The film is directed by Tanuj Bhramar
Before we start, a fair bit of warning, if you want to see an entertainer then this film is not for you. However, if you are looking for something hard hitting and thought provoking, then you are in for a treat. The movie in question is the Arvind Swamy starrer Dear Dad and it is the most un-Bollywood like film we have ever come across. So let us take a look at what this bold and unique film has to offer.
What's it about
It is the story that primarily revolves around two people, Nitin Swaminathan, played by Arvind Swamy and his teenage son, Shivam Swaminathan. Nitin lives with wife, his son and his little daughter Vidhi in Delhi. But things are not all rosy for the Swaminathan family. Nithin and his wife are getting a divorce and Shivam is unaware of it. Hoping to break this news to him gently, Nitin decides to drive his son to his hostel in Mussoorie. So the two embark on a roadtrip that is filled with revelations and emotional turmoil. Nitin decides to visit his parents on the way to dropping Shivam off. Here, much to our surprise, he reveals to his father that he is actually not into women and is gay. Unfortunately, Shivam overhears this confession and becomes disgusted and really angry with his father. While Nitin feels that he is living a lie and must embrace his true self, Shivam feels that his father has cheated them all and him, his mom and his sister now have to pay the price. As the story progresses, we find that the father and son enter into several fights and arguments. The rest of the story is about whether Shivam comes to accept his father for who he is and how the dynamic between the two changes over time.
This is by far, one of the most realistic Indian movies to have ever graced the screens. It looks so real that it feels as if you are watching the life of a normal Indian family unfold. Arvind is simply brilliant as he always is as Nitin, a loving father but a man who is unsure of his sexuality. The sense of unease he carries on his face as tries to reveal the truth to his son is just too real. Himanshu Sharma is equally good as Shivam, the teenage son who tries to wrap the colossal truth that he learns. His mannerisms perfectly depict a lad studying in ninth grade. He also is the comic relief in the film, for which we are very glad. Another beautiful aspect of Dear Dad is how the father son dynamic changes several times throughout the movie. In the beginning it is cordial and respectful, then it becomes really strained and towards the end, it becomes something much better than what the two shared in the beginning.
Also, Shivam's reaction as a son who finds out his dad is gay is spot on. First it is disgust and anger, then it becomes frustration, then it becomes curiosity as he hilariously tries to 'cure' his father of his ailment. Overall, Dear Dad took a very new and interesting topic and treated it perfectly. Full points to Tanuj Bhramar for choosing and executing such a great idea.
Only a few things pull the film down just a bit. First is overall slow pace of the film which is more or less balanced by amazing cinematography. Another problem with Dear Dad is tries to be too realistic and towards the end it sort of loses track of itself. The story begins to lose direction a bit and rambles on. Finally, for such an emotional film, the makers could have taken more time to establish the characters for a much deeper connect with the audience. In the end, all are minor flaws which dents Dear Dad just a bit.
What to do
Definitely watch it for it will broaden your mind about homosexuality and how it is not a choice but just a preference people are born with. It will definitely inspire more people in India to come of the closet and embrace their true nature without shame. Do not miss this film!
4 out of 5
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