Nitin (Arvind Swamy) has a life-altering confidence to share with his adolescent son Shivam (Himanshu Sharma), 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 (they include consulting a fake faith healer).
This family secret also involves Shivam’s mother, but who cares about her feelings? None of the characters is built up enough to evoke curiosity or empathy for their condition. The timidity that governs Tanuj Bhramar’s directorial debut extends to the performances that matter. Arvind Swamy’s Nitin is too gentle and vague to suggest the complexity that supposedly sits behind his Zen-like visage, while Himanshu Sharma’s reaction can best be described as a tantrum rather than a meltdown. The sparkiest performance comes from Aman Uppal, playing a reality television show star who has decided to drop off the grid and wander through the hills.
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.