The Many Faces of Fatherhood in Malayalam Cinema

We often see depictions of a mother’s love for her child and her sacrifices for her family’s happiness and contentment. But between all the love and attention filmmakers give mothers, we miss out on crediting fathers and their invaluable contributions. Though we have several fathers in society who are flawed and aren’t really the best examples of ideal fathers, they all have fair reasoning for their approach and behaviour. Mollywood has shown its viewers a variety of father characters, ranging from supportive and friendly to toxic and borderline dangerous. In this article, I’ll talk about 8 characters from recent Malayalam movies, that showcase the types of fathers in today’s society. In no particular order, here are the many faces of fatherhood in Malayalam cinema.

NB: Potential spoilers ahead!

Siddique from Uyare

The Many Faces of Fatherhood in Malayalam Cinema

Uyare is a film that showcases the undying spirit of a young and ambitious woman. In such a situation, what any individual requires is the support and comfort of their parents. For Pallavi, her father was her hero and her pillar of support. Raveendran helps his daughter get through the rough patch, and inspires her to move on with confidence. He doesn’t lose hope or faith when put in a scenario that no father would ever want to be in. Siddique’s layered and nuanced performance makes this role memorable. Raveendran is the perfect example of how a father should support and help his daughter out of a bad situation, inspiring her to fight all odds and live life confidently. 

Suraj Venjaramoodu from Finals

Suraj Venjaramoodu from Finals

Finals showcases a father, who tries to fulfil his long-standing dream through his daughter, only for it to be shattered by destiny’s sudden change of plans. When he sees his dreams and his daughter’s life fall apart, Varghese doesn’t lose hope. He puts on a brave face and tries to convince his daughter that everything is going to be ok. He tries to build her confidence even when she thinks that a comeback is close to impossible. Suraj Venjaramoodu skilfully portrays the type of father who hides his vulnerabilities to ensure that his daughter doesn’t feel demotivated. Fathers like Varghese are definitely a blessing for any child, thereby making him one of the most memorable father roles for me. 

Also Read: 18 Malayalis Share How Their Parents Found Out About Their Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Indrans from #Home

The Many Faces of Fatherhood in Malayalam Cinema

Many fathers in today’s generation are tech-savvy. But a few of them have not caught up yet and have to depend on their children for all things tech. They remind us that the generation gap is real. Oliver Twist from #Home is the perfect example. He is one of the most innocent and honest characters I have seen in a Malayalam movie. Oliver’s struggle to have a robust relationship with children, who have drifted away from him, sinks into us and we can’t help but empathise with him. Indrans delivers such an honest and natural performance as Oliver Twist that this character stays with us long after the movie has ended.

Also Read: Savage Comebacks Our Parents Throw At Us – Malayali Edition!

Suraj Venjaramoodu from Kaanekkaane

All wounds heal with time, right? But Paul from Kaanekkaane was not able to move past the tragic death of his daughter. He knew there was something off and set out to find an answer. His unending drive to find what actually happened to his daughter portrays the extent to which fathers can go for their children. Suraj’s layered and nuanced performance makes one feel for this character and root for his cause. Paul showed us how vulnerable fathers can get if they lose their children and how they are not able to move past that pain.

Joju George from June

The Many Faces of Fatherhood in Malayalam Cinema

Cool parents are always a blessing. Panama Joy from June is one such cool parent. He does not scold June, and in fact, backs June up every time her mother is harsh to her. He is more of a mentor than the traditional strict father figure. Joju George’s simplistic performance has a natural touch that makes this character quite heartwarming. Fathers like Panama Joy show us that parenting is not about harsh disciplining but careful mentoring.

Also Read: Millennials and Parents: A Love-hate Story

Nivin Pauly from 1983

Nivin Pauly from 1983

Many men might have had to sacrifice the pursuit of their passion to support their families. And what a joy it would be for them when they see that their child has the skills to live their dream! That’s exactly what happened to Rameshan in 1983. As a cricket fan and a skilled batter, Rameshan wanted to become a cricketer. But he had to abandon his dream to support his family.

His dream is rekindled by his son Kannan who is also a skilled batter and Rameshan goes all out to make sure that his son gets the best the world has to offer. Nivin transforms beautifully from a teenager to a young father and gave us a character that many young fathers can relate to. There are many Rameshans among us and hopefully, this movie showed them that it is up to them to make sure their children don’t run the same race they did.

Mohanlal from Drishyam 2

The Many Faces of Fatherhood in Malayalam Cinema

We have often heard that a father can go to any extent to save his family from danger. When his family was put in an unexpected situation, Georgekutty makes sure that he saves his family. But what makes him a better father than many we have seen on screen is the empathy he shows for his daughter Anju. While the rest of his family has moved on, Anju is haunted by the past. He understands her trauma and tries to help her cope with it. Even when things spiral out of control, Georgekutty stands his ground and ensures his family, especially Anju, that things are going to be fine. This role was tailormade for Mohanlal and he pulls it off with effortless brilliance. Georgekutty shows us the extent to which a father can go to protect his child.

Mammootty from Puzhu

Mammootty from Puzhu

If all the above characters showcased the good sides of a father and how a good father should behave, Kuttan from Puzhu is the perfect example of what a father should not be. Kuttan has internal conflicts and flaws. This seeps into his parenting and leads to his son, Kicchu, being fearful of him and not loving him. Mammootty’s hauntingly brilliant acting performance gives a terrifying nature to his character. Kuttan reflects the sad reality that such fathers exist in our society, people who don’t like being proved wrong, have prejudices, and assert absolute dominance over their children.

Also Read: Have You Wondered About Your Parents’ Mental Health?

And those were my picks for the types of fathers we have seen on-screen in recent years. Each of these father roles has learnings to offer. In Uyare, Finals and Kaanekkaane, we see fathers who absolutely love their daughters and stand by them through thick and thin. In June and 1983, we see fathers who take a modern approach to parenting. The movie #Home shows us how real the generation gap is and how our parents are really trying to connect with us. In Drishyam 2, we see a leaves no stone unturned to keep his family safe. In Puzhu, we see an abusive father who shows the viewers what bad parenting looks like. There are many more memorable father roles from the classics and recent releases, and I’d love to hear your picks. Mention them in the comments below. 


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