Nitin has a life-altering confidence to share with his adolescent son Shivam, and he decides to unburden himself while dropping off the boy to his boarding school. The secret rattles out of the closet very early on in Dear Dad, and the plot stops in its tracks. From here on, there are endless montages of views of the landscape, ineffectual chatter between a supposedly furious son and his contrite father, and childish attempts by Shivam to address the situation.
There are a few moments between father and son which feel as if something real is going on – resentment and anger have a way of boiling up to the surface in strange ways between parents and children. But the rest of it is clunky and contrived, and the sudden switch between moods—from dad being foe to friend—feels too hurried.
A definite plus point is Daddy dear. It’s good to see Arvind Swamy back again, in what is only his second Hindi film. After a long hiatus from cinema ( because of a serious injury), he returned in Mani Ratnam’s 2013 ‘Kadhal’, and was the only thing worth seeing in that one. Hindi cinema could do with an actor like him, understated and effective, not just in daddy roles but anything that requires a grown-up presence.
The movie wants to say something poignant and profound about the need for sons to accept their father’s decisions, but it doesn’t have the material to do so. Still waters are meant to run deep, but in Dear Dad, they remain still. Arvind Swamy makes a Bollywood comeback after ages. He does a decent job of being under pressure to talk to his son. He pulls off the emotional scenes with much ease. The scene where he gets drunk is slightly over the top.
Himanshu Sharma as Shivam, the teenage son does a fairly decent job. His reactions, the anger and further regret are conveyed extremely well.