The film starts off with a broad in-house murder of a certain MLA Mhatre. This is followed by the viewers being treated to the inroads of Dagdi Chawl of the year 1976, which has been a witness to the rise of the staunch Lord Shiva devotee Arun Gulab Gawli from being a mere mill worker’s son to a dreaded don to a politician. The film, then, mirrors all the flashback of events which speaks about the formation of BRA (Babu, Rama, Arun) members who were the key people behind many nefarious activities. One day, at the behest of his wife Zubeida (Aishwarya Rajesh), Arun Gawli decides to leave his entire criminal past behind and start a new life. Just as when he goes to meet his friend Rama to announce his decision of leaving the world of crime, he witnesses a board daylight ‘encounter’ of Rama at the hands of Inspector Vijaykar Nitin (Nishikant Kamat) and his fellow policemen.
Seeing this, Arun reverses his decision to leave the crime world. The film, then, starts oscillating between the past and the present. Inspector Vijaykar leaves nothing to chance in his attempts to put Arun behind bars. Despite all the odds being against him, Arun still manages to contest the elections and eventually wins it by a huge margin. What happens to Inspector Vijaykar and his never-say-die attempts to jail Arun, what happens to Arun and his tryst with politics, does Arun become successful to leave his past behind and start a new life is what forms the rest of the film
No prizes for guessing that, it is Arjun Rampal who wins hands down in the acting department. The real-life towering personality of his, doubled with an intense ‘eye-language’ and body language to match, Daddy is definitely an author-backed role for him. Had the screenplay been a bit tauter and clear, Daddy could have just become a career-defining film for Arjun Rampal. Arjun Rampal is seen giving the film his everything in order to make this role a memorable one. Arjun Rampal is followed a close second by the multi-talented Nishikant Kamat, who spells ‘class’ in the role of Inspector Vijaykar Nitin. One really wonders as to from how does Nishikant manage to look different in all his films in which he has acted.
Besides the fact that the film has been based on the dreaded Arun Gawli, the film also had a tagline that stated ‘Daddy- The gangster who never ran from the police’. These two factors, as well as the film’s trailer, increased the curiosity amongst the viewers about the film. The film’s director Ashim Ahluwalia, who has earlier made films like John & Jane and Miss Lovely, takes a huge leap of sorts with Daddy. Even though one can appreciate the sincerity and his intentions with which he made the film, the fact is that these factors are not good enough for the film to sail through into the hearts of the cinema-goer as a film that is really hard hitting or memorable for a long time. The film’s first half is all about the establishment of the film’s characters and setting up the premise. While one expected a reallwell-defineded second half, the sad part is that the second part comes across way too stretched and roaming around in circles. An experienced hand in editing could have helped the second half, but sadly, that is not the case here. One has to give it to the director for having reasonably good production, esp. when it comes to a recreation of the era gone by.
As far as the film’s music is concerned, even though the film’s music does not act as a deterrent in the film’s progress, there are hardly any memorable songs in the film, except for the melodious ‘Eid Mubarak’. If you are a die-hard fan of Arjun Rampal or such genre of films, then, the film Daddy is a must watch for you. And for the rest of you, except for Arjun Rampal and the production values in the form of the recreation of the era gone by, there is hardly anything to boast about in the film.