Celebrating Father’s Day: On-Screen Dads We Absolutely Adore Advertisement
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Celebrating Father’s Day: On-Screen Dads We Absolutely Adore

From Chris Gardener in The Pursuit Of Happyness To Phil Dunphy in Modern Family, here are the dads we love.

By Isha Mayer  June 20th, 2021

When it comes to portraying the role of fathers on screen, movies and shows have come a long way. Gone are the days where an audience will accept an alpha-male father. A series of films and shows have proved that a father-child relationship is as special as that with their mothers. Whether it’s Phil Dunphy always cheering for his kids in Modern Family or Sachin Sandhu looking out for his daughter in Thappad, these are the kind of real, on-screen relationships we’ve been seeing and loving. This Father’s Day, we take a look at some of the most positive and progressive on-screen dads who we absolutely adore.

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Chris Gardener, The Pursuit Of Happyness
Featuring the real father-son duo Will Smith and Jaden Smith, The Pursuit Of Happyness is a classic, wholesome movie to watch with your dad any day. Despite the struggle, hardships and financial limitations, Chris Garden, played by Will, beautifully portrays how far a father can go to give his child the life he deserves.


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Daniel Hillard, Mrs Doubtfire
When a divorced man Daniel Hillard (played by Robin Williams), is separated from his children, he devises a plan to spend more time with them. He dresses as an old British woman, Mrs Doubtfire and convinces his ex-wife to hire him as a nanny. The film leads to some hilarious consequences that will put a smile on your face but also bring tears when you see Daniel’s dedication to spending time with his kids.
Anand, Daddy
Mahesh Bhatt’s award-winning movie was an autobiographical story of his own battle with alcoholism. Anand (Anupam Kher) was a famous singer who loses his career over addiction to alcohol. His daughter Pooja (Pooja Bhatt) has always been away from him and grew up with her grandparents. But when she meets her dad and realised the struggles he’s going through, she tries to get close to him and get him to quit drinking. The emotional turmoil the father and daughter go through in their relationship is touching and portrayed well throughout the film, making this one of Anupam’s and Pooja’s best performances ever.
Phil Dunphy, Modern Family
The very funny Phil Dunphy is always in the process of helping his children but ends up messing up. Nevertheless, he’s the biggest cheerleader and one who always supports his kids’ goals and aspirations.
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Sam Baldwin, Sleepless In Seattle
Realising that Sam (played by Tom Hanks) has still not come to terms with his wife, Maggie's death, his eight-year-old son Jonah (Ross Malinger) forces him to call a national radio talk show, with the hopes of finding him a companion. Sam pours his heart out on the talk show about how much he still loved Maggie, which captured the attention of newspaper writer Annie Reed (Meg Ryan). When she sends him a letter asking him to meet her, Jonah finds it and does everything he can to make sure they meet to complete the family.
Mufasa, Lion King
“Remember who you are.” How can we forget these wise words from Lion King’s Mufasa? Even though his time was short in the movie, the iconic character taught us about love, life and loss. When Simba chose to disobey him, he never got upset with him. Mufasa gave up his life to save Simba, and that is the ultimate parental sacrifice, which left a lasting impact on us all.
Ted Kramer, Kramer Vs Kramer
For Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman), work comes before his family. Fed up with his lifestyle, his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) decides to leave him, and Ted now has to take care of housekeeping and his son, Billy (Justin Henry). Tough to deal with each other initially, Ted and Billy’s relationship eventually blossoms into a loving and caring one. And when Joana comes back to get her son, Ted is ready to fight for his custody and never give up on his kid.
Mitch And Cam, Modern Family
Queer couple Mitch and Cam adopt a Vietnamese daughter, and watching them raise her was an absolute treat. From doing photoshoots with her to addressing her first crush, the affectionate relationship among the three is not to miss.
Mahavir Singh Phogat, Dangal
Based on a true story, Aamir Khan plays the role of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a wrestler who trains his daughters Geeta and Babita Phogat to win at the Commonwealth Games. He appeared to be a strict, heartless father who would wake his girl ups in the morning at 5 am to train them but he in doing so, he only wanted to make them tough to be prepared for the challenges in the outside world. At the same time, he would do anything for them. Geeta and Babita Phogat are true examples of fighters who own their success to their father, who carried the dream with him and trained them enough to achieve the success.
Marlin, Finding Nemo
When his son Nemo goes missing, Marlin searches the entire ocean to find him. From fighting sharks to escaping the shock waves from a school of jellyfish and swimming with turtles, Finding Nemo shows how a father will take on the role of a hero and put his life at risk when his kid is in danger.
Johnny Rose, Schitt's Creek
The little things he does make us have a soft corner for Johnny Rose from Schitt’s Creek. Even after losing all his money and property, Johnny adjusts to life in a motel room, along with his family and searches for odd jobs to give them a comfortable life. From never questioning his son David’s sexuality to consoling his daughter Alexis during a tough breakup and always ensuring the family did more things together, for instance, he never gave up on teaching his children what it meant to be a family.
Jay Pritchett, Modern Family
While Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill), step-father to Manny (Rico Rodriguez), always tried to toughen him up, we also witnessed his warm, mushy side as the show progressed when Manny opened up to him and accepted him as his true father. He was always there when Manny needed him.
Bashkor Banerji, Piku
While Amitabh Bachchan’s character Bashkor in Piku mostly showed how paranoid he was with his digestive issues, it’s the portrayal of the relationship he has with his daughter Piku that we all found most relatable. We love how open he was with his daughter. From talking about her not being a virgin in front of a prospective partner to knowing about the no-strings-attached relation she shared with her boss, Bashkor was open-minded, never interfered with Piku’s personal life and encouraged the traits of a strong, independent woman.
Champak Bansal, Angrezi Medium
Played by the late Irrfan Khan, Champak Bansal is a doting father to Radhika Madan’s Tarika, who dreams of going to London for her further studies. From selling his sweet shop to even committing fraud and landing up in jail, he leaves no stone unturned to ensure he collects the money for his daughter’s education.
Philip Banks, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
We will always remember the late James Avery’s iconic role as Philip Banks, the fun-loving, quick-witted dad in The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. For a show that aired in 1996, Philip’s role was very in with the times. While he gave his kids enough leeway and freedom, he was also stern and always encouraged them to pull up their socks.
Amol Arte, Paa
Paa was the third film to bring Amitabh and Abhishek together, in which the real-life son plays the reel-life father. The movie tells the story of Auro (Amitabh Bachchan), who suffers from progeria, a rare genetic disorder that makes him look older than his age and is raised by his single mother (Vidya Balan). As the story progresses, Auro finally meets his biological father and politician, Amol. The two spend time with each other and develop a very special, heartfelt relationship.
Gru, Despicable Me
Intending to become the world’s biggest criminal, supervillain Gru plans a heist of stealing the moon. However, he encounters the challenge of taking care of three little orphaned girls who look at him as their potential dad. The movie progresses from Gru being annoyed at taking care of them to finally seeing his loving, and caring paternal instincts kick in. The bond developed between him and the girls is truly heart-warming to watch.
Narottam Mishra, Bareilly Ki Barfi
Featuring one of the coolest fathers, Narottam Mishra (Pankaj Tripathi) brings an open, progressive mind with a hint of humour in Bareilly Ki Barfi. While people constantly judge his daughter Bitti (Kriti Sanon), he always supports the choices she makes in her life.
Sachin Sandhu, Thappad
Punching patriarchy throughout the movie, Kumud Mishra’s role as Sachin Sandhu in Thappad is what Indian society should be inspired by. When Amrita's (Taapsee Pannu) husband hits her, he doesn’t ask her to accept the circumstances or avenge her honour but instead chooses to focus on her mental wellbeing.