Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dhobi Ghat

Aamir Khan’s yet another home production. This time it is for wife Kiran Rao’s directorial debut. Dhobi Ghat is a film set in the lanes and bylanes of Mumbai portraying its true flavor, very unlike the usual gloss that we get to see. This movie is more an arty movie with a slight attempt at being commercial.
Movie has 4 central characters, who lead you through the familiar locations in Mumbai with calculated presence. Arun (Aamir Khan), a painter who comes to Mumbai and wants to be alone post-divorce. He also ensures any interactions he has will be without any strings attached. Enter Shai (Monica Dogra), an investment banker from New York on a sabbatical, wanting to explore her passion for photography. Munna (Prateik Babbar), a washerman by day,rat killer by night and an actor by ambition/aspiration. Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra), a young Muslim home maker, whose home videos chronicles her life in the new city,post marriage.
Arun meets Shai at an art exhibition showcasing his paintings. They spend the night and before Shai gets any ideas, Arun curtly informs her that he doesn’t want any kind of relationship. Heart broken, she return home, and Munna turns up at her house with her laundry. Coincidence that Arun and Shai share the dhobi’s services. This gives Shai an opportunity to approach Arun, but very stealthily and through Munna. The curiosity in Arun makes him find some discarded video tapes in the cupboard. Curiosity makes him watch it which leads him to discover the earlier tenant of the house. She is narrating her experiences of Mumbai for her brother back home, but looks like, it never got sent. Arun is extremely inspired by the home video for his artwork.
Munna and Shai discover each other’s company, soon Munna falls for her, but never reveals it. She helps him shoot his portfolio for his acting career. Together they sightsee Mumbai without the touristy attractions. In what we would call a predictable twist, Munna realizes that Shai likes Arun and he was probable just an acquaintance/friend on the way. He decides to keep his silences and gives her Arun’s address.
What works:
Well thought out script and screenplay
Truth in depiction of Mumbai
Kriti’s innocence
What doesn’t
Takes time to grow on you – typical cinegoer looking for masala and melodrama will not appreciate it
Aamir Khan’s constant brooding doesn’t strike a chord

Lacks the edge that could have taken it to the Oscars
My rating: 3/5 – the pace allows you to watch it once

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