Dada, this Tamil movie constantly reminded me of Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala’s Akele Hum Akele Tum which was released back in 1995. If you have watched that movie, all I can say is that the storylines of both these films are similar. As both the films tell you the story of a father who raises his son single-handedly after the child’s mother walks out of the relationship. Not financially settled, struggling to make ends meet, these fathers are doing their best to give their sons a life they deserve – good education, healthy meals, and a happy life.
Let’s keep Akele Hum Akele Tum aside for a while. Speaking of Dada, it narrates the story of a college-going couple, Mani and Sindhu, whose life comes to a standstill after they find out that they are pregnant. While Mani suggests that they abort the child, Sindhu wants to keep it. Without arguing much, Mani decides to support Sindhu. Since they are very young, the family doesn’t support their decision and they move out of their respective houses. They start living in a friend’s apartment while Mani takes up a small job. As days pass, Mani’s frustration towards life grows as all he is doing is thinking about expenses and not being able to earn enough money to meet their growing needs. While his frustration grows, Sindhu and her health is being ignored. To make it worse for pregnant Sindhu, Mani starts drinking regularly even after swearing on their unborn child that he would stop drinking till the child is born.
Then comes a day when Sindhu, in her frustration, hits Mani as on the previous night he had come home drunk. Mani then loses his temper and says things he shouldn’t be saying. Within a few hours, Sindhu is rushed to the hospital in an unconscious state by her neighbours and parents. Mani is then informed about Sindhu’s hospitalisation but when he reaches the hospital, he finds out that Sindhu has already left with her family, leaving the newborn behind.
Though Mani tries to leave the child in an orphanage as he alone cannot take care of a newborn, he couldn’t do it. He brings the child home. Supported by a close friend, they both take turns to take care of this baby. As the time passes, we see that Mani has done well in life for himself and the child has grown enough to understand what his father goes through to raise him up well.
While the duo is happy in their lives, not missing the mother, Mani comes across Sindhu once again when he takes up a new job. What I liked the most here is how Mani never confronts Sindhu. You can still sense that while Sindhu feels nothing for him, Mani still loves the woman he once did but definitely not the mother who abandoned his child. None of them bring it up even once and are strictly professional when it comes to working together. The story then takes a turn that you might even predict while watching Dada but it still feels good to watch it unfold.
A few things that I think could have been better. Neither the writer nor the director focused on showing the actual struggle of a single father or the developing bond between the father and the son. As always, since it’s a film, everything looks served on a silver plate to our hero. The struggle is only spoken about, not lived by the protagonist. If you compare it again with Akele Hum Akele Tum, you will understand what struggle or pain of a single father I am talking about here. Life may seem long and difficult and this part cannot be skipped. Single parenting isn’t as simple as shown in Dada.