The peis are out. So are the moms. Now, Kollywood’s latest accessory is a child, and there’s nothing the average Tamil fan likes more than seeing their favourite star play dad onscreen. The directors, of course, know this too well – so they make dads out of their heroes. Throw in an exclusive father-child song, and the ‘family-audience’ is in the bag. But, all the over-the-top dramatics and emotions aside, how many of these Tamil cinema fathers engage in hardcore parenting on screen?
Vijay – Theri
Dad Joke Level: High, but only because of that wig.
Dad Most Likely To: Let his child do the parenting herself, while appreciating her efforts with a well-placed ‘Theri Baby’ here and there.
Theri Baby dominated social media and general teenage slang for so long that this writer was forced to consider moving to a different state to not encounter it. Fans though, loved Vijay enough to see beyond his ill-fitting wig, and general bro-like behaviour, and find the good dad within.
Ajith Kumar – Yennai Arindhaal
Dad Joke Level: Low
Dad Most Likely To: Buy his daughter Ayn Rand for her 12th birthday.
Gautham Menon exploited Ajith’s dad-like gravitas to great benefit in Yennai Arindhaal. And, it worked. Ajith has done the cop role before, he’s been salt-n-pepper before too. But, never has he gone on a sudden, long adventure with the child of his ex-girlfriend. If you’re one of those who cried softly into your butter popcorn at Unakkena Venum Sollu, then you know you liked this dad. But, you have to kind of wonder at the kind of parenting this man does. He leaves the child behind, as he goes on some vengeful mission to avenge his ex-girlfriend. We reserve judgment.
Surya Sivakumar – Pasanga 2
Dad Joke Level: Zero, this one’s all sincere, folks!
Dad Most Likely To: Spout Dr Spock at every possible opportunity/ use more makeup than the wife/ let children grow wild and free.
Suriya brought his unique brand of goodie two shoes mixed with 2% roguish charm to Pasanga 2. A film about two couples – one who didn’t understand children, and the other uniquely gifted pair that seemed to do it just right.
Of course, Suriya’s star image doesn’t allow him to be one of the bad ones. So, he’s the poster dad who does things with kids, and looks happy all the time.
Kishore – Haridas
Dad Joke Level: Nil.
Dad Most Likely To: Use his police belt to whip you and whip you hard!
Kishore plays an emotionally stunted police man who finds it difficult to handle his autistic son. Everyone’s human and all that jazz. While he redeems himself cinema style later on in the film, he broods way too much in the first half to ever be anything more than a stereotype.
Ram – Thangameengal
Dad Joke Level – Uhhh.
Dad Most Likely To: Steal a pet dog for daughter. Because, love.
What happens when a crazy person becomes a dad? What happens when an immature man is allowed to procreate? Thanga Meengal answers both those questions satisfactorily. Kalyani (Ram) is the personification of all the things that makes a sane person gnash their teeth in annoyance. Unfit parent, unfit spouse, unfit employee – Kalyani is not your average Tamil cinema hero. Maybe that is worthy of some applause. But, but, but – his lack of dad skills don’t really make him a good candidate.
Deepak Paramesh – Unakkenna Venum Sollu
Dad Joke Level: Oh, the horror!
Dad Most Likely To: See ghosts everywhere.
Deepak is the pei parent. A dead girl child comes back to haunt him and his ex-girlfriend. And perhaps by virtue of this sheer novelty alone, one can applaud Deepak for his ability to go where none has before. When the next pei parent film comes through though, this one will be knocked off the award shelf.
Sibi Sathyaraj: Kattappava Kaanom, Naaigal Jaakirathai
Dad Joke Level: Middling.
Dad Most Likely To: Lose child when out for a fun ride.
Sibi has forged a unique path for himself in the industry. He has played parent to a dog and a fish in his last few films. Of course, neither animal did all that great.
Prasanna Venkatesan – Pa Paandi
Dad Joke Level: Love.
Dad Most Likely To: Make sound arguments about the virtues of idly over cereal for breakfast; not smile at all for long periods of time unless reminded.
Prasanna is your typical, overworked and frustrated IT worker. In his sharp suits and fancy car, one would think he’d get himself a psychiatrist. But, his favourite way of de-stressing is by unloading all his frustration on his father. In front of his kids. Not a good example, bro.