In many Hindi films, a father's love is recognized as a powerful force in the life of a son or daughter. Fathers can be friends, guides, advisors, supporters and sometimes even opponents. Often films focus on the explosive impact that fathers may have on their children - for good or ill.
The authority a father has in the life of their children is powerfully played out in the 2001 drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham ... (K3G). At the beginning of the film writer/director Karan Johar explains, "It is about loving your parents." But the story goes much deeper to highlight the strength of family bonds despite perceived betrayal and broken promises. (Read more about K3G: Pride and Prejudice and Unconditional Love.)
While Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... is one of the most popular Bollywood films about father-son relationships, here are five other films about fathers and their children. These films will put you in the mood to reflect on the impact your father has had in your life as well your impact in his.
English Translation: "Gardener"
Date Released: 3 October 2003
Director: Ravi Chopra
Description: Raj Malhotra (Amitabh Bachchan) and his wife Pooja (Hema Malini) have raised a family of four sons who are now nicely settled in their respective professions. Their life is filled with love and prosperity, and all this has been possible because Raj has invested all his income including his provident fund and gratuity who according to him are his assets that would secure his future. But when he retires, he is no longer able to support himself and has to vacate the house he and Pooja have shared for years. He turns to his sons who he has supported but none of the four sons is ready to take their parents in long-term. Instead, they split up Raj and Pooja and turn them into nomads, shuttling them from house to house but never really providing them a home. Raj begins to keep a diary reflecting on his life.
Why I Love This Film: Drama. No parent wants to be a burden to their children. This film highlights the problems and emotions that come when parents discover that their children aren't prepared to reciprocate their love in the twilight of their years. While the parents keep up appearances, the pain of Raj and Pooja is tangible to everyone but their children. It takes strangers to recognize the value that Raj and Pooja bring to the lives of those around them. Note: This is one of the films that features Amitabh Bachchan as playback singer singing some of his own songs (see "Main Yahan Tu Wahan" video, below).
Date Released: 22 April 2005
Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Music by: Anu Malik, Aatish Kapadia
Description: Drama. Ishwarchand (Amitabh Bachchan) is a doting father who worries that he may have spoiled his adult son Aditya (Akshay Kumar), and therefore throws him and his new, pregnant wife Pooja (Priyanka Chopra) out of the house. Despite the emotional turmoil and rift that grows between father and son which this separation causes, Ishwar maintains his distance. Unknown to Aditya, there is an important reason why Ishwar took this drastic step.
Why I Love This Film: This film shows the impact of tough love on the lives of two men who have lived their lives more like best friends than father and son. Watching Aditya fight through the frustration of separation from his parents to find a new way of life is both heartbreaking and empowering. Note: This film also features one of the funniest comic performances by Rajpal Yadav as Laxman.
Date Released: 4 December 2009
Director: R. Balki
Music by: Ilaiyaraaja
Description: Comedy drama. Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) is an intelligent and witty 13-year-old boy with an extremely rare genetic defect that causes accelerated aging. He suffers from a progeria-like syndrome. Mentally he is 13, very normal, but physically he looks five times older. In spite of his condition, Auro is a very happy boy. He lives with his mother Vidya (Vidya Balan) who is a gynecologist. Amol Arte (Abhishek Bachchan) is young, progressive and a full-of-ideals politician. He is out to prove to the world that 'politics' is not a bad word. He is a man with a mission. And soon he discovers that Auro is his son born out of wedlock.
Why I Love This Film: This is an unusual film, not only for the choice of cast but for dealing with a variety of challenging issues in an refreshingly honest way. See Film Screening Room: Paa for a closer look at this exceptional film.
Date Released: 11 February 2011
Director: Nikhil Advani
Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Description: Family drama/sports film. The Kahlon family - who live at "Patiala House" in England - follow the dictates of Bauji (Rishi Kapoor) and his Indian values. The younger generation at the Patiala House are held back from pursuing their dreams by their fear of Bauji and the shining example of obedience that is Bauji's eldest son, Gattu (Akshay Kumar). 17 years ago, Bauji forced Gattu to give up his dream of playing cricket. Gattu explains, "When you're 17, you don't think that you'll grow up to be a nobody. Well, I didn't want that either. But what I wanted didn't matter. My father had chosen my life. My name is Parghat Singh Kahlon. And I am living the life my father chose for me." Gattu works in a corner store but he is a man without a soul. His life changes when he meets Simran (Anushka Sharma) who challenges him to pursue his dream.
Why I Love This Film: This is a heartfelt movie about second chances. Bauji is overbearing but unaware of his negative impact on his family. While Gattu wasn't able to pursue his dream, he secretly keeps his passion alive. When he realizes he is equally culpable for his family's frustrations, he takes action to live his life on his terms. An inspiring father-son film not to be missed regardless of whether you are a cricket fan or not. And if you are a cricket fan, enjoy Akshay Kumar's mad skills as a bowler.
Date Released: 11 January 2013
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Music by: Vishal Bhardwaj
Description: Political satire. Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur), a wealthy industrialist who loves his drink, his daughter Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) and the unusual bond they both share with Harry’s Man Friday, Matru (Imran Khan). After having studied at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Matru can't get a job so he returns to his village to take up his family profession of serving the Mandola family. Bijlee returns from Oxford University with Baadal (Arya Babbar) - the son of powerful local politician Chaudhari Devi (Shabana Azmi) - whom she plans to marry. This alliance, far from a simple love story of two young people, becomes the basis for a complex, political narrative, that brings twists and turns in the lives of Matru, Bijlee and Mandola.
Why I Love This Film: Generally, films dealing with fathers and daughters center around getting the daughter married. While that is part of the story, this film focuses more on Harry's challenging relationship with his outspoken daughter. While Bijlee fusses and fights with Harry's two distinct personalities - one sober and one drunk - events unfold to reveal that she is truly her father's daughter. And then there is the pink cow ...
Don't know which film to watch first? The following playlist includes trailers or video songs (in the case of Baghban and Waqt) for each of these films, including Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham....
If you liked this, check out our other Friday Five posts.