Cinema

Dear Dad: Cuts to the chase too quickly

A poster of 'Dear Dad'. Photo courtesy: @DeadDadTheFilm  

A suave and dignified dad Nitin (Arvind Swamy) and the boy with the awkward moustache and distinctive pout, Shivam (Himanshu Sharma), are on a road trip to his boarding school. Their conversations about cricket, Reality TV shows, the boring English classics that the boys are shown in the school, the antiquated floppies, the video games and their cheat codes are cool, simple, casual with no frills attached. As is the dad’s difficulty in broaching a sensitive topic, a secret about himself that he has to reveal to his son. Though he does drop a big hint, mind you, by slipping in the name of a British batsman. So far so good.

Then the film cuts to the chase and comes to the point quickly. Too hastily, in fact. The secret comes tumbling out in a rather matter-of-fact manner within a few minutes into the film. And the crucial moment does nothing for the viewer. It doesn’t shock, nor does it surprise you. It doesn’t move you, doesn’t make you feel any sympathy or empathy for the dad and the son. In fact, it feels too contrived, playing out like yet another one of the flavour of the season narratives, without any nuances or subtleties bolstering the representation.



Genre: Drama
Director: Tanuj Bhramar
Cast:Arvind Swamy, Himanshu Sharma, Aman Uppal
Runtime: 95 minutes
What’s worse is that there’s little else to the film other than this reveal and certainly nothing of the several characters in the background, other than an overenthusiastic TV reality star (Aman Uppal) who hitches a ride with the duo and who (Surprise! Surprise!) has some demons of his own to fight against behind his cheerful facade.

So once the disclosure is over and done with there’s nothing else to keep you hooked, Arvind Swamy’s pleasing presence and earnest effort notwithstanding. Whatever is there to the plot is too shallow to keep it afloat for even 90 odd minutes. No interesting situations, interactions, emotions to give any heft to the troubled father-son relationship.There were possibilities — while the father gets the sympathy he deserves the film could have been far richer if it had explored a teenager’s trauma in reconciling with his dad’s “deviance”. That, unfortunately, lapses into sheer tantrum-throwing and some nonsensical, unfunny tripe about a quack called Baba Bangali. Then the father’s drunken antics, son’s display of his feelings to a girl he fancies, and his suspension from the school follow. And out of the blue the lad becomes proud of his father. The slow and steady passage from love to hatred and pride would have been a profound and poignant journey that the film doesn’t quite embark on. It’s in too much of a hurry to reach nowhere.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 9:41:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/dear-dad-review-sensitive-subject-laid-out-too-quickly/article8593911.ece

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