Free Press Journal

Parents Day 2018! Bareilly Ki Barfi to Kapoor & Sons, Bollywood parents are coming of age


For as long as I can remember, Bollywood sported only righteous parents. They were all the epitome of self-sacrificing demigods who did everything right. The mothers sewed their way into blindness for their children, the fathers gave up their lives for the children and so on… A little morbid, but blameless as a result – these parents left no scope for errors and made their existence stifling. While these haven’t left the scene altogether, every now and then there are some who come up as a breath of fresh air. Let’s talk about those parents who admit they got it wrong, who accept their children the way they are, let their children be human and who love despite not knowing how to make the perfect gajar ka halwa!

Changing RolesHow did the game change? Who thought of taking the pressure off and making parents more real? No one person can take that credit, it was a gradual course. Of course, it was fathers who first morphed into friends in Bollywood. Remember Shah Rukh Khan and Anupam Kher in ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’… all that “O Potchi, O Koka, O Bobi, O Lola…” Or Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar in ‘Waqt’? It was fun, but back then dads could only befriend their sons. While that relationship has only bloomed and grown stronger with time in films like ‘102 Not Out’ and even ‘Sanju’ (though it tells a story from the 1990s to early 2000) it is the father-daughter rapport that has us wishing we grew up with a dad like that… ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ with Kriti Sanon and her adorable relationship with her dad played by Pankaj Tripathi remains the epitome of last year’s heart-melting moments. She might have had two guys wooing her through the film, but it was definitely her dad who quietly snuck out of the house to her secret hiding place, sharing a cigarette with his daughter that won our hearts. Of course, her mother in the film, Seema Pahwa was also really sweet and hilarious. However, having sweet and funny moms has become more of a trend in Bollywood than a statement – look at Amrita Singh playing mom be it in 2 States or Flying Jatt! So mostly, it is the dads who are tweaking the confines…

With the trailers of ‘Fanney Khan’ being widely talked about, we are gearing up to see yet another facet of a father-daughter relationship. The way Anil Kapoor plays his part, this one will be another one to watch out for, so the wait is killing. After all, it is Kapoor’s finesse that brings out the charm every time he greys his hair for a daddy-role be it ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ or even ‘Race 3’. But while ‘Fanney Khan’ director, Atul Manjrekar gives the finishing touches to his interpretation of the Belgian film, Everybody’s famous, we must not forget Rani Mukerji – starrer ‘Hichki’. While the film was about a teacher and how she managed to surmount her hurdles, the father-daughter strain could not have been missed. In the scene where Sachin Pilgaonkar, who plays the father admits to his handicap in dealing with his daughter’s Tourette’s syndrome, his need to want to fix everything back to perfection and his failure, gave the film a third dimension making it truer and relatable. Supriya Pilgaonkar as the mother was beautifully portrayed but she again wasn’t the one who started it…

New shadesWhen it comes to mommies, Ratna Pathak Shah can be considered the game-changer in many ways. Some might argue that Kirron Kher, with films like ‘Dostana’ and ‘Khubsoorat’, put an affable edge to screen mommies, but what Ratna Pathak Shah did with ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ back in 2008 and later in 2016 again with ‘Kapoor And Sons’ – no mother has managed. The realist in her took over the drama and what came out was a mother who insisted her son do the cooking chores, who played referee between her sons, but also accepted that she herself wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes, she owned up to it and while she might have unwittingly hurt her children, she whole-heartedly loves them just the way they are.

This change was long overdue. The way her character Sunita accepts her homosexual son, Rahul in ‘Kapoor And Sons’ tells you that, while delayed, we have finally managed to get on the right track. Of course, the parents took longer to get there but they did so because of these free thinkers. Not so long ago, when sons did not get on track the mothers did everything from giving them the silent treatment to trying to commit suicide, and yet here we are, a good few decades down the line, breathing in peace.

Of course, it also has a lot to do with the fact that Bollywood always skirted around topics such as homosexuality and the like. Having a director like Shakun Batra did matter, but what mattered more is that there are gorgeous mothers who are making it their business to be there for their sons, even when situations take them by surprise. What a refreshing change, this! Our good writers and their tinkering has come to success – we have parents we could now reach out to and hug, and be loved back – unconditionally.