Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dhobi Ghat

Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 21st January, 2011
Time : 100 minutes
Director & Writer : Kiran Rao; Music : Gustavo Santaolalla
Starring : Aamir Khan, Monica Dogra, Prateik Babbar, Kriti Malhotra, Kitu Gidwani

Slow but mesmerising. Connected strands yet not totally linked together. Beautiful while remaining gritty. Real, uplifting yet poignant. Dhobi Ghat is the story of four characters but its not so much about the characters themselves than the lives they lead. We don’t really get to know or understand any one of them completely, they still manage to do things that surprise us while we get to see a few days in their eventful lives.

Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra) is a newly wed Muslim bride, who’s come from her small village to Mumbai to settle down with her husband. She misses her family a lot, shows girlish delight at several things in Mumbai (the shops, the rains, the colourful bangles) and has been capturing it all in a video letter for her brother. The house she lived in is later occupied by Arun
Arun (Aamir Khan) is an artist, eccentric, moody, introverted and a man of few syllables. Struggling to put his past behind him, he’s moved into a small flat in a crowded market place. He seems to find pleasure in small things but human company is clearly not what he craves. After an art exhibition and a few drinks he sleeps with Shayi but next morning he cant wait to get rid of her.

Shayi (Monica Dogra) is on a sabbatical from an investment banking job in New York, doing the things most NRI’s tend to do (attend art exhibitions, party, smoke weed etc). A determined, fearless person, she’s not afraid to rough it out and shows a lot of sensitivity to those less privileged. She’s also a keen photographer and decides to photograph the picturesque Dhobi Ghat, aided by her dhobi, Munna

Munna (Prateik) is also from a small town, does multiple jobs including being a dhobi and a rat killer, aspires to be an actor and gets along with everyone (possibly a little too much with one of the housewives he delivers clothes to). He has his feet firmly on the ground, again is not giving to talking too much, doing his work diligently and taking pride in it. Amongst the houses he delivers to is Arun’s.

The acting performances (all four of them !), the background music (some haunting scores including a song by Begum Akhtar and the theme score), the still photographs used in the film (I want to buy them), the different locales in Mumbai (didnt know it could be so pretty), the interesting camera angles and the mixing up of different colours (black and whites alternating with dashes of furious colours) give this film its beautiful, mesmeric quality. You get drawn into their lives. You want to find out more about them, share in their triumph’s and failures.

I wish the pace of the film was slightly faster, the stories came together more neatly in the end and that there was a point or a theme which bound the four vignettes together. There is a little bit of sense of unfinished business when the film ends.

However, there is a sense of adventure as you watch the four separate lives unfold. There is a sense of spontaneity as you watch the four characters, they don’t seem to be acting to a script. There is no single message or issue raised but it still makes you think. About life. Fairness. Relationships. People and their circumstances. I enjoy such films but its not for everyone

1 comment:

Pradosh said...

I thought this movie deserved more than 7. I think atleast an 8 or 9

After a long time, we saw a movie which had so much soul
Sure, the movie ended on an incomplete note, but it evoked so much emotion in its small runtime ... Prateik Babbar's Munna was especially haunting