Tamil films have long reflected real-life, conventional father figures. Still, in rare instances, filmmakers looked at fatherhood through a modern perspective, examining how the dynamics of father-child relationships, as well as their roles and influences in the lives of children, have evolved through time.
This Father's Day, let's take a look at five film characters that departed from the typical depiction of fatherhood and left a lasting impact as ideal 'modern dads':
Abhiyum Naanum - Prakash RajThe list will be incomplete without including this gem! Radha Mohan's 2008 film 'Abhiyum Naanum' explores the many phases Raghuraman (Prakash Raj) goes through as a father from the day his only daughter Abhi (Trisha) entered his life until her adulthood. The story is inspired by the 1950 film 'Father of the Bride.'
While the movie does a great job of showing the beauty of a father-daughter relationship, Raghuram is far from a traditional father. Instead of imposing his beliefs on his daughter and demanding obedience, he tries to understand Abhi and her life choices and "grows" as a father along with her.
Kanaa - SathyarajIt is fairly common for Tamil families to marry off their daughters once they reach marriageable age. Often, women are compelled to choose between their profession and marriage.
However, in the 2018 film 'Kanaa' directed by Arunraja Kamaraj, a cricket-loving father, Murugesan (Sathyaraj), defies all odds and norms to make his daughter Kowsi's dream to be an international cricketer a reality.
Kowsi wishes to make her father happy by winning a gold medal in cricket for India, and her father wishes to help her achieve this goal. Murugesan paid little attention to the villagers who condemned Kowsi for wearing boyish t-shirts and trousers during her training.
Peranbu - MammootyThe plot of 'Peranbu,' directed by Ram, revolves around Amudhavan (Mammootty) and his cerebral palsy-afflicted 14-year-old daughter Paapa (Thangameengal Sadhana). His wife abandons them, leaving him entirely responsible for Paapa.
He struggles to get along with the daughter, and every time he attempts to improve their lives, he finds himself at a dead end. Despite many setbacks, Amudhavan strives to understand and connect to his daughter. He is not only her father but also her friend and caregiver.
Amudhavan's portrayal shows how the commonly accepted notion of gender roles in parenthood is progressively fading, and dads are taking on more significant responsibilities in their children's lives, formerly borne by mothers.
Deiva Thirumagal - VikramThe 2011 film 'Deiva Thirumagal' follows an intellectually-challenged father (Vikram) on an emotional journey as he battles for custody of his daughter. Directed by AL Vijay, Vikram's role in the film remains one of the greatest in his career.
He understood his inability to provide for her as she grew, and he simply wanted what was best for his daughter, even if it meant they couldn't be together.
This film challenges the concept of an 'ideal' father figure who is supposed to be a provider, protector, or guide. However, in the end, it concludes that to be a good father, one must simply love their child and keep their best interests in mind.
Vaaranam Aayiram - SuriyaGautham Menon's 2008 film 'Vaaranam Aayiram' is a beautiful ode to fathers like Krishnan, who sails through happiness and sorrow with his son Suriya. In this film, actor Suriya portrays both the father and the son.
After learning of his father's death, the son reflects on significant events in his life that illustrate his father's impact through unwavering support that carried him from the depths of pain to self-realization.
From supporting his dreamy love odyssey to the United States to having faith in him in the traumatic aftermath of his lover's death, Krishnan has repeatedly proven himself to be not only a father but Suriya's strongest supporter and believer.
Photo Credit: Cinema Express, Chiyaan Vikram FANS, Letterbox, Deccan Chronicle, IMDb & Indiaglitz