'Mad Dad' is a long winding, theatrical movie that whines on and on about a man who is a bit too much in love. The best that comes out of this two and a half hour long tedious exercise is that it introduces before the audience a remarkably talented actor - Nazriya Nasim.
Easow (Lal) hasn't been much lucky in life, what with his dad having passed away when he was quite young, and his mom following suit a few years later. His junior in college Anuradha (Meghna Raj) is his sole solace, and he rechristens her as Annamma and marries her pretty soon. The couple has a baby, Mariyam (Nazriya Nasim), and the trio meet with an accident, when Annamma too leaves them forever. Eesho is unable to take it anymore and lives with his daughter, convinced that Annamma is still around.
It's from this infirmity of the lead character that the film itself derives its title - 'Mad Dad'. Eesho is quickly perceived as having gone insane by those around him, while his daughter pleads with them to see that he isn't really mad. He's just a man in love, says Mariyam.
Whatever be the case, Eesho in quick spurts of insanity, does cause much harm and is within no time admitted to the psychiatric ward of the hospital. Mariyam however stays put, determined to bring back her dad to life, giving up even her fiance Bonnie (Sreejith Vijay) in the process.
The songs that keep propping up every now and then act as speed breakers, and the film that hasn't been speeding away, to start with, slows down even further. The initial one hour is spent building up backdrop that dwells on the warmth of the relationship between the father and daughter.
There have been films aplenty even before, where children have taken to calling their dads by their names, but this one should be a first when it comes to a daughter using terms as "nee" and "eda" while talking to her dad. Role reversals perhaps are round the corner, but I'm not sure if the intimacy that it intends to convey is brought in with conviction through the usage of words as these, while talking to a parent.
Essentially when you think of it, here is a man who is simply unable to get over a loss in life, and it requires him a psychiatrist and plenty of medical help to be stable again. The script very rarely attempts to dig beneath the very basic subject, and towards the climax comes up with a revelation that puts up more questions than answers.
Nazriya is a talent to watch out for, and she comes up with a commendable performance in her debut film, surprising us even in a couple of scenes. I'm not really sure as to what they meant, by that title card that showed that they were proudly introducing her as a 'heroin'! There is another scene that involves consumption of alcohol, where they display a statutory warning that 'Drinking is injurious to health'. Phew! Never knew that.
Lal, on his part, hams and overdoes things a bit, and his muffled dubbing doesn't ease things either. Meghna Raj and Padmapriya are wasted in roles that do not demand any spectacular histrionics, while Pooja Gandhi does make an impact in a role with shades of grey.Pradeep Nair's lively frames do infuse some life into the otherwise haggard proceedings.
The flimsiness of it all does come through, and the proceedings are far from memorable. Which is why, 'Mad Dad' strikes a few emotional false notes here and there, and isn't likely to impress many a viewer.