Although cliched tropes and one dimensional characters overpower the already weakly written story, the third act of the film does have a few engaging sequences that mirror some of the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs in the initial stage of setting up their businesses.
Last Updated: 03.14 AM, Feb 18, 2023
Basheer, a tailor, comes to his hometown after years of working in Mumbai. His big dreams, of setting up his very own designer business, has the full support of his daughter Amira, who stands by him every step of the way. However, setting up one’s own business is easier said than done, and the family find themselves having to overcome huge obstacles that are thrown their way.
From its title itself, viewers can glean that one of the central themes of Dear Vaapi is definitely that of a father-child relationship. But such relationships are never without nuances, which are conveniently ignored by the writers of the film, making the story a bland, insipid father-daughter tale which could have been so much more.
The film spares no time in establishing just the kind of mushy relationship the central father-daughter duo share. Basheer, a tailor who spent most of his life working in Mumbai, finally decides to come back to his hometown for good, much to the elation of his wife and daughter, Amira. The latter especially shares a deep and loving bond with Basheer, and the writers pull out all the stops to make that abundantly clear. Viewers are put through more than a few moments where the duo share mawkish moments of father-daughter bonding, to the point of it being borderline cringey.
From the film’s first act it is made abundantly clear that the writing has heavily relied on formulaic tropes that overpower the already weak script. We have Basheer, a loving father and dedicated craftsman with big dreams, with only his ill fate to blame for not being able to achieve them. But despite being dealt a shoddy hand, Basheer manages to keep the fire inside him alive, and embarks on a new chapter in his life- to start his own textile and designing business, with the full support of his daughter Amira.
The latter seems to be the epitome of innocence, and has all the makings of a ‘good daughter’. All sugar and nothing spice, Amira’s niceness borders on naivete, which is also written off as a ‘pro’. Although Lal’s Basheer and Anagha Narayanan’s Amira are a good example of a healthy father daughter relationship, stripping it of all and any kind of nuance makes it seem as inauthentic and artificial as ever.
Amira’s love interest Riyas is yet another victim of an overused cliche, and an outdated one at that. The man literally spends two months stalking Amira and taking pictures of her without consent, but of course the young woman can’t help but be charmed by the borderline stalker behaviour.
Black and white characters are a staple throughout the film, with each and everyone of them mostly falling around the ‘good’ spectrum, leading to a bland , vanilla film which takes the easy route of predictability as far as the story is concerned. In fact, circumstances seem to be the only real antagonist in Dear Vaapi’s story, and the second and third act is where the film actually starts to get even a sliver of intrigue.
But even when things start to get interesting, the snail’s pace at which the story moves definitely does not do it any favours. The only real intrigue in the film come from the few sequences where the protagonists are faced with hurdle after hurdle in trying to set up their business, which mirror real life instances of entrepreneurs have to go through. Some of the solutions they come up with during the course of the same also make for some intriguing moments as well, despite the impracticality and over idealistic thread that runs through it all.
With its cliched, predictable story, black and white characters, and an insipid script, Dear Vaapi has very little to keep viewers engaged. But despite its mediocrity, the film does have a few bright spots in its third act, which tries to hold a mirror to the plight of entrepreneurs in the initial stage of setting up their businesses.