A devastating secret becomes the point of conflict between a father and son. Nithin Swaminathan, played by `Bombay’ and `Roja’ star Arvind Swamy, has got to the point that he can’t keep it in any longer ; a long road trip to drop fourteen year old Shivam ( Sharma) to his boarding school becomes the vehicle of this revelation.

How will Shivam react? Will he be able to look at his ‘appa’ the same way again? Will his sense of being part of a loving family be irrevocably damaged? The film uses familiar Hollywood tropes—both the big reveal and the road trip—to fashion a plot whose chief points, for Bollywood, can lead to unexplored territories, and freshness.

 ‘Dear Dad’ makes a stab at it, and the intention is great : there’s a welcome beginning in Bollywood of examining family and relationships and the complications which arise from just something as simple as different people who are wired differently living together. But the execution is half-baked.

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.