Each of them is papa’s pet. Ahead of Father’s Day on Sunday, these achievers, who are following in their father's footsteps, tell us what dad means to them and why there’s no one quite like dad

Ahaana Krishna, actress

At home

My father (Krishnakumar, actor) is the most positive person I have ever met. Whatever I am today, is because of my parents and my father has had an important role in making me the person I am.

When I was in school, my father used to insist that I read certain books. Some of it would go above my head and I did get irritated. It was many years later that the benefits of all that forced reading began to dawn on me.

Again, he was very particular all four of us sisters wake up at six a.m. and do some kind of exercise. It is ingrained in me so much that even when I am on holiday, I wake up at six and I am ready for the day quite early.

The professional

I cannot say because my father is an actor, I became one as well. But I must admit that it is a profession that many long to get a foothold in. I got an easy entry into filmdom only because of my father. There is a favourite quote of his from the Bhagavat Gita. He keeps reminding us how all of us came empty handed and will leave empty handed. What we have today belonged to someone yesterday and will belong to someone else tomorrow. That thought has helped me face certain situations with equanimity.

Message to dad

I think my father looks young and handsome. He is a self-made man and I am proud of being known as Ahaana Krishnan.

Tara Pandala, urban designer

At home

I grew up watching my dad (Eugene Pandala, architect) at work, as his office was attached to our home. There were times when I didn’t see him for days and months while he was away on work and study trips. I have to add though that despite his absence, I have never felt he has neglected any of my needs. Whenever he returns from his trips, he comes with gifts, even now.

The professional

My dad is my role model. It was when my dad received his first national award that I told my mom that I too wanted to become an urban designer. I am following his foot steps and have recently completed my post graduation studies in Urban Design from Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University, Ahmedabad. I spent most of my spare time in my dad’s architectural office. I was his assistant helping him with his model making and colouring. Tee squares and drawing boards were my toys. I am amazed by his passion for learning new things, his dedication and commitment. As an architect I admire his love for nature and how he promotes new alternatives methods and materials for construction to reduce the carbon footprint.

Message to dad

I am proud to say that I am his daughter and will try my best to be like him. He is my hero.

Gayathri Suhas, Partner, Bhima Jewellery

At home

Papa (B. Govindan, chairman of Bhima Jewellery) is a complete family man. He is a gentle and reticent person and really opens up when he is at home with the family. He is happiest when he is with his grandchildren – all seven of them. Actually, I think he is the happiest when the children are being naughty and breaking things! He adores them, loves spending time with them, reading to them and will forgive anything that they do. He spoils them rotten. As it is when my younger sisters and I were growing up, he never over disciplined us. He just let us be and find our own paths, which in retrospective, is a difficult choice for any parent.

The professional

At work he is just the opposite. He is a workaholic and a hard taskmaster. He doesn’t tolerate mediocrity or shoddy work. Even if it’s his own children, he has no qualms in telling us, albeit politely, to get lost if he thinks we’ve messed up! The jewellery business, being a man’s world, Papa was determined that myself and my sister be better than the best. As a result we are always on our toes. Without that kind of discipline it would be very difficult to keep a brand like ours on top.

Message to dad

I just want to tell him not to ever change. He’s perfection personified and a perfect father.

Arvind Venugopal, singer

At home

Dad (G. Venugopal, playback singer) loves spending time with his family despite his busy schedule. I remember him dropping me at the bus stop everyday in our old Maruthi 800. This would be 15 years ago when he was working in All India Radio, Chennai,and I was in school. He was more around then, than now.

The professional

He is a true 'professional' in his area of expertise. He sticks to his commitments and always gives his all in what he does. He clearly differentiates his professional life from his personal life. He still is essentially what he was 30 years back when he started singing. Not all singers can give their 'soul' to the song along with their voice; I feel my dad is one among those who can. His dedication, handwork and perseverance have all inspired me remarkably. I'd say in short the “human being” that he is; made me want to follow in his foot steps.

Message to dad

I am what I am today is because of him. He was always there when I needed him and mere thank you cannot contain the gratitude for all he has done for me.

Keerthy Suresh, actress

At home

We’re rarely at home together so we make the most of our time. During those times my father (Sureshkumar, producer) and I have lots of fun. We go shopping. Ok, let me rephrase that, I drag him shopping! One of my favourite things to do is flick money from his purse when it is lying around the house. Now he has caught on to it and makes sure it is empty before he places it somewhere. My dad is sort of strict, particularly when it comes to dressing and socialising. I dress much more casually when I am in college in Chennai than I would at home. He tells me that he knows that I wear skimpy outfits but pleads with me not to wear them when he is around – for his peace of mind.

The professional

He’s seasoned in the industry and knows what all goes around. Before I start work on a project, I ask him his rules so that I know where to draw the line. From a producer’s perspective he’s taught me a lot of things such as not use the phone while on set, how I should respect everyone and treat every one from the spot boy to the director equally, how to behave on set…

Message to dad

I want my dad to know that I love him much more than he thinks I do.

Udupi S. Srikanth, Ganjira artiste

At home

My father (Udupi S. Sreedhar, ghatam exponent) is a disciplined person who has his own way of doing things, which always turn out to be correct. He is friendly with all three of us brothers. He talks to us about music and his experiences as a musician. He never forced us to become musicians, but since we grew up with music all around us, it was natural for the three of us to take up music. Achan struggled a lot in his career, but he ensured that we got the right atmosphere to learn. He has given us a lot of freedom also.

The professional

His dedication to music is unparalleled. He has been active in kutcheri circuit for nearly 45 years now. Even then, even now, a couple of days prior to a concert, he would be seen checking out the pitch on the different ghatams in his collection. He still has the excitement of a beginner. He also finds time to discuss music with me because both of us are percussionists. And what I really admire about him is the way he manages his job in a bank and his music career. I am also a bank employee and I know how difficult it is to take leave and go for concerts. There was a time when achan used to have 30 to 40 concerts a month and hats off to him for having balanced it so well. The heartening fact is that though he got a promotion in 1989, he didn’t take it because he didn’t want to give up music.

Message to dad

I want him to know that I am proud to be his son.

Niranj S., actor

At home

My father (Maniyanpillai Raju, actor) is a perfectionist who keeps on nagging you to do this and that. His attention to detail can be irritating. For instance, he insists that we switch off the light as soon as we leave a room. If we forget, he lectures us on how there are many in India without basic necessities. It is his sense of humour and bonhomie that really keeps us all in good humour. An early riser, he is bright eyed and full of life when we are still trying to face the day. I want my father to continue nagging us and making us laugh too. I want him to know how proud we are of him. I would like to imbibe his sense of humour.

The professional

He is always ready to extend a helping hand to a person in need, friend or not. No matter how late he sleeps, if there is a shoot, he is ready for it at least an hour before the car comes to pick him up. I admire his professionalism and dedication to his work. No corners are cut when it comes to his work. Moreover he is a am with no enemies. In fact, when I decided to become an actor, he advised me to treat every one with respect.

Message to dad

My brother and I are lucky that we have parents who see their happiness in our happiness. They have always allowed us to follow our dreams. I want my father to know how lucky I consider myself to be his son.