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Dear Dad  : Break-ups & Healing Bonds
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Friday, May 6, 2016
Family
Tanuj Bhramar
Arvind Swamy , Himanshu Sharma

There’s something that Appa and Amma want to tell Shivam before he returns to boarding school. Dad Nitin Swaminathan offers to drive him down to school and tell him on the way. But Nitin doesn’t muster the courage and puts it off until they stop at his parents’ bungalow. 

 

En route to school, the cool teenager who’d rather be with his pals, keeps commenting on how outdated his dad is. It’s reiterated when Shivam spots reality TV star Aditya Taneja and gets his autograph while Nitin, who has no clue who that is, doesn’t give the stranger a lift in his car.

 

For all that cool, when Shivam hears the secret Appa has to share with him, he’s shattered into uncharacteristic silence and rebellion against his father. He even reacts to Nitin when he later lets the reality star hitch a ride with them. Now that Shivam knows his dad’s sexual preferences, everything he does is suspect and disgusting.     

 

It would’ve been interesting if the frequent references to the generation gap had been knitted in to show that Shivam’s outward cool doesn’t help him wrap his young head around the changing circumstances at home.

 

First-time director Tanuj Brahmar bases Dear Dad on the refreshingly different theme of a teenager grappling with his dad’s sexuality and the break-up of his secure family. But after that, it’s like the director doesn’t know where to go with it as he brings in the extremely annoying cliché of a fake baba who’ll cure dad of his “disease”.

 

There are nice touches like Shivam sprouting a faint moustache or Aditya the TV star pulling out his goggles before signing an autograph. It’s also a relief that the director doesn’t create the usual Hindi film aiyo-aiyo idli-sambar ambience for the Swaminathans.

 

Arvind Swamy gives poise, dignity and variety to the middle-aged dad while Himanshu Sharma is easy as his son. Aman Uppal who is comfortable as TV star Aditya, is at his best when trying to bring Shivam around to accepting his dad as he is.    

 

But even at 90-odd minutes, it seems like a journey prolonged when the film plods on to a final scene months later when Shivam and a drunken dad get pulled up by the principal for nocturnal shenanigans in the girls’ hostel. Probably to prove that gay is cool.   

 

For as film that loses direction after a sensible flag-off, Dear Dad gets a 2.5* rating.

 

Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author

 

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