Countless writers and filmmakers have been inspired to weave stories around extraordinary father figures in classics like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Father of the Bride.’ This Father’s Day on June 19, tune into similar stories that celebrate the crucial role fathers play in the lives of their children by providing unconditional love, warmth, comfort, inspiration and guidance.
The Lion King
This 1994 animated classic depicts with great emotional depth how even after his death, the legacy of the formidable Mufasa continued to inspire his cub Simba. Though initially, overwhelmed by grief, Simba flees into exile but soon the support of his friend Nala, and his shaman Rafiki, help him to take his rightful place in the circle of life. He not only avenges his father’s murder but also brings back peace to a polarized animal kingdom. The lessons taught by Mufasa are relevant not just for Simba but also for the audience as they remind us to nurture our relationships, have a broader vision of life and to take well-measured decisions that benefit everyone. The film also shows that a father’s love outlives loss, grief and death. The Lion King is streaming on Disney + Hotstar and its sterling voice cast includes the likes of Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Rowan Atkinson, and Whoopi Goldberg.
The Sound of Music
At the heart of this 1965 classic movie, is a simple story of joyful parenting where a stern father learns that more than discipline, his children need his time and attention. Embittered by the loss of his wife, Captain Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) treats his children like military cadets and reprimands them if they break his impossible to follow rules. He spends little or no time with them. It is when a spirited new Governess Maria (Julie Andrews) stands up to him and brings playfulness, music and joy back in the life of the children, that he melts and not only rediscovers his fondness for singing but also becomes the loving father his children always craved for. In a moment of acute crisis, he is calm, protective and brave and guides his family out of Austria after the Nazi invasion. You can catch ‘The Sound of Music Live!,’ a star-studded live production brought to India by Zee Theatre. Now playing on TataPlay Theatre, this version stars multiple Grammy winning Carrie Underwood, as Maria along with a stellar cast.
This 2021 biographical sports drama film stars Will Smith as Richard Williams, the father and coach of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams. Williams became a highly controversial figure in the tennis circuit when Venus and Serena were growing up because he pushed them sometimes too hard to excel and also controlled their careers unapologetically. Along with his wife Brandy, he raised a family of three step-daughters, and Venus and Serena like a man on a mission. From organizing the routines of his daughters to making sure they never lost sight of their goals, he often went too far but is today recognized as the force behind their success stories. He taught his girls that success is not incidental but has to be willed into existence and that is why he made a plan for them even before they were born. He coached them daily while holding two jobs and when the time came, found the coaches who would polish their raw talent to a sparkle. The film is streaming on amazon Prime Video.
This Is Us
‘This Is Us’, streaming now on Disney + Hotstar is a family drama that provides rich insights into parenting and how fatherhood does not need to be hyper masculine and can be gentle and emotionally nurturing. Jack and Rebecca Pearson are at the heart of the story as they raise three children Kevin, Kate, and Randall through various challenges including the racism that Randall, their African-American adopted child faces while growing up. The story takes a turn when Jack dies suddenly post a devastating fire that burns the family home to ground. The story of how this loss impacts the family and how Jack’s love continues to inspire his children to deal with life’s many challenges spans across six seasons that make you laugh, cry, learn and grow. The much acclaimed show stars Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson and others.
Billy Elliot: The Musical
This Zee Theatre offering revolves around Billy Elliot, a young boy growing up in Everington, a fictional mining town in County Durham, England. Billy lives with his widowed coal miner father Jackie, older brother Tony and maternal grandmother. In this rather bleak and ordinary existence, where his father expects him to learn boxing, Billy stumbles upon ballet dancing and falls in love with it. Jackie is a conventional, stern father who thinks that Billy’s passion for dancing will make people think that he is gay. Billy however continues to learn ballet and his unwavering faith in his dream finally wins not just the approval of his father but the support of his town. The musical, while depicting how a generation gap can make it hard for a father and son to communicate, also shows that finally, love can bridge any distance. The moment when Billy performs the lead in ‘Swan Lake’ while his father and brother watch in wonder, evokes loud cheers from the audience every single time. ‘Billy Elliot : The Musical’ is directed by Stephen Daldry and Brett Sullivan and stars Elliot Hanna, Ruthie Henshall and Deka Walmsley. It is being screened on TataPlay Theatre.