He will always be her hero and she will forever be his little queen. Fathers and daughters share quite a bond. From fathers who carved a niche for themselves in their profession to daughters who have followed in their footsteps, New Woman documents famous dad–daughter duos.
A father-daughter bond can be truly magical. Every dad can make a huge difference in his daughter’s life, influencing her development and self-esteem. We bring you five such fathers and daughters who are well-known in their domain for the bond or success they share.
ADI AND NISABA GODREJ
One example of a dad who flaunts his pride about his kids taking after him is Adi Godrej. The industrialist, with a net worth of approximately $3.9 billion and ranked eighth in the Forbes list of wealthiest Indians, has often been quoted saying that his greatest achievement has been watching his children follow in his footsteps. Nisaba Godrej, the youngest daughter of the Padma Bhushan winner, is the executive director of Godrej Consumer Products. With her father’s business acumen and penchant for innovation, Nisaba has been in the forefront of the company, implementing performance-oriented evaluations for employees, positive rules for LGBT employees and is a leading example of maintaining a good work–life balance.
SHATRUGHAN AND SONAKSHI SINHA
For ‘Shotgun’ Sinha, stardom wasn’t served on a platter. He rose through the ranks to achieve super stardom. And for all the talks of being a star-child, Sonakshi didn’t have an easy ascent in Bollywood, quite like her dad, although her struggles were unlike her father’s. In an industry obsessed with looks, Sonakshi had to lose almost 30 kg before getting a spot in showbiz. But with a determination characteristic of her dad’s, she pushed on regardless, going on to craft her niche in the industry with her performances in movies like Lootera. Ask what her dad thinks about her, and she is pretty sure. “Dad watches my films only for me and nothing else! And though he won’t admit it, he is truly a proud father, and my biggest fan,” Sonakshi has often claimed in her interviews.
BIRJU AND MAMTA MAHARAJ
Padma Vibhushan Birju Maharaj, who belongs to the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana, epitomises kathak and heads his dance school Kalashram. A direct lineage of the first ever kathak dancer and teacher Ishwari Prasad is a privilege not many can boast—something his daughters can. For Mamta Maharaj, one of the dance guru’s daughters, kathak is a way of life, expressing through it her love for the dance form. But when it came to dancing, the father-daughter bond had its rough patches. Panditji was initially hesitant about teaching his daughter, caught as he was between the perceptions of a family legacy that was considered a man’s domain and his daughter’s love for the art. But Mamta has often talked about shutting herself and dancing in despair, promising that she will dance till her end. Her dad finally took her on as his student. Representing the eighth generation of the Lucknow gharana, playing a major role in extending the glory of this art, Mamta went on to prove her mettle in the art. Today, she is considered among the best performers in the world, but her respect for her guru and teacher, her dad, remains the motivation to do better. “I base my performances as per his, with tudkas, which are exclusive to my dad,” she had said in one of her interviews. “But what he can explain in half a page, it takes me about four pages.”
LATE PT RAVI AND ANOUSHKA SHANKAR
With a career that spanned six decades and a Guinness World record of having the longest international career, the inimitable sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar had inspired many musicians, including the Beatles, but none so like Anoushka, his daughter. Anoushka, with five Grammy nominations to her credit and a dynamic and spiritual quality to her music, has often mentioned how her love for music was not lost on her dad. “He was my teacher, my guru, and he really was terribly good at it. And being taught by my dad gave us an almost unique relationship,” the sitar player and composer had said in an interview to an international publication some years ago. She went on to write her dad’s biography in 2002, Bapi: The Love of My Life.
JOHNY AND JAMIE LEVER
In one of the recent interviews she gave, Jamie Janumala Lever, daughter of the famed comedian Johny Lever, talked of how intimidated she feels when working with her father. But Jamie has inherited her dad’s funny bone. She has already started making a mark in the stand-up comedy scene in the country, having done routine comedy shows on TV as well as debuted in Bollywood. And intimidating or not, Daddy dearest couldn’t be prouder, always ensuring an unseen but protective arm around his darling daughter, without once cramming into her life with his ideas. “I have learnt a lot from him, especially that no matter what your craft is, unless you realise that god chose to give you that skill, you will not respect it enough,” Jamie had stated in one of her interviews. “And until then, you are not doing it justice, no matter how successful you are.”