The big fat Indian families on the silver screen have always caught fancy of cine-goers. The larger the family, the more vibrant would be the assembled cast.
The group of actors forming a reel family; the emotions, the drama, the confusion, and the chaos is exciting to watch. They make us cry with them, laugh with them and we become their extended family members. Be it the grandest or the richest families, these people on screen have a unique way of making us feel connected to them. From Yashraj to Kapoor to the world of the Johars or the relatable next door family members of the Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee’s world.
1980’s was the time of the most realistic family equations in Hindi cinema. ‘Apne Paraye’ is a story about the joint family of three brothers. The eldest brother, who is the patriarch of the family is oblivious to the chaos in his house. His wife is innocent and impressionable. She loves her sister-in-law’s kids more than her own. A half-brother who is a carefree musician and has lost his elder brother’s money in many small ventures and his wife who solely looks after the functioning of domestic errands. The trouble begins when the cunning second brother and his wife come to stay with them and object to the half-brother being careless and the domestic control being in the hands of younger ‘bahu’. The story is formulaic and usually full of misunderstanding, communication gap, good people getting influenced by shrewd ones, brothers getting caught amidst the ego issues of their wives. However, everyone eventually realizes their fault in the end and stay happily together.
A family divided by household chores and united by the “bawarchi” (Eng: chef). There is nothing peaceful in the house ironically named as “Shanti Niwas”. A family of a whiny and whimsical Dadu, his three sons, their wives and kids who are of ill repute. They have to search for a new cook every other month as no one wants to work there. Everyone wants to mind their own business and have their own little worlds inside ‘Shanti Niwas’. Everything in the house changes when a bawarchi named ‘Raghu’ enters and teaches them simple lessons of life. They learn to co-exist as a happy loving family. The Sharma family is one of the most adorable families in Hindi cinema because despite having many differences, they have no bitterness and enmity amongst them.
Dil Dhadakne Do:
The urbane, polished, elegant and deliciously hypocrite Mehras. The selfish, poking, not-ideal parents are on top of the ladder yet they are society fearing people. Zoya Akhtar has been criticized for portraying first world problems on a luxurious setting. But on the forefront, which of these problems are restricted to sophisticated families. A family where the parents’ happy marriage is a scam, the patriarch is ready to kneel before any beautiful company, mother has turned into a bitter snooty socialite, daughter’s achievements are conveniently ignored and son has to keep aside his dream of flying to keep up with the honor and traditions of his business family. The family confronts every individual and mutual ordeal while on a grand cruise to celebrate the parents’ 25th anniversary. They blame, they fight, they confront each other and eventually come out happy and together. The Mehras may not be the ideal family members but are one of the most relatable and on a thoughtful note, who wouldn’t like to join the clan for a cruise.
Do Dooni Chaar:
A middle-aged teacher and his family striving to make ends meet at the metropolitan Delhi and their dream of owning a car. The film portrays the family’s struggles, their dreams, and their disappointments. It narrates how a private school teacher with basic salary struggles to have both the ends meet to fulfil the wishes of his family members. At last, his children come to a realization and find the respect for their father and his profession. Doesn’t it sound like any of our stories?
Dum Laga Ke Haisha:
The family who is unapologetically poor wants to marry their son to an overweight girl because of her prospects of a government job. The father who still takes out his slippers to beat his 20 something son, typical nagging buaji, a good for nothing son and fierce bahu. They are the most unabashed funny family members. They take relief on hearing the squeaking sounds from the bed of the newlyweds. They faint and cry over a court notice of the divorce and have an innate ability to make a picnic out of court visit. The Tiwaris, Vermas and the whole extended family members of their relatives, friends and neighbours is a marvel universe in itself.
Kapoor & Sons- Since 1921:
When was the last time we saw such camaraderie between grand-father and his grand-children? The Kapoors make us relive our memories with our grandparents. However, they are possibly the most dysfunctional family members. They angered and disturbed us most of the time, but at the same time, also had the ability to make us cry bucketloads. The Kapoors have skeletons in their closet. Nobody’s perfect in the family. But you feel sorry for them, you want to hug them tight and tell them that it will be alright.
Khosla Ka Ghosla:
This movie goes out to every kid who is embarrassed by his family, by their regular dramas, by the helplessness of things that is never going to change and want to run away from their daily chaos will find a strong connection to ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’. Khosla family is overwhelmed on buying a new house with their lives’ savings. The father is exhilarated to finally give a big house to his kids where they can individually have their own rooms. The biggest one is assigned to the elder son but the son has American dreams in his eyes and doesn’t want to limit his opportunities by staying back with the family. Struck by a huge scam they lose their house to a local land mafia which brings them together as a family for the first time. ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’ also beautifully defined the relationship between a middle-class, old-school father and his ambitious son.
A happy family of a couple and their two daughters get disturbed when the husband’s son out of wedlock enters the household as an unwanted guest. The Malhotras are the most elegant, graceful and courteous people. The wife is broke but doesn’t let her pain pass to her daughters and fiercely protects them from this bitter truth. The husband accepts his mistake honestly and tries hard to prevent the family from scattering along by taking responsibility for his son. The Malhotras make you love them for the kind of grace that they carry while going through their lives struggle. They come out of it together by accepting the biggest weakness of their life. They prove that a true family’s love can conquer anything in this world.
There are very few likeable aspects of the Sharma family of Saheb and this makes it closer to real life. An ageing man who has the ultimate responsibility of marrying off his younger daughter sees assistance and support from his sons. After their usual qualm, he forces them to sell their family property. They all find their vested interests in this opportunity and the incidences reveal their true ugly faces. There is a lot of drama going but the story does not exaggerate one bit.
Written and directed by Advait Chandan, and produced by Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, ‘Secret Superstar’ stars Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij, Raj Arjun and Aamir Khan himself. The film presents many sub-issues like domestic violence and feminism. It portrays the aspirations of a young girl who dreams of becoming a singer. The film beautifully paints the role of a mother in the life of a young girl. For this particular role, Wasim also won the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement.
When has Vidya Balan hit the screens and not leave an impact? Never. The comedy-drama film directed by Suresh Triveni portrays Vidya as the ambitious homemaker who becomes a radio jockey for a program on relationship advice. Both Manav Kaul and Vidya who play a married couple, present the dynamics of a middle-class family. Neha Dhupia, who is Sulu’s boss adds to the authenticity of a professional life scenario. Every character in ‘Tumhari Sulu’ present the non-exaggerated image of real-life members.
Vicky’s family is a cute nuclear family while Ashima’s family belong to a sophisticated Bengali class. Here’s admitting, we may not have anyone like Vicky’s ultra-modern Dadi and his bold mother who drinks together at night but there’s no limit to wishful thinking, right? With Ashima’s upper-class intellectual dad and Pishi, they have the best of both the worlds. Shoojit Sircar imbibes the quintessential flaws of both the communities in the story without offending anyone. The clash between Bengali’s elegance and Punjabi’s pomp. The outcome of the show is sweet and funny. It proves that you don’t really need big fat families to make a happy one. And they complete their family by adopting an orphan girl. They really set the bar high.