Indeed it is.
As a grieving father who has lost his only son to the war, as a hapless but stubborn man fighting against the system to honour his son, Puri in the role of Suresh Kapoor, who shines in this film.
Puri is ably supported by Revathy, as his wife and heartbroken mother, who makes a comeback to Hindi cinema after almost a decade (her last was Muskurahat in 1992).
Dhoop deals with the emotions a family faces after their only son, Captain Rohit Kapoor, perishes in the Kargil war and how they deal with the loss. The movie is based on the life of Captain Anuj Nayyar of 17 Jat, who was killed in the southwest sector of Tiger Hill on July 5, 1999.
The father, initially reluctant to send his son off the army, faints when he gets the news.
'My wife didn't faint, I fainted' he says, recalling his son calling him a courageous man. The mother is so shocked, she withdraws into a shell. She even blames her husband for taking their son's life since he agreed to send him to the army. And the young fiancé, Pihu, considers herself Rohit's 'widow' and is determined to help Kapoor get justice.
The beginning of the movie deals with the grieving process of the family members. The second half deals with the family deciding to take on the compensation offered by the government. Rohit's mother is initially against the idea as she feels that no offering is enough to 'compensate' for the loss of her son.
However, Kapoor is determined to go for it, not for the money, but because it will keep the memory of his son alive.
What he is not prepared for is the amount of red tape that they have to face. Determined not to let down his deceased son, Kapoor decides to take on the system, even if it takes a couple of years.
It's a long hard road to justice and it's here where Puri shows off his acting prowess. As a hapless father trying to prove his parenthood to the police officer in charge; an angry, tax-payer who wants to do things the 'right way' and as a frustrated husband grappling with his grieving wife, Puri bags all the attention.
Revathy, as the mother, evokes sympathy as she loses all interest in life and cannot seem to come to grips with reality. As her character says, no one can truly understand a mother's loss.
The narrative uses flashbacks to establish the bond the family shared. Mother, father and son sharing light and serious moments. Rohit sneakily getting his father to sign his defence academy forms. Rohit's father offering to drive all night so his can appear for the final interview on time. The mother reprimanding her son for buying an expensive suit for the engagement (is your family surname Birla, Tata or Ambani, she asks).
These small, yet significant, moments of this film make an impact. While the grieving process is slightly long drawn in the beginning, maybe justifiably so; the second half brings out the essence of the story.
Jagjit Singh lends his voice to a couple of souful numbers penned by Nida Fazli, adding to the sombre mood. Also lending their voice to the soundtrack are Hariharan, Sukhwinder Singh and Shreya Ghosal.
Director, Ashwini Chaudhary, keeps the story well focused adding a few dramatic moments to highlight the apathy and evoke audience sympathy. Also in the supporting cast are Gopi Desai, Virendra Saxena, Yashpal Sharma, Ganesh Yadav and Preeti Dayal amongst others.
The story has probably been told a hundred times before. Of corruption, apathy, red tapism and dishonesty in the Indian system. But what makes it more effective is the emotional chords the characters strike as the story unfolds.
Except for a song picturised on Sanjay Suri and Gul Panag, there are no frills in this one. The film has been entirely shot in Delhi. Despite the title, you won't find much dhoop, but more shady and grey areas.
Not your typical Sunday entertainment fare but recommended if you want a taste of real life instead of candy floss.
All in all, stellar performances, especially Puri and Revathy, make the movie worth a watch.
Cast: Om Puri, Revathy, Sanjay Suri, Gul Panag, Gopi Desai, Ganesh Yadav, Yashpal Sharma, Virendera Saxena, Preeti Dayal
Director: Ashwini Chowdhary
Producers: Parth Arora, Saket Behl
Music: Lalit Sen
Lyrics: Nida Fazli