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Director Anand Ravichandran struggles to make a feature film out of a wafter-thin premise, writes Srivathsan Nadadhur


Arjun, a television journalist on the rise, who’s reluctant to marry, finally jumps the gun when he meets Deepika. Upon her mother’s insistence, Deepika doesn’t discuss her ‘sound’ sleeping habits with Arjun before marriage. When they tie the knot, the same reason poses a threat to their relationship. Will they rise above their differences?


Anand Ravichandran, the director behind the critically acclaimed rural outing Sethum Aayiram Pon, tries his hand at a quirky, urban relationship drama DeAr, where a conflict arises out of the partners’ contrasting sleeping patterns. The filmmaker overstretches the elasticity of a wafer-thin plot and gives us an under-wrought feature film with half-baked conflicts and poorly developed characters.

Arjun is more of a man-child, who’s passionate about his career in journalism but gets flustered easily while handling dicey situations. Deepika is easily the more sorted person in the relationship and is committed to making the marriage work. Arjun’s elder brother Charan is the typical patriarch in the house – a control freak who takes pride in his ‘perfection’, bossing around his wife.

The mother, hiding the wounds of her past, puts up a strong face amidst adversities. More than the differences between the couple, DeAr aspires to be a commentary on the fragility of modern-day relationships, where the flimsiest of reasons are enough for a family to fall apart. Instead of trying to confront his problem, Arjun seeks an easier escape and it only deepens his mess.

DeAr wants to be a cute little film with a lightweight conflict, but it doesn’t build upon its idea into an engaging screenplay. The film loses steam while exploring Arjun’s struggles to find a balance between marriage and work life. Many aspects  – the dialogue delivery and the pop-culture references – are lost in translation in the Telugu version. It’s emotionally too distant to make any impact.

Not all’s well with Charan’s marital life either, but it takes a long time – an emotional outburst in the third act – for Anand Ravichandran to direct his attention towards it. The weakest link is the subplot surrounding their parents’ divorce. Time and again, the film makes the mother feel guilty about her choices and has a conservative outlook towards divorce.

Deepika’s pregnancy is used as a dull excuse to heighten the drama. The time-jumps get particularly erratic post-intermission, the screenplay loses its direction due to the forced commercial compromises. The film roams around in circles without anything meaningful or poignant to add. Whenever the director falls short of ideas, there are songs for distraction. Beyond a point, you stop caring for their characters and their plight.

Within the same universe, DeAr needed wittier writing and emotional maturity to drive its point. It resorts to preaching more than showing and doesn’t make a sincere effort to tap into the characters’ psyche. Where the film deserves praise is its portrayal of Deepika’s progressive father – who doesn’t let societal norms come in the way of his daughter’s life, standing by her through thick and thin.

GV Prakash is impressive as the confused youngster who makes a mess of his marriage and so is Aishwarya Rajesh, aptly cast as a caring yet unapologetic modern-day woman. Rohini’s potential is hardly tested, while Kaali Venkat is offered adequate scope to prove his versatility. Thalaivasal Vijay’s role lacks meat and the regulars – Ilavarasu, Geetha Kailasam – do the needful. Nandhini Madesh does a fine job as a woman who suppresses her desires to fulfil domestic duties.

Despite the monotony in the storytelling, the vibrant cinematography and production design add some liveliness to the ambience. GV Prakash’s background score works better than his formulaic album.


DeAr is a flimsy relationship drama which loses steam quickly. In addition to a redundant screenplay, the characters and the writing are devoid of depth and the convincing performances can’t do much to alter its fate.

Rating: 2/5

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