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Dads not just money bags: Changing role of fathers

Saturday June 18, 2011 10:58:51 PM, Radhika Bhirani, IANS

New Delhi: "It is a wise father that knows his own child" - Shakespeare's words continue to resonate in the modern world where fathers are moving away from being strict, disciplinarian figures to a source of emotional support for their children.

"My father is not just my father! Of course, he is strict at times as far as my studies are concerned, he gives me limited money like all stingy fathers...but he is also a great friend. He takes me out on weekends, we go bowling, we discuss my personal life, he guides me...and he is a fantastic counsellor!" Abhinav Sethi, a 17-year-old college-goer here, told IANS.

Many fathers have started going out of their way to understand their child - once the preserve of mothers.

"I think it is very important to connect with the child; otherwise they will always be in fear of you. If we try to be friends with them, they will share a lot of stuff with us, as they do with their friends. There's so much stress these days, so much if we start pressurising them with the typical father ways, it's not going to help at all," says Arvind Singh, a father to two boys.

Films reflect society in many ways and it seems to be true in terms of the portrayal of a father on the big or small screen. The entertainment industry has attempted to portray the more compassionate side of fathers in recent times.

Ekta Kapoor's recently launched TV show "Bade Achche Lagte Hain" shows actress Sakshi Tanwar's on-screen father as more loving, considerate and understanding than her mother. In "Pavitra Rishta", Sushant Singh Rajput's character has a father who is more compassionate than his mother.

Earlier shows like "Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin" or "Astitva - Ek Prem Kahani" showed protagonists enjoying better communication with their dads respectively.

Cut to celluloid and films like "Wake Up Sid!", "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham", "Waqt: The Race Against Time", "Apne" and "Yamla Pagla Deewana" have portrayed the father's vulnerable side.

A recent survey by online matrimony site revealed how a father is moving towards a role where the child can look up to him for a feedback and be the confidant while choosing a life partner.

About 45 percent of the 25,000 respondents, who were independent youngsters looking for a life partner on their own, depended on their dads to help them make a decision.

"The new generation of children of marriageable age are starting to lean towards their parents for opinion. Traditionally it was the mother who played the influencing factor and the father the decision maker," said Rohit Manghnani, business head,

Today the roles are changing and the survey shows that young men or women take the decision and parental feedback is a key influencing factor, said Manghnani, adding, "The father has also started playing the role of the influencer rather than the decisionmaker."

But there are some who belong to old school of thoughts. Popular sarod players Ayaan and Amaan Ali Khan, who have a guru in their father, sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, says their father likes to maintain a certain protocol.

"It took us time to draw the line as to when he was a father and when he was a guru. This realisation obviously happened as we grew older. We feel ecstatic to think and realize from time to time that our guru is our father. As classical musicians, music for us was not just a profession but a complete way of life.

"Abba is an old timer with regard to many things. For one, even though he is a dear friend to us, a certain protocol in the relationship is always maintained," the duo told IANS.

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at







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