Dear Dad answers a weirdly unexpected question, “What if your Father was gay?” Read on to find out more.
The movie comes to its objective point very quickly. Its protagonist, a man in his mid-thirties with a teenage son, a little daughter and a facade of a happy family is gay. He has been living a lie for years, closeted and pretending to conform to societal expectations, and the truth fumbles out of him during a road trip with his son.
Debutant director Tanuj Bhramar goes with this unprecedented story where most film makers would dare not. It is a father-son-bonding-on-a-road-trip trope used in an unconventional way.
They meet new people, explore new ideas, travel to picturesque locations, and visit childhood homes. With an impending secret blossoming, that Shivam’s beloved father Nitin is gay, and has finally decided to come out of the closet after living half his life pretending to be someone else, the narrative rushes with emotions.
The story ventures into exploring the idea of shame; how the supposedly modern teenage son cannot digest that his father identifies with the LGBTQ+ community. It takes him the whole journey to realise that his father’s true sexuality does not make him (Nitin) a different person. He is still the same, just a lot happier and comfortable in revealing to the world an essential truth about himself.
The best part is that the film doesn’t focus on questions like ‘why now?’, rather it highlights the reactions and changes in the relationship dynamics this revelation brings about. The interaction between Nitin and his paralysed old father at his childhood home is equal parts emotional and rational.
Arvind Swamy’s performance gives a heart-soaring touch to make Nitin’s character more real and sincere. His trials, tribulations, apprehensions and eventual relief are portrayed in a soft manner by Swamy which brings about a sense of sincerity into the story.
The film is not perfect, it tests your patience at parts and seems too slow, but it is worth watching for what it is trying to say. Bollywood is home to a handful of films that get representation right, and Dear Dad certainly is one of the few. There is nothing stereotypical about this closeted gay and his coming out story. So this pride month, maybe watch it with your friends to get a deeper understanding of what sexuality really means to a person.
Feature Image Credits: Debaangshu Sen for DU Beat