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Review Gujarati

Dear Father review: Paresh Rawal headlines this emotional family drama

Release Date: 04 Mar 2022 / Rated: U / 02hr 18min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sonal Pandya

The veteran actor essays a wronged father and a police officer investigating a suspicious family matter in this Gujarati suspense saga.

An elderly man (Rawal) falls one night from the balcony of his flat and his son Ajay (Chetan Dhanani) and daughter-in-law Alka (Manasi Parekh) rush him to the hospital, but the mystery of the fall lingers throughout the feature. Was it truly an accident?

Directed by Umang Vyas and based on the Gujarati play of the same name, which itself is based on the Marathi dramatic work Katkon Trikon. Therefore, despite being a film adaptation, Dear Father is a rather wordy drama. The characters rattle off long monologues and dialogues with ease, as is usually the norm on stage.

Here, it works in bits and bobs, as the narrative grows stretched in the 15-20 minutes before the finale when a point is hammered home repeatedly. While Rawal as the annoying but lovable father and senior citizen Manu Mankad is seen in flashbacks, he is also present as Inspector Jadeja from the crime branch, who arrives out of the blue to investigate the actions of Ajay and Alka.

Suddenly, the married couple’s past behaviour and attitude towards Manu come under scrutiny as Jadeja presses them first about the possibility of suicide and then murder. Manu’s son Ajay is a successful lawyer and the scenes where the inspector grills both of them separately and together come across like mini court scenes.

While Ajay and Alka profess their innocence, they do admit to clashing with Manu, largely because of the generational gap. Manu is old school in his thinking and is often chauvinistic in his views of his modern daughter-in-law. Despite his conservative ways, he does love them both in his own way.

However, his frequent nagging irritates Ajay and Alka and they let him know it. And as Jadeja tries to get to the heart of the matter — Manu Mankad's fall — he causes them both to examine how they had treated him in the ongoing family spat.

Like most Gujarati dramas, this one too goes emotional as it examines familial bonds and what they mean to individuals. There are some effective dialogues by Aditya Rawal as the characters of father, son, daughter-in-law, and even inspector lay across their viewpoints.

The veteran Rawal knows the role inside out, having already acted in the stage version by the late Uttam Gada.  Dhanani and Parekh are successful as the progressive working couple whose love for Manu doesn’t seem that evident.

The production design elevates the film above its theatre origins, even though most of the action takes place in the Mankad household. Dear Father is largely entertaining. Director Vyas should have trimmed down the repetitive portions that only add to the running time.

The Gujarati feature will appeal to the older generation who will see themselves in Manu; the emotional family drama is Rawal’s show all the way.

Dear Father was screened at the 3rd International Gujarati Film Festival, which was held from 20 - 22 May, and is being streamed on Amazon Prime Video.


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