Peppermint Studios’ Dear Dad (UA) is the story of a father and his son. Nitin (Arvind Swamy) is married to Nupur (Ekavali Khanna) and they have two children, Shivam (Himanshu Sharma), who is teenaged and studies in a boarding school in Mussoorie, and little Vidhi (Bhavika). The family, which lives in Delhi, seems to be a happy one but it is actually not so.
Nitin wants to talk to his son about something which has been troubling him all these years but can’t muster courage to do so. Nupur keeps reminding him of the need to do it fast and one day, Nitin decides to drop Shivam to his boarding school so that he can get an opportunity to be alone with his son and use the same to convey what he has been wanting to convey.
On the way from Delhi to Mussoorie, Nitin and Shivam stop by to meet Nitin’s parents. Consumed by guilt, Nitin decides to first speak his heart out to his ailing father who can neither speak nor communicate otherwise, and then explain the same thing – and much more – to his son. However, as bad luck would have it, Shivam overhears what his dad is telling his aged grandfather.
Shivam is unable to take it. He reacts badly – and this is as much for the news he overhears as for the fact that he had overheard it rather than being himself told about it. In fact, all hell breaks loose in Shivam’s life when he overhears his father’s monologue to his grandfather. He tries to distance himself from his father. This, in turn, wreaks havoc in Nitin’s life too because the last thing he wanted was to be alienated from his son.
What is it that Nitin tells his old father? Why does Shivam react so badly? Does Shivam finally accept the truth or is it too much for him to do so? Is Nitin able to make Shivam understand his view point? What about Nupur – is she understanding enough?
Gadadhari Singh’s story is different as well as bold. While the uniqueness of the story makes it interesting, at least at the concept level, the boldness angle restricts its appeal to the niche audience. Tanuj Bhramar’s screenplay appears too stretched because once the confession is made by Nitin, there isn’t much drama left except for the aftermath. As a result, the after-effects of his confession go on and on and a couple of tracks – like that of the tantrik, Bangali Baba, and his medication etc. – are even useless. Besides, Nupur’s reaction to the same point is at complete variance with that of Nitin (emotional) and Shivam (angry, flabbergasted and ashamed). This anomaly dilutes the impact of the drama and also confuses the audiences about whether they should sympathise with Nitin or Shivam. As if that’s not bad enough, Shivam, at one stage, even flaunts the same point as if it were a medal his father had won. Frankly, there is no need for this false display of bravado. All in all, the screenplay writer himself seems to be confused whether he wants to show Nitin as a wrong guy or a wronged guy or a helpless soul or a hero! The track of Nitin, alongwith Shivam, sneaking into the girls’ hostel in the dark of the night may have been designed to look cute but it is in outright bad taste.
For the orthodox audience, the drama will actually fail to make sense.
Tanuj Bhramar’s dialogues are natural.
Arvind Swamy is completely endearing. He has a face which makes the audience fall in love with Nitin’s character. Arvind Swamy’s is a very fine performance, nuanced and layered. Himanshu Sharma springs a surprise with a confident performance. He is very natural. Ekavali Khanna lends dignity to the character of Nupur. She does a very good job. Bhavika is cute and confident as little Vidhi. Aman Uppal is effective in the role of television reality show celebrity Aditya Taneja. Indu Ramchandani (as Nitin’s mother) and Ranjit Thakur (as Nitin’s father) lend ordinary support. Yugdeep, Abhijeet and Nishant are adequate as Shivam’s school friends. Sonika Chopra (as Sonika madame) leaves a mark. Chinmay Chandraunshuh (as Arun), Piyush Raina (as the hotel receptionist), Shivam Pradhan (as Bangali Baba) and Ravneet Kler (as Irish) provide ordinary support. Others are okay.
Tanuj Bhramar’s direction is so-so. Music (Raghav-Arjun and Ujjwal Kashyap) is functional. Lyrics (Deepak Ramola and Neeraj Rajawat) are okay. Karan Gour’s background music is fair. Mukesh G.’s camerawork is quite nice. Production designing (by Prashant Ray and Shraddha Vasugavade) is okay. Charushree Roy’s editing could’ve been tighter.
On the whole, Dear Dad is a dull fare with a fresh concept but little else. It will find the going at the box-office tough.