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Dear Father - Paresh Rawal Delivers Yet Again

Ranjani Saigal

“Training and honesty makes for good acting”, says Paresh Rawal, the actor who continues to deliver consistent fine performances both on screen and on stage. He was in Reading, Ma presenting a very unusual play – Dear Father. The first show got completely sold out and Paresh Rawal kindly agreed to do a second show on May 10 in Burlington High School. 
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Paresh Rawal plays two roles in this play and is as usual at his very best in each role. He plays the role of an old widower living with his son and daughter-in-law in a Mumbai flat. The other role is that of a police inspector. 

Set in a Mumbai flat the play depicts the complex relationships in the home of a modern couple living with “Pappaji”, the father of the husband. 

The play begins with an Inspector coming to meet the couple and discuss the circumstances surrounding the fall from the balcony of the father-in-law. Most of the play is in flashback mode. The generation gap between the father-in-law, his son and daughter-in-law is brought out through a lot of humor.  The daughter-in-law is a career woman who graduated with a gold medal in math.  She does not believe in fulfilling the traditional womanly duties of cooking and cleaning, which is quite a puzzle to her father-in-law.  She cannot understand his concerns and that makes for some interesting conversations. 

The father-in-law is not in great health and stays home most of the time. He is fairly lonely and desperate to talk to people.  That loneliness is brought out beautifully as the character calls up sons of the deceased whose number he gets via his friend at the obituary department at a local newspaper just to have conversations.  The police inspector via his questions is able to explain this loneliness to his son and daughter-in-law and illuminate them on the problems faced by senior citizens.   

The play is written by Dr. Vivek Bele. Dinkar Jani is the Director. All the cast is spectacular.  Mrinmayee Pathak as the daughter-in-law and Chetan Dhanani as the son have done a fantastic job.  Paresh Rawal was as usual is amazing proving each time that he is arguably one of the best actors in the country today. Transitioning instantly and seamlessly between two very different roles – a sick old man and a dynamic young inspector was no small feat and yet he did it with utmost ease.

However, the content of the play was a little controversial. While the play did a fine job exposing the problem that seniors face, it did that at the cost of painting a smart talented daughter-in-law in a rather negative light. The writer has not done enough to understand the joint family issues from all perspectives and hence the play does not do much good for supporting the role of the current generation women. In fact it appears to slightly deride them.

Overall, the play is brilliant and worth watching for Paresh Rawal and hold your attention with their fine acting and sense of humor. 

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