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On Father’s Day, revisiting Mahesh Bhatt’s autobiographical film Daddy

Mahesh Bhatt’s 1989 movie Daddy is still one of his finest. It tells of his own struggle with alcoholism and parenthood.

bollywood Updated: Jun 17, 2018 12:40 IST
Sweta Kaushal
Sweta Kaushal
Hindustan Times
Daddy,Anupam Kher,Mahesh Bhatt
Anupam Kher played a drunkard father to Pooja Bhatt in Daddy.

When I first watched Mahesh Bhatt’s Daddy (1989), I was a schoolgirl, completely in awe of my dad. It was perhaps the first film that made me emotional.

The film is about a young woman who has grown up with her grandparents and accidentally finds her dad, an alcoholic. Despite her grandparents’ warning about her dad, she has an obvious curiosity to know about her father and also wants him to quit alcohol. Will he quit liquor and unite with her, or is he too wasted to come back? The answer is an emotional journey that forms the narrative of Daddy. Pooja Bhatt played Pooja, the daughter, while Anupam Kher essayed the role of the drunkard father.

On Father’s Day this year, we take a closer look at National Award winning film, Daddy.

Both Anupam and Pooja gave one of their career-best performances in the film. Daddy also got Anupam his first national Award, while it marked Pooja’s Bollywood debut. Daddy is an autobiographical story of director Mahesh Bhatt’s own battle with alcoholism.

Apart from a sensitive portrayal of an alcoholic’s troubles and his fights to set himself free from the claws of the addiction, Daddy also focusses on the daughter-father relationship.

Anand (Anupam) was a famous singer who lost his career and fame after he gave in to alcohol. His struggles to meet his own daughter, who has been away from him throughout her life, unravel as the daughter tries to get close to him and get him to quit alcohol. The emotional turmoil both the father and daughter go through during the journey is touching and realistic.

One of the most striking scenes is towards the end, right before Anand is about to make a public performance after ages: he is tempted to drink and almost gives in. It is only after an applause-worthy performance that we realise he has actually quit alcohol because his love for his daughter made him overcome the addiction.

However, the film wasn’t initially meant to be happy ending. “I changed the climax of the film a night before we shot it. Since I quit alcohol owing to my conscience, I tweaked the climax to show my protagonist doing the same,” Mahesh Bhatt had earlier told Hindustan Times.

Daddy is a film about fighting back, winning over addiction with help from family and the importance of a filial bond. With equal stress and emotional upheavals, the film emphasises on the importance of a father in a daughter’s life.

Claiming he learnt a lot on sets of Daddy, Anupam had told HT, “Not all films can teach us about life. But Mahesh Bhatt’s Daddy is one of my favourites. The emotional journey that I went through for the character of Anand was tremendous. I learnt that no matter what, there is always a reason to get up and fight back.”

Daddy also had some wonderful songs that were composed by Rajesh Roshan and mostly sung by Talat Aziz. Be it the cute Sapno Ke Ghar Ki or the touching Wafa Jo Tumse, all the numbers in the album were a hit. Talat’s Aaina Mujhse was particularly popular and spoke about the characters with much poetic beauty.

An emotional film, you must watch Daddy with your dad if you plan to celebrate Father’s day with him.

First Published: Jun 17, 2018 12:38 IST