The Father Figure: 5 Homegrown Films That Redefine Masculinity For The Modern Dad

The Father Figure: 5 Homegrown Films That Redefine Masculinity For The Modern Dad

Fatherhood is a multifaceted experience, a constant dance between love, responsibility, and the ever-present desire to guide our children towards a fulfilling life. Indian cinema beautifully captures this complexity, showcasing fathers who navigate the challenges of masculinity while striving to be pillars of support for their families.

These on-screen portrayals range from the stern disciplinarian yearning to connect with his son (think Amitabh Bachchan in Mohabbatein) to the goofy yet supportive friend (a la Aamir Khan in Taare Zameen Par). Fathers grapple with their own limitations, sometimes projecting their unfulfilled dreams onto their children, as seen in films like Iqbal. Yet, there's also an undeniable tenderness, a willingness to make sacrifices for their kids' happiness, even if it means letting go of their own desires. Homegrown's curated selection of films explores this rich tapestry of fatherhood, offering heartwarming, thought-provoking stories that resonate with audiences of all ages.

1. Bareilley Ki Barfi

a still from Bareilley Ki Barfi
Bareilley Ki BarfiBusiness of cinema

Bareilly Ki Barfi presents a refreshing take. Pankaj Tripathi shines as Narottam Mishra, a father who breaks the mold. Unlike the typical domineering figure, he's supportive and progressive. He encourages his daughter Bitti's (Kriti Sanon) dreams and allows her agency in choosing a partner, fostering a heartwarming bond built on trust and understanding.

2. Dear Dad

a still from Dear Dad
Dear DadScroll

Dear Dad tackles a sensitive topic: a father's coming out story. Nitin (Arvind Swamy) embarks on a road trip with his son Shivam (Himanshu Sharma), revealing a shocking truth that shatters their comfortable dynamic. The film explores acceptance, love, and the courage it takes to be true to oneself, even when it challenges traditional family structures.

3. Masoom

a still from Masoom
MasoomFilm Companion

Masoom delves into a more complex situation. DK (Naseeruddin Shah) brings his illegitimate son Rahul (Jugal Hansraj) home, disrupting the family's harmony. Shabana Azmi delivers a powerful performance as Indu, the wife grappling with betrayal. The film explores themes of forgiveness, acceptance, and the struggle to rebuild a family unit fractured by a father's choices.

4. Udaan

a still from Udaan

Udaan paints a stark picture of a strained father-son relationship. Rohan (Rajat Barmecha) dreams of becoming a writer, but his aspirations clash with his father Bhairav Singh's (Ronit Roy) rigid expectations. Bhairav embodies the toxicity of traditional masculinity, imposing his will and stifling Rohan's individuality. The film delves into the importance of breaking free from these cycles to pursue one's dreams.

5. Angrezi Medium

a still from Angrezi Medium
Angrezi MediumThe Indian Express

Angrezi Medium explores fatherhood through the character of Champak Bansal, a single parent who prioritizes his daughter Tarika's dreams above all else. Despite his comical indecisiveness, Champak's love is unwavering. He's willing to go to extraordinary lengths, even resorting to questionable means, to fulfill Tarika's desire to study in England. The film highlights the sacrifices a father can make and the lengths he'll go to for his child's happiness. However, it also touches on the potential downsides of overprotectiveness, as Champak's constant presence hinders Tarika's agency.