What was surprisingly good about the latest Tamil film Dada starring Kavin and Aparna Das, is the lack of melodrama in a movie with some really dramatic turns. Starting from that top-angle shot and ending in a similar top-angle shot, Ganesh K. Babu’s Dada is that small and sweet movie that surprises you with its treatment rather than trying to deliver something unique through the story.
Manikandan and Sindhu are a teenage couple who are in love. One day Sindhu tells Manikandan that she is pregnant. And his immediate reaction was to abort the baby. But Sindhu’s adamance to continue with the pregnancy leads to a series of challenging situations for the couple, as both got thrown out of their homes. What you see in Dada is how this pregnancy period went and how it eventually put Manikandan in a testing phase in his life.
The story here is not that spectacular. But it is the way it has been narrated that makes a positive impression. Typically the crowd pleaser films in Tamil will have that eccentric pitch to “help” the audience understand what is supposed to be comedic and what is supposed to be serious. Ganesh K. Babu, somewhere makes sure that he won’t end up creating a sequence that can easily be chopped off on the editing table. Dada is extremely simple, and one can see the twist from a distance. But the subtlety in the presentation gives some additional strength to the characters’ emotions.
The minimalism Ganesh K. Babu wants to see in the film is presented beautifully by Kavin in this movie. How Manikandan smiles at his son, smirks at other people’s drama, or even how his eyes get wet has that very organic and believable feel. As Sindhu, Aparna Das is also trying to achieve the same. Despite her character being in an even more traumatic space, she ensures that her performance never crosses the line and becomes loud and evident. Vaazhl fame Pradeep Antony is present in a comical role along with veterans like Bhagyaraj, Aishwarya Bhaskaran, etc.
What is promising about Ganesh K. Babu is the way he believes in craft and presentation. He has reduced the typical way of creating tension through verbal communication. The setting is used in the first half to communicate the difficulties in the lives of the lead pair. As life becomes less complicated, the frames become airier. The film’s cinematography also uses silhouettes and steady shots to convey the drama. The movie’s second half, which usually contains conflict and the final act, is interestingly humorous and light in Dada. The fact that the movie still managed to move me emotionally in the climax feels strangely surprising. During a song in the second half, the director includes visuals from the flashback campus love story of the lead pair. Which again added to the overall minimal philosophy of filmmaking.
If you look at the promotional material and the title, Dada looks like a take on single parenting. But the focus on single parenting is pretty minuscule. It was more like a backdrop to pitch a relationship drama about how lack of communication and petty ego can cause significant relationship issues. There is nothing poignant about Dada. But it is a straightforward and on-point drama that eventually puts a smile on your face.
Ganesh K. Babu's Dada is that small and sweet movie that surprises you with its treatment rather than trying to deliver something unique through the story.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended