Bollywood films are so steeped in classic Indian traditions that fathers and mothers form an integral part of most storylines; if not directly, then at least tangentially.
While films featuring mothers have nearly become immortal in Bollywood annals (Nargis Dutt in Mother India, Nirupa Roy in Deewar, Amar Akbar Anthony, and a dozen other films, Reema Lagoo in Maine Pyar Kiya, et all), fathers have assumed an important role only recently.
Before that fathers made a significant appearance in only certain films, and such occasions came few and far in between.
Since 2000, post the Dil Chahta Hai wave, in Bollywood fathers have become friends, philosophers, and guides.
More films than ever have focused on the father-son bonding (Waqt – Race against Time, Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Paa, etc.); some even hooked on a dicey father-daughter relationship (Pappu Can’t Dance Saala, Well Done Abba).
Why are these Bollywood Dads popular? Why do people love them? Let’s know by reading further.
Best Bollywood Dads Who Deserve A Special Mention
We compiled a list of the best Bollywood on-screen Dads and shared what we absolutely loved about them. These on-screen fathers are role models, not just for their children, but for all of us. They are kind, generous, and loving, and they make us believe that anything is possible.
These incredible Bollywood fathers have been praised by critics and audiences alike and have been voted among the most loved Bollywood actors. Here are the best Bollywood dads who deserve a special mention.
13. Pankaj Tripathi as ANUP SAXENA – Gunjan Saxena
Anup Saxena (Pankaj Tripathi) and Gunjan Saxena (Jhanvi Kapoor) had a very special father-daughter relationship. He gave her the strength to soar and didn’t limit her to choose a career out of stereotype roles for women.
She wanted to become a pilot, a male-dominated career and he made sure to pick her up every time she fell.
One of the most beautiful father-daughter scenes in the film Gunjan Saxena was one where Anup Saxena (Pankaj Tripathi) asks her to make a parantha, very well knowing that she never cooked before.
It was all to pull her from thought made to believe by the outside world that being married is the only thing for a woman. Despite disapproval from his wife and son, he makes sure that Gunjan achieves her dreams of getting into the Indian Air Force.
He is truly the father every girl deserves and that makes him one of the best Bollywood dads ever.
12. Kumud Mishra as SACHIN SANDHU – Thappad
Kumud Mishra played the role of Sachin Sandhu, father of Amrita (Taapsee Pannu) in the film Thappad. As a father, he was a dream come true. He didn’t let his concern for his child’s well-being come in the way of giving the independence the child deserves.
His first response to Taapsee’s incident getting hit wasn’t to avenge her honor or accept the fact that she got hit. In fact, his first reaction was to worry about her mental state.
Amrita was a daddy’s girl who wanted her partner to be like her father.
When his daughter, Amrita files for divorce and asks him for his advice, he does not ask her to save her married life at any cost, scare her with consequences or blame her. Instead, with his words, he prepared her for the life to come.
Fathers who trust and support their children and stand with them no matter what make Mr. Sandhu one of the best Bollywood dads of recent times.
11. Aamir Khan as MAHAVIR SINGH PHOGAT – Dangal
Mahavir Singh isn’t one of the dads who just dreams of getting his daughter married “at the right time”. Instead, he believes in them to go beyond the world’s expectations and win a gold medal.
Mahavir Singh Phogat is a former wrestler who couldn’t bring home a gold medal for his country. A man who inspires his daughters to achieve their dreams to follow his dreams is nothing short of a hero. He trained his daughters with the nuances of wrestling, inspired them, and supported them at every step.
He is one of the most inspiring on-screen dads in the film Dangal who happens to be a real-life hero too. He trained his daughters with every nuance of wrestling, inspires them, and To turn his own dream into reality, he trains his daughters with every bit of wrestling and inspires them
“Hamari choriyan choro se kam hai ke? (Our girls are no less than our boys?)” is Mahavir’s most famous dialogue from Dangal. And That’s what every father must tell his daughter.
10. Salman Khan as SURAJ DHANRAJGIR – Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai
Salman Khan played Suraj Dhanrajgir in this film – a trend that has barely changed in the last 25 years that we’ve seen him. What makes Jab Pyar Kisise’s Hota Hai’s Suraj a special father is a cool companionship he shared with his on-screen son Aditya Narayan.
There’s this one patch in the movie where Suraj absolutely detests this kid who has shown up at random at his door claiming to be his soon.
You would think the manner in which the father-son bond thaws, grows, and develops, would be beyond Salman Khan, but the man pulls it off and convincingly so!
9. Kamal Hasan as JAIPRAKASH PASWAN – Chachi 420
It was ostensibly ripped off Mrs. Doubtfire, no doubt … but Kamal Hasan who played the role of Jaiprakash Paswan, a father of a girl had to turn as Chachi in Chachi 420 was one of the best man-dressed-as-woman portrayals India has ever seen.
The actor–director’s crafty ingenuity, ace coming timing, and on-screen chemistry with the girl blended to give us one of our generation’s most popular films that appealed to the young and old and were critically acclaimed (only DDLJ, Lagaan, 3 Idiots, and Dabangg come to mind otherwise) too!
One of the film’s must-watch scenes involves Kamal Hasan trying to stop his own daughter from crying while he himself holds back from breaking down in the middle of the son.
Just the idea that a father could go to such uncanny lengths to stay connected with his daughter and see her every day makes you want to have a world full of such Dads!
8. Amitabh Bachchan as RAJ MALHOTRA – Baghban
Post Mohabbatein, The Big Bachchan has appeared in a host of films as the father or the elderly statesman full of ethics and virtues, while some were run of the mill, some don’t even deserve a grey cell of memory. Three of his films and performances stand out – these are shared credits, not shared spots.
Raj Malhotra, the role played by Big B in Baghban will go down the history as the film that revived the traumatic mother-father template of Bollywood. A host of films followed (many with Bachchan), but Baghban stayed special.
Sir Bachchan’s shift as the doting husband dismayed at being separated from his wife to the father who realizes the value he brings to the family holds no respect to the rebellious old man who isolates himself from his children who treated him and his wife like dirt – the veteran changed shades and displayed histrionic dimensions that no actor of his or the next two generations could even imagine too.
7. Amitabh Bachchan as VIDYADHAR PATWARDHAN – Virruddh
Not many have seen Virruddh, but those who have seen it will swear by the fact that it is undoubtedly one of Bachchan’s most powerful performances. A man fighting to get his dead son the justice he deserves, while entangling himself in political sonorities was not a novel character.
But trust Bachchan to display a whole range of emotions – from a happy-go-lucky pensioner to a proud father-in-law, to a father having lost his only son to a freak shootout, to a man at war with the police and political class. Virruddh is one of Amitabh Bachchan’s best performances in his second innings.
Tip: Watch out for that scene where Vidyadhar Patwardhan, played by Bachchan returns to his jogging park morning routine after his son’s death; sits in a corner and tries to force a loud laugh along with the senior citizens’ laughter club in the park. Mahesh Manjrekar’s execution and Amitabh Bachchan’s brilliance in this one scene are enough to leave you spellbound!
6. Naseeruddin Shah as D.K. MALHOTRA – Masoom
D.K. is married. Happy with his wife and two daughters. And then his world comes crashing down. Past shows up in the form of an illegitimate son – Rahul (played by the overwhelmingly cute Jugal Hansraj).
Masoom was really about Shekhar Kapoor’s narration and execution, followed by Shabana Azmi and Jugal Hansraj’s performances, followed by Naseeruddin Shah’s portrayal of the distressed but willing father.
The seasoned performer so wonderfully underplayed his character that as the film draws to a curtain you start wondering that was it Rahul who changes Azmi’s mind or was it the father’s conviction in his son that forced her to change it.
5. Rishi Kapoor as SANTOSH DUGGAL – Do Dooni Chaar
A middle-class Delhi mathematics teacher juggling school, coaching classes, prankster students, tight finances alongside insane family demands for cars and refrigerators in the movie Do Dooni Chaar.
There’s no chance on any planet in all of the solar systems you could’ve imagined Rishi Kapoor doing this, especially given his track record as the funny and romantic chocolate boy who refused to get out of the image even as he went past 40. But boy did Kapoor Sr. stun you and how!
He was so banging on target with his Dilli dialect and simplistic teacher portrayal that he nearly pushed out all his co-stars over the edge, and that includes his wife Neetu Kapoor.
That scene at McDonald’s where an ex-alumnus turns up and reminisces about his memories attached with ‘Duggal sir and his scooter’ and forces Santosh Duggal to change his mind is a little too Bollywood but bang on target as the climax. Watch Rishi Kapoor duck out of that situation, first emotionally … then comedically – DAZZLING!
4. Amitabh Bachchan as ISHWARCHAND THAKUR – Waqt: Race against Time
Bachchan has always shared terrific chemistry with Akshay Kumar – as a father in Ek Rishtaa and Waqt – Race against Time or even otherwise in Khakhee and Aankhen.
In the movie, Waqt, both the actors turned their ham quotient up a notch but allowed the camaraderie to stay warm.
Bachchan’s Ishwarchand Thakur was a buddy, even a bully, but took the harsh step when it came to getting his son to fall in line and start taking life more seriously.
3. Anupam Kher as DHARAMVIR MALHOTRA – Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
Dharamvir Malhotra’s character was too aspirational for 1995 and hence fondly remembered. He was a father-cum-best friend who understands the conflicts in his son’s heart. He not only let his son openly confide his secrets and failures into him but also celebrated them with his son.
In a country where parents are obsessed with a child’s grades and safe careers, his reaction when Raj flunked his exam was unimaginable. He encouraged Raj to pursue his first love and support him in every way he could. What more do you want?
2. Utpal Dutt as BHAVANI SHANKAR – Golmaal
“Sirf Aloo ke Paraathe hi kyun? Calcutte ka Rajbhog khilaunga, Agre ka petha, Mathura ka Peda aur Banaras ka Kalakand. Khao Beta. Khaoge nahin to taakat kaise aayegi?”
is one of the best comic declamations in Hindi cinema, and it needed an actor of Utpal Dutt’s talent to pull it off.
The traditional and quirky patriarch leading too much of an ideal life could have easily turned into a hated man. But Hrishikesh Mukherjee left it to Dutt to turn into one of Indian cinema’s finest comic parts.
1. Dilip Kumar as ASHWINI KUMAR – Shakti
It is somewhat of an irony that one of Hindi cinema’s greatest talents played a variety of father roles in his white-haired days but none except Shakti and Saudagar made any mark.
The greatest disaster remains Vidhaata. Coming back to Shakti, it was the supreme coming together of two of Hindi cinema’s greatest idols – Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan.
In hindsight, Shakti was all and all Dilip Kumar’s entity, he played the role of DCP Ashwani Kumar in the movie. Bachchan’s job was just to stand up to him and match him, and he did that superbly.
Strained father-son relationships are easy to go haywire as acting to ‘hate’ can sometimes go overboard, but trust the thespian to depict a character that exhibited love, pain, anger, and discontent with his son at the same time.
Shakti’s climax starting with “Ruk jaao Vijay warna main goli chala doonga” to “Vijay mar gaya” was one of the finest on-reel acting shows existing on Earth.
Wrapping Up The Best On-Screen Dads Performances
These Bollywood dads are amazing and definitely deserve a special mention for their exemplary on-screen parenting. There are many more examples of terrific father performances in Bollywood, to name a few –
- Prithviraj Kapoor (Mughal-E-Azam)
- AshokKumar (Aashirwad, Khoobsurat, KhattaMeetha)
- Aamir Khan (Akele Hum Akele Tum)
- AmrishPuri (Gardish, Virasat, Hulchul)
- AnupamKher (Saaransh, Daddy, KyaKehna)
- FaaroqueShaikh (YehJawaaniHaiDeewani)
- Abhishek Bachchan (Paa)
They have all been great fathers to their children and have supported them in everything they do. From being role models to providing emotional support, these dads have done it all.
They are definitely a source of inspiration for all fathers and set a great example for society. So, let’s salute these amazing on-screen dads and appreciate all that they have done for their children! We hope that more fathers will follow in their footsteps and become better parents.
Drop-in your picks in the comments section below if you don’t find them here. We would like to hear from you.
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