Dhobi Ghat – Mumbai Diaries   1 comment

Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh’s classic “Dil Tadap Tadap Ke Keh Raha Hai Aa Bhi Ja.. “ is playing on cab’s radio. The lady who is recording the events on a video cam initiates conversation with the driver saying that she is from Uttar Pradesh(UP) to which cab driver also informs her that he too is a migrant from UP. She then focuses camera outside the window capturing the scenic Marine drive. The Song (allegorical), the Rain, Lady with a video cam capturing and explaining beauty of Mumbai…  what an opening!!  No introductions, No prologues, No Close ups… just brilliant filmmaking.

Arun (Aamir Khan) is a reclusive painter who is pensive, quirky and a chain smoker. His paintings are up on display in an art exhibition, he meets Shai Edulji (Monica Dogra) who is an investment banker in US; her passion is photography and is on a vacation trip to fulfill her hobby of photo-shooting gloomy areas of Mumbai. Shai spends the night with Arun and the next morning he feels remorseful about the one-night-stand. Shai is hurt and furiously walks out of arun’s place and somehow she becomes obsessed with him.

Shai now meets Munna (Prateik Babbar) who is a dhobi & is also an aspiring actor, He asks her to take his pictures so that he can build a portfolio and in return shai asks him to be her guide and show places that she is interested in. After some meetings Munna eventually falls in love with shai. Arun is in search for an inspiration and therefore moves into an old apartment near Md Ali Road (one of the oldest places in Mumbai). Arun finds old tapes hidden in the almirah and it belongs to Yasmeen Noor (Kriti Malhotra). Yasmeen is a newlywed bride who has settled in the city with her husband and is missing her brother and family who are in UP.  She starts recording video letters to send back to her brother, in which she gives him an introduction to Mumbai and its people in a series of monologues.

So far so good, all the four characters and their inter-dependencies are revealed. However, going further the movie really drags and there is no strong substance in the screenplay. Their lives just hover around another big character: Mumbai itself.  A city which never sleeps, a city of dreams, a city which has numerous secrets and minute details, it is complete, yet it leaves behind a feeling of deep craving for something which is elusive. Kiran Rao does capture the real flavor of populous city and this longing is beautifully shown in the movie through yasmeen’s videos and brilliant black/white portraits of REAL people.

It is Yasmin who according to me is the heart of the movie, she is brimming with life who conveys as much in her words as she does through her eyes. Kiran Rao does really marvelous job in metaphorically explaining the authenticity of her longing .Guerrilla techniques used in capturing glimpses of Mumbai (The opening shot, India gate, Elephanta caves, Mumbai rains and Maid’s daughter reciting Lord Tennyson’s ‘The Brook’) are hauntingly beautiful.

Though the script is mediocre, the performances, cinematography and editing are excellent. Kriti Malhotra and Prateik Babbar have done exceedingly well , Monica dogra’s performance as pretentious yank is decent. Aamir khan.. aww.. He’s horrible… even the way he smokes, it’s so annoying. Presentation of Delhi Belly’s trailer at the start of the movie and in amitab’s voice admiring his own production house was just.. a big showoff.

Dhobi Ghat has some really fine performances, haunting visuals and good music. A decent directorial debut and i hope Kiran neither listens to Aamir nor take his inputs for the next movie.

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One response to “Dhobi Ghat – Mumbai Diaries

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  1. nice

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