“DeAr” Disappoints: A Tale of Missed Opportunities in Relationship Storytelling


The cinematic landscape is often marked by the emergence of promising filmmakers who captivate audiences with heart-rendering stories and compelling narratives. Anand Ravichandran’s 2019 offering, Sethum Aayiram Pon, was one such gem – a well-crafted, emotional tale of an urban woman’s quest to rediscover her cultural heritage. The film’s measured pacing and deftly handled emotional beats signaled the arrival of a director with a serious eye for storytelling. However, Ravichandran’s latest film, DeAr, leaves many wondering whether this is indeed the work of the same filmmaker who once showed such promise.

DeAr stars GV Prakash and Aishwarya Rajesh and constructs its narrative around a haphazardly assembled premise that feels as though it was penned under the duress of a looming deadline or, perhaps, to provide a lifeline to Prakash’s series of less-than-stellar film performances. The title “DeAr” is an acronym for the lead characters’ names – Deepika and Arjun. We’re offered only the bare minimum of character development: Arjun is a television journalist whose quality of life is tied to his ability to secure eight hours of sleep; meanwhile, Deepika, plagued by sleep apnea, struggles to find matrimonial success due to her condition. Her job in HR is only briefly mentioned, suggesting it has little bearing on her character within the film’s universe.

The film opens up to a rushed marriage between Arjun and Deepika on a rain-soaked day. It’s only during their wedding night that Arjun realizes the gravity of his wife’s sleep apnea and its potential impact on his sleep—and consequently his life. Thus, DeAr unfolds, exploring the unraveling of this marriage and the ensuing familial discord that follows.

The narrative invites comparisons to last year’s sleeper hit, Good Night, but such comparisons are to DeAr’s detriment. DeAr stumbles where Good Night succeeds, notably in exploring the nuanced conflicts within a relationship. In DeAr, crucial moments feel unearned; the dramatic score blares, seeking to inject emotion where the script fails to. Characters too liberally profess their love, but the audience remains emotionally detached, given the screenplay’s inadequacies.

The film’s central issue – snoring and sleep disturbance – is just as quickly dismissed as it is introduced, with little thought given to resolution or character growth. This especially becomes evident as the film’s view on the subject is lopsided, painting Arjun as increasingly intolerant of Deepika’s sleep apnea. In comparison, Good Night provided a more balanced and empathetic perspective.

Moreover, DeAr suffers from a screenplay that seems to be in overdrive, rushing through the emotional high points. For instance, Arjun’s aspirations of landing a job at a prestigious news outlet and his dreams of interviewing India’s Finance Minister are quickly fulfilled. However, the eventual fallout, driven by his lack of sleep, is glossed over and seems inconsequential, leaving the audience expecting a twist or revelation that never arrives.

Aside from the main storyline, director Anand attempts to weave subplots featuring Saravanan, Arjun’s brother, who displays misogynistic tendencies toward his wife and a mother who longs for her estranged husband’s return. These threads feel just as contrived, providing moral lessons that are neither subtle nor impactful. In all this, the relationship between Deepika and her father, which could have served as a poignant counterpoint to the central narrative, is woefully underdeveloped.

The film tries to interject humor, includes the typical bar song, and makes ungainly jabs at feminism, all while showcasing an audio profile that fluctuates between dubbed and sync-sound dialogue – a jarring decision that only exacerbates the film’s already evident flaws.

In conclusion, DeAr, in its attempt to navigate the trappings of a relationship drama, finds itself lost in a sea of rushed sequences, contrived subplots, and missed emotional beats. For a sleep-deprived audience, perhaps the only solace lies in the film’s lackluster execution, which may inadvertently induce the very state it seeks to discuss. Despite its current run in theaters, DeAr is a reminder that even the most promising filmmakers can sometimes lose their way.

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