In a surprise move, I headed to a theatre nearby to watch the Gujarati film Dear Father. The film is in its second week and has been in the news for Paresh Rawal returning to Gujarati Cinema after 40 years. So it was a spectacle worth witnessing. I did not watch its trailer nor did I know what to expect from the film. But the moment the first scene unfolded, the film reminded me of the Marathi film Aapla Maanus which is currentky streaming on Netflix. And my heart just sank! A remake, another remake! I just hoped the rest of the film was good or remotely did not resemble the Marathi film. So then is Dear Father worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
An official adaptation of a Gujarati Play and an unofficial adaptation of the Marathi film Aapla Maanus(which is also adapted from a play), Dear Father follows the story of an elderly man who meets with an accident. Is it actually an accident or a suicide or even murder? For those who have watched the play or even the Marathi film, would know the beats of the drama. But the story is indeed preachy and much ado about nothing. I do get the fact that there are morals or teachings which are given through the course of the film but they are literally done by drilling the message in your head instead of creating instances which will sympathize with the protagonist. In fact, by resorting to this method not only did it dilute its eventual message but also created a sense of disconnect. I had watched Aapla Maanus and there was a sense of grip to its story telling although it suffered with a similar fate while being preachy. But here there is no grip on the narrative. The scenes are lengthy and somehow are left to the proven performers to save the day. The first half is a bit of a slog. While things are marginally better in the second half due to the mystery element(which I was aware of), you couldn’t help but think that the screenplay was meandering in circles instead of getting to the point quicker. The comic elements are decent but at times stretched too far. The end is again a preachy one which sums up the screenplay which is at best average.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are sharp and witty, mostly conversational but the writing gets repetitive. After a point you wished that the scenes were concise instead of being elongated. The BGM is alright, nothing memorable here. Director Umesh Vyas is just not able to maintain a grip on the narrative. The situations created are cliched and uninteresting which somehow did not have me invested in the drama.
The performances save the day to an extent. Chetan Dhanani as Ajay is pretty good in his role. Manasi Parekh as Alka is quite brilliant and gets many opportunities to shine. And the legend Paresh Rawal is at his absolute best in dual roles. He is outstanding as the investigating officer and equally brilliant as the father. He really manages to keep the audience interested. If only the writing was half as supportive here.
Dear Father boasts of stupendous performances which are nullified in an insipid drama. Available in a theatre near you.