I was introduced to the concept of romantic idealism when I was in college. I learnt it in political context but later realized that we have embodied this concept in our daily lives including our cinema. The directors and writers sometimes give it the name of ‘cinematic liberty’. This ‘overrated’ liberty is many times difficult to understand and sometimes ruins the good script. In my opinion, the director-writer (Tanuj Bharmar) of Dear Dad have tried to solve a real problem using their thoughts on romantic idealism in the name of cinematic liberty.
The movie tells us the story of father (Nitin Swaminathan, 45, played by Arvind Swamy) – son (Shivam Swaminathan, 14, played by Himanshu Sharma) and their complicated relationship. Every ideal family in the world is not so ideal. Everyone has a crack or a past. In this film, the father has both. The father is gay and now wants a divorce from his decade long marriage. The son is left devastated after learning this truth about his father. It took a lot of years and courage for the father to come out to his family and son, who idealizes him. The father doesn’t expect from his son to accept him immediately for who he is but to understand why he kept his real emotions aloof.
The father-son duo battle over the facts, emotions and the decision of divorce which will break their happy family. These scenes are very crisp and designed very beautifully. Though the movie has it’s own slow pace, it successfully keeps you engaged. The dialogues are straight, small sentences and to the point. The picture perfect location for not so perfect family bonding is a complimentary treat. The director and cinematographer keeps the movie fresh. The actors surely pour their emotions out. But the movie lacks (in the script department) in it’s second half, where the above mentioned romantic idealism takes over.
After a break of few months (I guess 5-6 months) the Tanuj Bharmar brings back the father-son duo. This time the son has accepted his father for who he is, his parent’s divorce and to some extent the fact that he soon might have a stepfather (or stepfathers). This is what made me question the movie. A teenager boy doesn’t come over the fact of his parents divorce and his father’s sexuality in a few months. And considering the drama in the first half, its highly difficult to understand his cool, calm and happy buddy attitude towards his father. It took me nearly a decade to understand and comprehend my parent’s divorce and seeing the same thing happening on screen (with a twist of sexuality) in few months was just pure entertainment for me. It pains me that a movie started with such an exclusive topic, lost its core to the romantic idealism. The ‘acceptance’ by the son is a practical decision which in my opinion, a difficult one to make for a teenager.
The movie handles the subject of ‘coming out of the closet’ like no one else has ever done in Bollywood. Even after the not so expected rainbow and unicorn climax, I will still recommend everyone to watch this movie. Watch it for its crisp dialogues, for the characters who are true to themselves, for the courage and acceptance. And most importantly watch to learn that it doesn’t matter what the world thinks about us; what matters is what you and your loved ones think about yourself.
Dear Dad Teaser:
Dear Dad Trailer: