Dada Movie Review: A well-written drama made with plenty of heart
The film is emotional but is equally fun with a strong undercurrent of tasteful humour.
Director Ganesh K Babu's debut Dada revolves around an unplanned pregnancy. The story of the film isn't path-breaking by any means, but what makes it enjoyable is the soulful treatment and witty writing. Take, for instance, the traditional confrontation scene of the lead characters. Ganesh adds a pinch of realism to the sequence by having the heroine’s voice shake in fatigue, given that she has cried for hours; the hero, on the other hand, is too angry to pay attention to her. At one point, he interrupts her to say, "Nee solradhu enakku puriyala; niruthi ozhunga sollu!" The scene may not offer tremendous insight, but attention to these little details makes the conversation relatable and grounded—and you can find this throughout the film.
Cast: Kavin, Aparna Das, Pradeep Antony, Harish Kumar
Director: Ganesh K Babu
Dada is almost like a marriage between a Radha Mohan film and a Selavaraghavan film. We have cute conversations between a father and his four-year-old about the educational system; we also have the shot of a girl biting the shoulders of her boyfriend in passion. In the hands of an inferior writer, Kavin's Manikandan might have ended up being the pinnacle of toxic masculinity and Aparna's Sindhu would have been the sacrificing angel. But Ganesh makes it clear that Mani is not a brute and Sindhu is no angel. The characters are flawed in their own ways, and in their vulnerable moments, they confess their mistakes and wish things were different.
Recent Tamil cinema has featured heroes who seem immune to failure. Even when they fall, the elevation happens within seconds. Things, however, are different in Dada. The much-desired redemption in Manikandan's life gets delayed. He takes three or four blows on his face from life before rising above his situation. Even though his life-changing job offer comes through a recommendation, much like in Velaiyilla Pattathari, here, the win feels personal as we have seen Mani toil enough.
The film is emotional but is equally fun with a strong undercurrent of tasteful humour. When Mani and Sindhu feel that they have hit rock bottom and talk about finding a new rental house, a guy playing PUBG on his phone interrupts them: "Ipdiye ovvoru veeda maari saava poreenga da!" The overwhelming pathos gets quickly transformed into quality dark humour. Such good writing is ably handled by its impressive cast. While Kavin and Aparna pour in much life into the characters, supporting cast members like Harish Kumar seize their opportunities too.
Director Ganesh's Dada can be processed as the story of a man's pursuit of peace. The film opens and ends with a shot of Manikandan sleeping peacefully. Similarly, the story can also be seen as his quest to become a complete man, and a man who isn’t above crying. Though he proudly claims that he has never shed a tear in his life initially, he breaks down at two crucial places. That he isn’t alone in shedding tears during those vulnerable moments, speaks of this film’s power to affect.