‘DeAr’ movie review: A rushed, contrived relationship drama

GV Prakash Kumar and Aishwarya Rajesh featured in a scene from ‘DeAr’
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In stark contrast to the lingering, poignant appeal of 2019’s Sethum Aayiram Pon, a story capturing an urban woman’s return to her ancestral roots, Anand Ravichandran’s newest film, DeAr, comes as a disappointment. It leaves us verifying whether the person who helmed the emotionally potent predecessor is indeed the same filmmaker presenting this latest offering.

The film, starring GV Prakash Kumar and Aishwarya Rajesh, is a hurried effort, seemingly penned under deadline pressure or possibly in haste to course-correct Prakash’s recent dismal outings. Here, we are introduced to the characters Deepika and Arjun, which DeAr stands for. Arjun is introduced to us as a light sleeper who requires plenty of rest, essential for his career as a TV journalist. Conversely, Deepika struggles with sleep apnea, an issue that seems to disrupt her prospects in the realm of marriage. Though there are vague allusions to Deepika’s role in HR, the film conveniently overlooks how her profession is impacted by the narrative’s turn of events.

GV Prakash Kumar and Aishwarya Rajesh in a still from ‘DeAr’

GV Prakash Kumar and Aishwarya Rajesh captured in a moment from ‘DeAr’
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Following their rainy-day nuptials, Deepika conceals her sleep condition from Arjun until their wedding night, which brings Arjun face-to-face with the realization that peaceful sleep might become a rare luxury. The film’s progression concerns itself with how this newly wedded couple and their families deal with the ensuing marriage strife. Does it sound reminiscent of last year’s Good Night? One could attempt to view DeAr without drawing parallels, but its failure to captivate where Vinayak Chandrasekaran’s film excelled the previous year makes it difficult.

The centerpiece of the conflict fails to resonate, augmented by an overly dramatic score and a repetitive cycle of “I Love You” exchanges that fail to evoke investment in the characters’ plight. While the central issue of snoring, and a solution to it, is erroneously sidestepped, the narrative disproportionately portrays Arjun as the antagonist and considers his grievance about Deepika’s sleep apnea trivial and undeserving of attention.

DeAr (Tamil)

Director: Anand Ravichandran

Cast: GV Prakash Kumar, Aishwarya Rajesh, Kaali Venkat, Rohini, Geetha Kailasam, Nandhini, Ilavarasu

Runtime: 134 minutes

Storyline: A young woman’s struggle with sleep apnea spells trouble for her marriage to a man who functions best after a good night’s rest.

DeAr is marred further by a screenplay that seems to be in a rush throughout. Events unfold swiftly without any substantial depth or emotional stake, and any potential dramatic climax fizzles out in the hasty narrative. Consequently, when the relationship deteriorates to the point of discussing divorce, the audience feels disengaged, left anticipating a more substantial subplot that never materializes.

Anand also does not take the time to nurture the intrinsic drama between characters; for instance, Arjun’s family, who supposedly have a significant influence in his life, do not confront the marital issue until the court proceedings begin, raising questions about their absence before.

While the film briskly navigates the crumbling relationship, it tries to inject artificial depth into supporting characters, such as Saravanan, a misanthrope, and his mother, hopeful for a reconciliation with her estranged husband. Oddly, amidst this moral grandstanding, one ends up wishing for a deeper exploration of the complex relationship between Deepika and her father.

Adding to the film’s struggles are the humourless attempts at comedy, the overdone bar scene while drinking away sorrows, out-of-place remarks on feminism, and the puzzling choice of mixing dubbed and live-recorded dialogue which creates an inconsistent auditory experience. These elements may inadvertently become the cure for insomnia rather than the intended depiction of sleep apnea.

DeAr is currently in theaters.

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