Sunday, May 15, 2022

The evergreen 'Dear Father'

I remember those days of the 90s when I was a teen and I developed interest in watching multilingual movies. During those days, Doordarshan used to run a regional language movie every Sunday from 2-5PM and this was available pan India. I have been watching movies in different languages since that time. This context is important as in today’s India language is no more relevant and with Internet and OTT available everywhere, the viewer can choose to watch what he wants.

Back to the point. I watched a Gujarati movie recently called ‘Dear Father’. I became a fan of Chetan Dhanani after watching the movie ‘Reva’ and I was looking forward to watching this movie. I was deeply impressed by his acting in Reva and I knew his performance would be impeccable in this one too.

The movie is about a small household of three people - father, son and daughter-in-law. A family where all the three members have different priorities in life and have a different perspective.  The movie starts with a scene where the father has fallen from the flat in the apartment and has been seriously injured and admitted to the hospital. Subsequently, a police investigation starts into the incident and Paresh Rawal sir (who is playing dual roles of the father and the investigating officer) takes over the investigation of the incident.

I am not going to spill over the beans on how the movie moves forward but I would definitely like to mention a few aspects about the movie. The performances of all the actors are fabulous and top notch. I couldn’t stop myself getting flashbacks to Paresh sir’s many more previous movies like Hera Pheri but he has excelled in the role of this typical Gujarati dad. There were a few scenes in the movie which are hilarious and thought provoking as well. The father-son banter over the 25 years of nagging with the females of the family is so indigenously Indian. The dialogues seem to come directly from the Indian homes. When I say Indian, I mean all parts of India. I have seen these kinds of similar issues in a Kannada family, a Telugu family, a Marwadi family and so on and so forth.

Chetan has been impeccable yet again with his performance. I think his strength is depicting emotions with versatility and owning the character. The character in Reva and the character in Dear Father are very different but you will realise that he fits right in. In the movie, he is the average husband who is getting pulled between his parents and his wife. Needless to say, this is the story of almost every husband in India. Trying to appease the parents and the wife is a mundane attempt all husbands make and fail. Chetan has clearly justified the role and fits right in.

The actress Manasi reminded me of so many Marwadi ladies in my family. The dichotomy of their lives to match the expectations of the family and also try to achieve their dreams. Manasi has nailed the role and the way she has portrayed the frustration of a contemporary Indian woman leaves an indelible mark on the audience.

I would like to appreciate the script and dialogue writers (Vivek Bele, Uttam Gada) of this movie. They have great insights into how Indian families run in today’s world. They have been able to bring out the originality of life in the script. How a major incident in the family connects the family back again. How a frustrated police officer relates himself to a case which he is investigating. The whole story has been intertwined in a lovely braid.

I had a couple of qualms from the movie which I would like to highlight. Since this was a traditional homely setup, I was quite surprised that the husband and wife scenes visiting their injured father was not shown quite often if it didn’t feel like they were too much concerned. The police officer role of Paresh sir approached very casually to the husband and wife, anytime and everytime. For example, in one scene, he entered their home without the permission of the family. But I guess, the writers can take the liberty of some creative freedom to connect the dots.

Overall I really enjoyed the movie. I kept that one minute scene between the father and son as my whatsapp status and I got so many replies from people asking for the name of the movie. So, do you see, language is not a barrier anymore. This movie took me back to the Malayalam movie “Android Kunjappan 2.0”, I watched last year. Funny how they are connected in subtle ways. They both evoke the right chords of connecting with your father and all the actors in both movies have done so much justice.

Thanks to OTT platforms, I think we will see a future envisioned by Chanakya of a unified Bharatvarsh.

Anand Bora