Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dhobi Ghat

A good hour after watching Dhobi Ghat I wanted to get back to those characters . It could well be the effect of catching it on big-screen alone on a weekday evening  but I suspect Kiran rao's deftness with her craft to be the culprit. Aamir and Yasmin were the ones that stayed on. Strange reaction to a film I  hadnt expected to enjoy.

Before watching the movie, I had my doubts. One, Over the pace. The editing and the music take scare of  that  without a moment of slack. The written material is interesting too. Music which is by an Argentinian(? not sure on this one) sounds very Indian in terms of instruments as well as the tune. It plays a good role.

The other problem I had and still have is this tribute to a city business. From the one on Paris - Paris, Je T'aime to Newyork, I love you, I dont get the city part. I like some of the stories as a perspective on people, their emotions and that is true for Dhobi Ghat as well but connecting it to the city  - a complete #fail for me.It puts me off - this overt Romanticism.* Only two movies where city really played part for me was Khosla ka Ghosla and oye lucky lucky oye or Kadhal*.

Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I saw the stories as just that and didnt try to connect it to Mumbai straight away.

Yasmin, the outsider endears you. Not as a outsider but with her naivety. If that naivety is symbolic of all the small town people who land up in Mumbai  - that would be wrong on so many levels I wouldnt even know where to start.

But what a beautiful portrayal by whoever the girl is.  The  hurry burry that she makes fun of , I saw it as people being efficient. I didnt stand by and observe the morning ritual nor was I too enthralled by the city like she was but when you live in a city for a month, you do notice a few things. And every single time I saw the queue in front of the bus or the blinkers for lane change and actual lanes for cars, efficient was the word that came to my mind about this city.

I was surprised that instead of being put off  by her innocence(I have my own issues with these kind of people), I found her endearing.  We are voyeurs too. Not the dangerous kind but with a non-intrusive affection for our subject. Just as the mind wondered about the kind of life that would require to sustain the innocence, the blow comes. Life.

Prateik who plays the Dhobi fits like a glove. Seriously, is acting a genetic trait? How does a Bandra boy play a dhobi from the other spectrum of the city this well?

Of course performance is uniformly good. You can clearly see the film follows the art film grammar. It is interestingly done to enthrall my not so art filmy heart. Four-five scenes stand out.

In one of the first few scenes in the movie, the Newyork city girl's hands glides down a photo in a book, another pair of hands joins albeit after a moment of hesitation and that is all that is shown to indicate what happens between them - Sheer beauty.

I suppose there is lot more to the movie if  we want to interpret. The neighbor old day who constantly stares - representing the city's indifferent neighbour? The city itself through the eyes of new entrant whose innocence it destroys(too typical, no?). I am not sure of these, may be it is too literal. But I dont want to go there either.

To me, these sort of movies work because they are celebration of us. People, our emotions on a graded color scale. I like.


  1. the argentenian composer is 2 time Oscar winner, Gustavo-Motor Cycle diaries, Babel and Brokeback Mountain. He composed in mumbai and recorded with classical instrumentalists there.

    Did u read b Rangan's review?


  2. Praveen:
    This was one of the rare cases where i missed his reviews and read it just now and that was a superb piece.

    BTW, what is this high security for your blog?

  3. Its a brilliant movie...I loved the soundtrack

  4. Sorry for the delayed response. Just closed it. No time at all.


  5. Hello,
    Mm... A nice comfy review! Liked it, especially your suggestions about the girl (Monica Dogra) and her naivety.
    You don't speak about Aamir?!

  6. Yves,
    Welcome. I wrote right after watching the movie and wrote whaever came to me at that point...

    But I do like Aamir a lot and felt he was good in this movie.