New Delhi: In less than 24 hours from now, when we celebrate Father’s Day, it will serve as a fitting tribute to the pivotal role played by the patriarch in protecting and nurturing his family. A careful look at Hindi cinema reveals that there is no dearth of movies which celebrate the bond between a father and his children. 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge', 'Daddy' and 'Shakti' are just a few such films that come to mind.
The same, however, cannot be said about the contemporary Television industry. Most of the shows which are popular these days revolve around the aspirations of female characters, ignoring the importance of strong father figures.
The ironic nature of this situation is magnified even further by the fact that there was once a time when Indian television was synonymous with strict highly relatable patriarchal figures. Here is a look at some such 'cool dads' who have graced the small screen over the years.
Gautam Kapoor (Kanwalijit Singh): Regarded as one of the most popular serials of the 1990s, 'Saans' revolved around a married man who falls in love with a feisty young woman. Featuring Kanwalijit Singh in the lead, it received tremendous acclaim for highlighting the strained yet tender relationship between the lead character and his children. 'Saans' was directed by popular actress Neena Gupta.
Moloy Basu (Deepak Qazir): Revolving around the tragic love story of two friends, 'Kasauti Zindagi Ki' created quite a stir amongst audiences,courtesy its gripping plot and riveting performances. Essaying the role of a supportive father, Deepak Qazir delivered a gripping performance, striking up a crackling rapport with his onscreen son.
Indravadhan Sarabhai (Satish Shah): Directed by Deven Bhojani, 'Sarabhai vs Sarabhai' highlighted the fun-filled life of a Gujarati family. It is perhaps best remembered for Satish Shah’s unforgettable portrayal of a jovial dad who constantly indulges in some 'nok-jhok' with his son. The show also featured Ratna Pathak Shah and Rupali Ganguly in important roles.
Anand Mathur (Ashok Saraf): Even though 'Hum Paanch' revolved around the lively friendship between five bubbly sisters, it still managed to give Indian television its most lovable father figures of all time - Anand Mathur. Portrayed by Ashok Saraf, the character has in many ways become the very hallmark of a worried yet 'bindass' parent.
Dharamraj (Ronit Roy): Touted as a gripping social drama, 'Bandini' dealt with a middle aged widower who gets married to a young girl. The show highlighted in great detail how this marriage takes a toll on his relationship with his five sons. The narrative was laced with moments which emphasized on various aspects of the father-son bond right from conflict or compassion.
This shift in the type of content produced can be attributed to the industry’s desire to make shows that appeal to women.
“TV shows are extremely popular amongst women. We as an industry have to carter to our core audience. Hence, most shows feature strong female protagonists. Moreover, the content on TV is also governed by predominant trends. So if one heroine-centric show, others try to come up with something along similar lines.” says Aamir Dalvi.
The lack of patriarchs in TV shows, however, has not ruffled too many feathers in the industry. “TV shows are made with the sole purpose of entertaining fans. The absence of father figures is not a problem and neither does it impact the quality of content. Moreover, it also does not have any negative impact on society,” Says veteran TV star Ronit Roy.