanted them to succeed in life.luckily for the kids he toned down a my children credit him for being their inspiration and motivation!fathers want nothing less than the sky for their kids!

  5. Wild Reeds Says:

    Dear Usha,
    The film "Daddy" had a particular resonance for me too. I couldn't help crying when I watched it. There is a beautiful lullaby in that film:
    Ghar ke ujiyare kho jaayein
    Daddy tere jaagein, tu so jaayein..

  6. MJ Says:

    hi Usha..a very good post as usual.I really had n still have a strong bondage with my father.he was there with me always as he knows what i am n what is exactly right for me evem when i decide upon something wrong.

    I really cannot trade his love for anything as i know he loves me so much that he would never have loved anyone else.Though i feel sometimes he is rude,dont understand me properly but i finally end up with the thought that its me who didnot understand him.He is such a lovely father.

    I really remember the gr8 fathers from Ashirwaad n daddy as ur fans have mentioned.I think everyones
    expression of love is unique .Its we who have to interpret his love in a proper way.some success in expressing it n some hide it deep inside.

    I feel that everyday is a father's day for me as my father drops me to office,comes to pick me up n sometimes i reach home early n stand at the gate to welcome him.These simple pleasures have really added a much fragrance called love among us.N those who feel the gap among must really take an initiative to build the bridge as one really have to experience that love-as love w/o expression is life w/o goal...agar nahi tho jiya tho kya jiya...bin papa ke pyaar ke,bin unke kandon ke sahare,bin unki chaya ke tale chalne ke ehasas ke,bin unke lori ke,bin un meethi muskaano ke,bin unke daanto ke,bin bidayi ke un ansoon ke.... :)

  7. Raj Says:

    Nice post, Usha.

    I liked the 'dad' in Cosby Show. Bill Cosby was a dad whose legs his kids could pull, he was fun to be with and he could gently guide them when they were going astray. I think that the concept of dad as a 'friend' rather than as a stern disciplinarian, is relatively new but is a welcome change.

  8. Mahadevan Says:

    I lost my father when I was hardly ten and therefore I cannot talk of any direct influence, except two perhaps. I often nostalgically recall the the stories he would tell me about Norman Conquest and other European history. The greatest legacy he has left for me is the love for literature - Tagore's Gora, Ruskin's Unto The Last, Dicken's Pickwick Papers, Oliver Goldsmith's complete works, Stephen Leacock's Laugh with Leacock, are some of the books of him which I fondly cherish. From the manuscript of an incomplete book he wrote "Investment and Speculation" I learnt about bear, bull, jobber, gilt-edged securities etc.

    It used to be a routine in English homes, particularly during winter, when near the fire side father would read pages from a Victorian novel aloud, to the delight of other members of the family.

    I was really moved when you wrote in one of your blogs that when your car was stranded in a traffic jam, you could hear a father and daughter sharing a joke in a nearby house. One has to be sensitive to enjoy such feelings.

    Mr.Bennet of Pride and Prejudice is certainly an endearing character. However, don't you feel he looks a little loftier because of the smallness of Ms.Bennet? In the words of Jane Austen, Ms.Bennet is 'a woman of mean understanding, little information and uncertain temper'.

    I dislike mothers talking ill of fathers or fathers talking ill of mothers,to the children. It blots an immaculate relationship.

    An excellent post indeed. You have an uncanny knack of making any topic endearing, even to the dull-witted.

  9. Usha Says:

    Visi:Is it an Asian trait - I rememebr an uncle who used to say thathe did not want to be too attached to his daughter as daughters go away from your house and if you are too attached than it is a problem. may be there is something there.

    bastet: Thanks , I went there. Was touched too - my god the kind of scars people have!

    The Rational Fool: I must see that film. will definitely check it out. Thank you.

    Hip Grandma: Yes, I know some parents try to be over enthusiatic which becomes aburden for the kids especially when the targets are set so high. As a parent I understand the father too.He wants the best for his children and he is willing to be supportive to get them there.

    Wild reeds: Me too! I have seen the film about 4 times and cried everytime during that song just like the first!

    M J: That is so sweet. I feel so happy to read what you have written and wow, that is some inspired poetry - brings out the depth of your feeling. Hope your father reads it.

    Raj: Your father's day post was the inspiration for this entry! Ah, yes that is a great dad too and he sometimes makes you see how wise kids can be! I really like the changing trend in parent/ children relationship in india - the friendliness and openness.I see it in my house too.

    Mahadevan : Thanks for sharing. I can understand how much you must cherish the things he taught you. And yes, I have observed your love of literature in your blog posts as well as your comments. he must be very proud of you. As I said, I get drawn towards the way fathers bond with their kids and every time I see it, it still fascinates you. I think it is one of the most beautiful relationships - a big man moved to tears by a 2 footer ( un kannil neer vazhindal en nenjil udiram kottudadee) and the little one imagining her dad to be the greates hero on earth ( My daddy strongest!!) Haven't you seen that all ads that show dad/ daughter duo are a hit and so beautiful!

  10. Aqua Says:

    Hi Usha...a really nice post as always :)

    and pls do support "Bloggers for Tibet day" on July 6th, which is also "World Tibet Day". You can read more about this here ...


  11. Aqua Says:

    Hi Usha...a really nice post as always :)

    and pls do support "Bloggers for Tibet day" on July 6th, which is also "World Tibet Day". You can read more about this here ...


  12. Mahadevan Says:

    That little girl with outstretched hands, yelling 'my daddy's big...... car, is a catchy advertisement. It is not the big car, but her daddy's big car, that matters. What an insight into a child's psyche!

  13. GuNs Says:

    A few screen dads I liked:
    1) Naseeruddin Shah from Najayaz - In some ways, drew a parallel to Amjad Khan from Laawaris. A father who has lost his son by choice/mistake and longs for him as he grows older.
    2) Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump : By far, the most PERFECT character ever created on the cinemaic canvas, you feel for him when he asks Jenny "Is he..." meaning "Is he smart - unlike me?" after seeing his kid for the first time.
    3) Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven : A movie I saw recently, sees Eastwood going back to his old murderous ways for his kids.

    Lots more such characters exist and cinema is such a great canvas to pull them on screen.


  14. MJ Says:

    hi....i copied my comment on my plz dont sue me for copying.(plz)...i just hope my dad will read does one day..though he dont know tht i blog...but as rest of my family knows it...lest wait n watch n i really want him to read this inner mind of mine n fnd his own space in it.Ho..ho..ho..what will be reaction to that?jut cannot imagine.....:)

  15. Anonymous Says:

    I wonder what Keyser Soze's kids think of him. Oops! How can they think? he shot all of them dead himself!

  16. passerby55 Says:

    Hi Usha,

    A wonderful post!

    enabled me to read a bit of yourself through this post!

    "In our family, we knew our father only through my mother"...
    I experienced ... through my father in law ..."

    you are an honest person with your feelings! ...


  17. Shashi Iyer Says:

    :) lovely!