As women are scaling new heights, we can’t thank enough our feminist fathers, who believed in their daughters and raise them against the social norms. While being a feminist father in Indian patriarchal society isn’t easy, we want to applaud them for their courage and determination.
The importance of feminist fathers in making society a better place has also been acknowledged and replicated on-screen by our Bollywood movies.
As they say, movies mirror society & society mirror movies, we aren’t surprised how the Bollywood depiction of the daughter’s father has changed over time.
There were times when our society applauded characters like Chaudhary Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri) in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or Gulshan Bakshi (Anupam Kher) in Kya Kehna who disowned her own daughter for getting pregnant before marriage. But now thanks to the changing times, the portrayal of fathers on-screen is changing as well.
We have fathers who stand against society to support their daughters to turn their dream into reality. Not only the portrayal of fathers of daughters have changed but also fathers of a son, who are more supportive and respectful to their wives have been applauded on-screen.
Here’s IFORHER’s list of selected feminist fathers of our Bollywood movies, who are the perfect role models of any father in today’s era.
1. Sachin Sandhu In Thappad
played by Kumud Mishra
Sachin Sandhu, throughout the movie, encourages his daughter, Amrita (played by Taapsee Pannu) to choose what she wants in her life. From acknowledging his wife’s (Ratna Pathak Shah) sacrifices to letting his daughter lead her own life as per her own terms, Sachin Sandhu is the perfect role model for the fathers of today’s era. He is a role model for those who want to raise strong and independent daughters.
2. Narottam Mishra in Bareilly Ki Barfi
played by Pankaj Tripathi
In society, when parents raise their daughters to follow the social rules, Pankaj Tripathi as Bitti’s (Kriti Sanon) father Mishraji not only acknowledges his daughter is free-spirited. When Bitti is rejected multiple times by men for marriage, Mishraji never asks her to change. Supporting her free spirit and letting her be the way she wants to be is the best parenting lesson than Indian parents need to learn.
3. Rani’s Father in Queen
played by Yogendra Tiku
Queen shows Rani’s parents, especially her father, being supportive of her decisions. It was heartwarming how after Rani’s wedding is being called off, the parents are actually shown caring for their child. Instead of thinking about trivial issues like the loss of family honor or ‘log kya kahenge?’ How Rani’s father supports her choice of going on her honeymoon vacation all alone is an inspiration to many fathers to respect their daughters’ choices.
4. Mr. Joshi in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan
played by Neeraj Sood
Sugandha’s father in this movie is an open-minded father, who is coming to terms with GenY’s openness towards love and sexuality. It is inspiring how he stands up for his daughter’s happiness. He takes a stand for her daughter against the elders and society. For her daughter’s happiness, he goes on to discuss how marital bliss shouldn’t take a backseat in her life.
5. Anup Saxena in Gunjan Saxena
played by Pankaj Tripathi
“Plane ladka udaye ya ladki, dono ko pilot hi bolte hain”. This particular dialogue shows what kind of a feminist father Anup Saxena is. No one would deny that Anup Saxena was one of the main reasons that contributed to Gunjan Saxena’s success. If he wouldn’t have encouraged his daughter to follow her dreams, she wouldn’t have made the country proud. Standing for her daughter’s dream, this father tried very hard to convince his wife and son to let Gunjan follow her dreams. He showed the society, who believed his daughter’s place was in the kitchen, that she is no less than a man.
6. Bhashkor Banerjee in ‘Piku’
played by Amitabh Bachchan
No one could stop falling in love with this father – Bhashkor Banerjee, who is his daughter’s biggest cheerleader. Not only he appreciates his daughter’s achievements but also supports her decisions on love and sex. He is proud of raising a daughter, who not only holds opinions but also voice them too!
7. Champak Ghasiteram in ‘Angrezi Medium’
played by Irrfan Khan
Born and brought up in a family, where women have to hide their faces behind veils, Champak has always supported his daughter’s dreams. When her daughter Tarika (played by Radhika Madan) is born, Champak celebrates her daughter while the others in the family are heartbroken. Not only he is free from any patriarchal thought process but also a doting single parent. In the end, how he goes against his own will to fulfill his daughter’s dream of studying in London, shows why he is a role model for every feminist dad.
8. Jeetendra Kaushik in ‘Badhaai Ho’
played by Gajraj Rao
If you are wondering how Jeetendra Kaushik, who is a father of two grown-up sons made to the list of feminist dads, then here’s why?
Even after being a father of two grown-up sons, it is heartwarming how Jeetendra Kaushik stood for his wife. When his wife becomes pregnant, though he is hesitant to break this news to his sons and mother but not ashamed of it. Not thinking of what people would say, he stands for his wife’s dignity. As a father, how Jeetendra stands for his wife makes him a perfect role model for his two boys.
9. Mahavir Singh Phogat In Dangal
played by Amir Khan
Mahavir Sigh Phogat’s famous dialogue – ‘Mhari chhoriyan choro se kam hai ke’ – captures the essence of this father’s strong belief in gender equality. Even when society stands against him and his daughters, he never gave up. Though he may be a harsh mentor, he doesn’t let the deeply-rooted patriarchal society defines his daughter’s life. How he takes a stand against the community and defies stereotypes do make us applaud his courage and determination. But the fact that he doesn’t let his daughters make choices about their lives still leaves room for improvement in his parenting style.
10. Kamal Mehra in Dil Dhadakne Do
played by Anil Kapoor
Initially in the movie, Kamal Mehra is shown a shallow, egomaniac father and husband. Not only he wants his daughter to be out of the family business but also fails to understand why she would want to divorce the man he selected for her. But over the course of the movie, how Kamal Mehra makes small yet important steps towards being a feminist father is quite heart-touching. How by the end of the movie, he begins to understand his daughter’s point of view and accepts her decision depicts a beautiful journey of many fathers, who are learning how to be a better parent.
In case you are also blessed with a feminist father, then please share your story with us.