A father is always a child’s first hero. As clichéd as it may sound, it is the gospel truth that everyone believes in. When it comes to Kollywood, there are only a handful of films that have explored the love between a father and his child in detail — and stick out in memory. Movies like Vaaranam Aayiram, Abhiyum Naanum, Raja Rani and Thanga Meenkal are some that pop to mind in the recent past... but considering the industry has a host of classy veterans who can pull off the roles with consummate ease, surely it's time directors started giving these characters due screen presence!
In general, people in Tamil Nadu are sentimental, which might be one of the reasons for directors to concentrate more on a mother-child relationship. If at all, the directors etch a strong father character; their screen-time is limited since the focus is always on the hero!
On Father’s Day, we raise an important question — should there be more films that concentrate on father-child bonding?
Actor-director Samuthirakani’s project Appa, which spoke about how a parent should raise their son or daughter, received a great welcome and is now being remade in Malayalam. The director says that Tamil films have always concentrated on this relationship — “The song Deivangal Ellam from Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga is a fitting testament to a father. Etching a strong character is not easy as all dads have something distinct in them. It depends on the creator and if he does write one, it should be progressive enough for the audience. These days, viewers analyse the information we give, so it is in the hands of the director to research and craft the role accordingly. Only then, will it find a place in the hearts and minds of the people.”
Veteran actor Vijaykumar feels that the Gen-Y directors should delve deeper on the topic. “I feel that the father-son bonding on screen is still not completely explored. However, I can’t say that they haven’t tried at all. The situation is better these days and it is a refreshing change to see dads being friends with their kids. How long can we see strict fathers? We definitely need more strong characters,” he opines.
Of all the roles that Vijaykumar has essayed, he terms his character of Vishwanath from Mani Ratnam’s Agni Natchathiram, as his favourite — “My character was matured enough to handle my two sons from different mothers. I played a contrast character in Kushi — it was comical and entertaining.”
Character artist Jayaprakash is synonymous with the father roles these days. Although he has done the role in several films, it was Suseenthiran’s Naan Mahaan Alla that got him to the limelight.
The actor also has an interesting point to share. He says, “I think when the directors are closer to their dads, they are able to create such characters. In life, a father is not verbose enough to express his love for his kid. It is an inexplicable feeling. My relationship with my father is completely different than my bonding with my daughter. My next film, Thiri, deals with the father-son relationship and I have a strong character.”
The Pannaiyarum Padminiyum actor reveals though that it has been a year since he signed any films in Tamil. “I don’t want to play a father character that doesn’t add value to the story. Any character should be given a lot of thought and it should make sense for the script. If not, it is just a waste of time, energy and money. Directors approached me because I qualify as a typical father, but I am conscious in choosing my films these days,” he exclaims.
Director Vijay, who has crafted strong dad roles in his films, Kireedam and Deiva Thirumagal, feels that filmmakers give equal importance to both mothers and fathers on screen — “Be it a mother-son or father-daughter relationship, directors have come up with several strong characters. Of course, in the future, we must sketch forward thinking characters. After all, children see the world through their father’s eyes. His influence is bigger and at the end of the day, it is your family that greets you with open arms.”