Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao and Dhobhi Ghat ~ Movie review


Aamir Khan – the exception among Khans!

I was never a Khan fan, NEVER! And I could tolerate no Bollywood Khan, especially SRK whose very sight used to irk me to no bounds. When it is about Sallu mia, he is just a ‘little better’ than SRK but ranks second in my category of ‘detested wannabe actors’!. Saif on the other hand, has evolved into a more dignified actor with enhanced acting skills that seem to have just got better with time. Yet, such developments have not made me his fan either! But then, the one Khan who mesmerized me and got me out of the ‘Hate Bollywood Khan’ club, with his core intellect and amazing ideas was Aamir Khan. While all other Khans are still reveling in their fame and glory of past, this guy over the years, has transitioned from an amateurish actor to a versatile artist, a creative script writer, director and producer who churns out simple candid concepts pulled from every day life, in a very lucid way.

When I watched Ghajini in 2008, I was less impressed with the movie, its direction, its script and music, but watched the movie solely for Aamir where he played the role a man bereaved of his love and suffering from a short term memory loss, with finesse. The greatest compliment he got, was from Surya who had played the same role in the original Ghajini movie (that was made in Tamil). Following suit were his Taare Zameen par, 3 Idiots and Dhobhi Ghat, all of which were movies with a simple story, talented cast and some good music too!

Dhobi Ghat – A movie of acquired taste!

PLEASE NOTE: Folks! let me make it crystal clear: If you are looking for some sleazy item numbers, some sensual munni or Sheila trying to show off her perfect curves, a hero villain saga, some clichéd love story, or steamy scenes that can hike your testosterone levels, then please DON’T waste your time reading this post! This movie is just not your cup of tea!

Now coming to Dhobi Ghat, I believe this movie deserves a review! When I saw the trailer of Dhobi Ghat, I instantly decided to watch it. Both, my husband and I are Aamir Khan fans, and considering he makes only one movie per year, we decided not to miss the first day first show! However, we just got lucky enough to get tickets for second day matinee show. And here goes my review!

The movie runs exactly for 1 hour 40 minutes. There are no song and dance sequence, except for the background music that can be heard when words are replaced by silence and actions are spoken through a whirlwind of emotions portrayed by the characters in the movie. So, what is Dhobi Ghat all about? As the name suggests, it is the local washing area of Mumbai, located in close proximity of Mahalaxmi. A slow narrative starts from this very place. And if you read the title again, there is a caption accompanying it – Mumbai Diaries! That clears half the suspense, right?

Dhobi Ghat is a movie centering around 5 intriguing characters:

  • A newly wed Yasmin Noor (played by Kirti Malhotra) is enjoying, taking her first baby steps to gel with the hustly bustly city of Mumbai that is so much unlike her hometown at Malihabad, UP. The young bride derives great pleasure in capturing the moments, places and the myriad nuances of Mumbai in her video cam, through which she communicates with the world, with its viewers.
  • Munna, the character played by Prateik Babbar (son of Late Smita Patil and Raj Babbar) is about a non resident Bihari who has come all the way from Bihar to gain fame in Bollywood. To survive and make a living, he works at Dhobi Ghat during the day and as a rat killer in the night.
  • Arun, the artist, is played by Aamir Khan, who has done great justice to this role, as a successful artist, a disgruntled divorcee and a loner by choice. He takes keen interest in understanding Yasmin (the previous tenant), from her videos that she left behind.
  • The NRI, Shai played by Monica Dogra, is an investment banker in America who visits Mumbai on an undefined hiatus, wherein her journey of self reckoning commences, with her chance encounter with Arun, who later becomes her subject of interest and obsession.
  • And last but not the least, the most mesmerizing character of this movie is the city of Mumbai itself. In fact, the movie starts with Mumbai speaking through Yasmin, the newly wed girl from UP. It further speaks about people who come to this city with unfulfilled dreams and ambitions only to accomplish them, about people who find love in their passion and their work and about people who gel amicably with the endless cacophony of the city, that is more engaging than dissonant.

The Mumbai diaries take the viewer on a roller coaster ride, exploring its myriad shades here and there which include the good and the bad, the rich and the famous, the poor and the subjugated, the bold and the beautiful, and also the ones for whom this city is no less than a promise waiting to be fulfilled. Besides, some of the camera work in the movie is simply astounding. Some of the best shots in the movie include the breaking dawn, the city coming to life from the wee hours of morning, the narrow roads of slums, the Dhobhi Ghat, the busy Mohammed Ali road at the time of Ramzan, the local trains and the high rise buildings of the city.

Dhobi Ghat was a refreshing starter in the platter of movies, this year 2011 had to offer. Kiran Rao as a director has tried her best with this film, by engaging a new and fresh cast. Besides, ignoring a clumsy narrative and painfully slow introduction of characters, this movie is one amazing watch, in which every character has been portrayed beautifully, simultaneously exploring the various facets of human nature.

Rating: 3.5/5

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