Many Mollywood films have beautifully carved the phase of friendship and some of them emerged into a cult status among the moviegoers. The evolution of friendship tales have gone through various highs and lows over the years and still struck a chord with us. Dear Friend by actor turned director Vineeth Kumar is an offbeat, unusual take on friendships that stays away from the group and never fits into the tropes of a conventional feel-good drama.
Vinod, Shyam, Arjun, Jannat, Sajith are friends residing in Bangalore. Jannat is a psychologist while the rest are trying to find a balance in life through a start-up. They are a happy gang with partying, pulling pranks on birthdays, and late night walks complete their circle of life. But then the sudden disappearance of Vinod raises questions among them and a web of lies starts to unfold leaving them scattered with several unexpected turns of events. It’s friendship that we want to hold onto the most and the relationship we value with whole heart. Dear Friend provides a warmth and cosy feel in the first half with shades of an urban drama. It relates on various levels and the beautiful moments they spend is captured in an unadulterated, poised way.
The effectiveness of their relationship is so charming with some fine performances taking charge of the show. The slow burn narration may leave many in dismal as it never rushes its intention and travels through each character and their set of struggles. All are trying to tackle their own issues while friendship is the only thing that keeps them together. Vineeth Kumar uses these myriad of emotions to nurture a plot rich in freshness but requires your utmost patience. While the first half moves in pleasant mode it suddenly switches its mood into a mystery thriller raising several questions. The friend’s quest to find an answer to Vinod’s disappearance doesn’t end on a happy note and Vineeth Kumar unlike other feel-good dramas never inject his intentions into us. For an audience who’s used to spoon-feeding would never get a chance to leave the cinema halls with a happy face however that makes Dear Friend distinct.
Tovino Thomas delivers a composed, arresting act as the man with a mystery. The shades of his character are not easily revealed and the actor move along the tide comfortably. Arjun Radhakrishnan was so convincing as a young man who wants to free from his father’s shadow. Basil Joseph, Darshana Rajendran, Arjun Lal and Sanchana Natarajan come up with a decent portrayal of their assigned roles. The visuals by Shyju Khalid are organic, especially the night scenes which add a great value to the unorthodox storytelling. At several instances silence takes the scene forward rather than being overboard on sounds. Justin Varghese’s poignant soundtrack was effective during the search for the protagonist.
Dear Friend was never meant to satisfy the majority as it belongs to the ‘not everyone’s cup of tea’ kinda genre. The initial portions may find a lot of takers due to its happy vibe but if you’re patient enough this mystery drama will definitely surprise you. Kudos writers Suhas, Sharfu, Arjun Lal for delivering an out of the box drama. Dear Friend might not be a revolutionary attempt in Mollywood but it definitely has a soul that would connect at least with a few.
Review By ©Rahul Babu