Since time immemorial, Bollywood has been obsessed with controlling fathers who feel they own their daughters. And, the evidence of such mentality was quite evident in the super-hit movie – Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayengey! Remember when Simran (played by Kajol) requests her father to give her a month out of her own life to take a trip before she is married off!
“Kya aap meri khushi ke liye, meri zindagi se, ek mahina bhi nahi de sakte?” And, sadly, with a big smile on his face and no shame, her father says-“Jaa, jee le apni zindagi,” as if he owns her daughter. After which, Simran couldn’t contain her happiness as she, maybe for the last time, gets an opportunity to live life on her own terms – even if it is for a month.
While many laughed and smiled with Simran, there were very few who questioned why Bollywood makers glorified the daughter being controlled by a father in the name of sanskaars!
But, after waiting for decades, Bollywood has finally moved over regressive and controlling fathers. And, showcasing some really adorable feminist dads, who don’t believe that their daughters are conquest to be conquered.
Bhaskor in the film Piku, is one such feminist father, who values women’s independence and equality. He is ready to stand for her daughter and her choices. He is not ashamed, rather proud of the fact that her daughter is strong and independent.
Bollywood’s obsession with stern fathers has continued for decades. Our Bollywood makers have been showcasing stereotypical dad characters — conservative, emotionally detached, and obsessed with societal norms for ages. There are so many movies, where dad would slap their daughters after finding out about their relationship. They would lock them in the room to stop them from marrying a boy he hasn’t chosen for her.
Remember Narayan Shankar from Mohabattein, who cared more about “Parampara, Pratishtha, Anushasan” than his daughter.
In the past few years, some path-breaking films showed how Bollywood is warming up to the idea of feminist dads. They are smashing the patriarchal notions and rather than residing with the society, they are standing with their daughters against the society! They are sensitive, emotional available and feminist!
Piku broke the mould of ‘ideal dad’ and gave us unparalleled feminist dad, Bhaskor Banerjee. How he backs his independent daughter at every step of her life makes you applaud this character!
Next in the list of feminist dads is Pankaj Tripathi, who played the role of ta feminist father in a biopic, based on the life of the former IAF officer Gunjan Saxena.
Pankaj Tripathi stands with his daughter as she shatters the patriarchal norms. While the society tells her that she can’t be a pilot, this feminist father leaves no stone unturned in making her believe that she can do it! “Plane ladka udaye ya ladki, dono ko pilot hi bolte hain”. – this powerful dialogue captures how this father make her daughter believe she is nowhere less than a man, no matter what people say.
On the same line, Irrfan Khan, as Champak Bansal, in Angrezi Medium goes beyond his limits to fulfil his daughter’s wish to study in London.
Speaking of feminist fathers, how we can forget Sachin Sandhu, played by Kumud Mishra, in Thappad.
While society keeps telling her daughter to suffer in marriage, he encourages his daughter to make her own mind. Even he questions his son-in-law to introspect the reason why he slapped his daughter! How this father ensures her daughter to be her own hero is quite inspiring!
Moreover, this brilliant character accepts his own flaws too. He confesses how he couldn’t stand for his wife, but makes an attempt to redeem it by not making the same mistake with his children.
Recently, another name added to the feminist dad is of Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’s Mohinder Brar, played by Kanwaljit Singh, a father who whole-heartedly accepts his daughter and her gender-identity as a trans-woman.
Finally, Bollywood makers have understood that daughters are not objects or properties of their fathers. We are extremely happy a handful of progressive Bollywood makers are shattering the social norms and showcasing the unseen bonds between progressive fathers and their daughters. Hope this trend continues!