Father’s Day 2024: 6 Celebrities Share Their Favorite Father Characters From Films

Father’s Day 2024: 6 Celebrities Share Their Favorite Father Characters From Films

As an Olympic athlete, I have faced many challenges and moments of doubt throughout my career

Roshmila BhattacharyaUpdated: Sunday, June 16, 2024, 02:12 AM IST
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Still from Gunjan Saxena

Gagan Narang (rifle shooter and Olympic, Commonwealth and Asian Games medalist)

As an Olympic athlete, I have faced many challenges and moments of doubt throughout my career. In these times, I often draw inspiration from the story of Chris Gardner, portrayed by Will Smith in the 2006 biographical drama The Pursuit of Happyness. Gardner’s journey resonates deeply with me, not just as a tale of perseverance but as a powerful narrative of a father’s unwavering love and determination.

The character is a beacon of resilience and hope who despite the overwhelming odds, never relinquishes his dream of providing a better life for his son, Christopher. Living through homelessness and financial hardship, Gardner’s dedication to his son, is both humbling and inspiring. It’s a portrayal that highlights the sacrifices parents are willing to make for their children, something with echoes in my own life as I think of the support and sacrifices my family made for my sporting journey.

My father had to sell a piece of land he had been saving for the land and wanted to build our house on, and buy me a rifle, staying in a rented apartment for another 10 years. Character like Gardner tell us that we as human beings have so many things to accomplish, but giving emotional support to your family tops the chart for me.

Satish Arora (chef and author)

I’m an Amitabh Bachchan fan, have interacted with and catered for him. His Narayan Shankar, in the 2000 film Mohabbatein, Megha’s father and the principal of Gurukul, reminds me of my own father who was in the army and a strict disciplinarian. I’m more like his Samarjit Talwar, aka Sam, Rishi’s father in the 2006 film Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. I’m a friend to my daughter, Kanika, son, Puneet, my daughter-in-law, Dr Gayatri, and son-in-law, Dr Vinod. In fact, Kanika calls me ‘Papa Yaar’.

On Father’s Day, the first messages come from my children. I would have never dared to send one to my father. I’m not saying fathers shouldn’t be strict. I thought Amrish Puri, another friend, struck the perfect balance in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. His character, Chaudhary Baldev Singh, is conservative and dictatorial, but in the end, realising her happiness lies with Rahul, lets go of his daughter’s hand, saying, “Jaa Simran jaa, jee le apni zindagi.”

Bickram Ghosh (tabla player, fusion player, composer) 

My choice is Apu from Avijatrik, the concluding part in the Apu Trilogy which while based on Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s novel Aparajito, was not directed Subhrajit Mitra in 2021 and not Satyajit Ray. It bagged two National Awards, including Best Feature Film in Bengali and a first Filmfare Award for me for Best Music. What made Apu attractive was that despite being a single father, he continues to consult his long-dead wife Aparna at every stage. Making mistakes all along, he tries to find a balance between both parents to give his son a sense of his mother who is a silent witness to their interactions. Life is a struggle, and since Apu is a wanderer and Kajol only six, he tries to leave him with relatives, but the boy is distraught, and finally, father and son embark on a journey together to unknown lands.

I have two sons, Aadit and Arav, the latter at 10 only a few years older than Kajol. I’ve learnt that while a father, over the years, may have lost his sense of magic, his child still lives in a magical world and he must not destroy it for him by consistently giving adult advice.

Abha Singh (lawyer and activist)

Once a law student came to me and i was surprised that even after five years of study, she did not know what a civil suit is. Enquiries revealed that her father had pushed her into law though her heart was in fashion design. I have dealt with many such dictatorial fathers who will not side with their daughter even if it is a case of domestic violence or dowry harassment, their constant refrain being, “Saho aur raho (Endure and remain in your marital home).”

So, Pankaj Tripathi’s Lieutenant Colonel Anup Kumar Saxena, Gunjan’s father, in the 2020 biopic, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, was inspiring. He encourages his daughter’s unconventional dream to fly, going against his disapproving son who despite being in the army believes the Indian Air Force is not the right career for a woman. At one point, defeated, Gunjan is ready to quit and get married, but her father won’t let her. Eventually, she was one of the first women fighter pilots to fly in a combat zone during the 1999 Kargil war. Fathers like hers give their daughters wings to fly.My daughter, Isha, was a lawyer at the Bombay High Court, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, she suddenly changed course to join the Indian Police Service. Both my husband (Lawyer and former IPS officer, YP Singh) and I are very proud of her. 

Rudra Narayan Sharma (head of Moonstone imprint, Rupa Publications)

A father is always a figure of authority and a child either adheres to that authority or rebels against it, like Ranbir Kapoor’s Bunny in the 2013 romcom, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. But whenever he takes off, be it a trekking trip to Manali or a photography assignment to New York, his father, Farooq Shaikh, doesn’t stop him. For him, it’s enough that Bunny offers to stay when he asks him to, but then, he tells him to lead his life the way he wants, his papa will always be with him.

When he passes away, Bunny’s stepmother who was the reason for his anger, tells him that his father had loved him the most because he had never stopped chasing his dreams, no matter what the price, and would want him to continue living his dream. This relationship between father and son, with its complexities and revolts, can also be beautifully poignant and a bond of a lifetime even if the two inhibit worlds that are far apart.

Sandip Soparrkar (dancer-choreographer)

My vote goes to Daniel Hillard in Mrs Doubtfire, a recently divorced freelance voice artiste who poses as an elderly British nanny to spend time with his three children. The 1993 American comedy-drama bagged Robin Williams the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy. In 1997, Kamal Haasan adapted it in Hindi as Chachi 420. I could connect with the early morning chaos as being a single parent, I also had to get my sons ready for school, make sure they had their homework and dabbas. I would also take them for shopping, tuition and films.

Men are not great at multitasking, but I had no option so I did my part and trained my boys to do mine too. Now, Arjun is 19 and Kabir is 12, and they cook breakfast for me. Life is less hectic, but recently, when I saw the Mrs Doubtfire musical in London, it still struck a chord.

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