Dhobi ghaat (Mumbai Diaries) - ***1/2
Does one remember appreciating movies viz. Ek doctor ki maut, Ek din achanak, Aakrosh, Suraj ka saathva ghoda, all these have one thing in common , they let the viewer take their own perspective as movie flows in different directions n ends on a open note. Directors like Shyam benegal, Govind Nihalani, Girish kasarvalli, Satyajit ray were pioneers of Indian art house cinema. Add to that elite list, one more director, Kiran rao though not of their caliber but shows definite signs of spark, sensitivity n brilliance. So d movie belongs to this genre n hence commercial movie buffs better STAY OFF it.
The movie is an ode to Mumbai where d life n travails of 4 characters r followed. First we have Arun (Aamir) a painter who is loner living a strange life with hardly an emotional relationship, Shai (Monica dogra) a NRI whoâ€™s visiting Mumbai on a holiday as she wants a break from life n also wants a documentary during this period, Munna (Prateik babbar) is a dhobi by day, rat killer by night n shares a link between d two n finally Yasmeen (Kriti malhotra) whom we see only in the video recordings lived in d house in which Aamir lives now.
With these 4 characters d story builds slowly n takes interesting developments showcasing d emotions beautifully , their interactions bringing d whole range of happiness, sadness, wishes, fears, trials n losses. Prateik comes out shining among d four leaving a lasting impression, his uncomfortable ness, shyness with shai, d modeling scene, his despair, smile, n climax scene he shows stamp of class. Same canâ€™t be said for Aamir, who has a tinge of white hair, as it seems a little bit artificial, never d less his interest in d yasminâ€™s character bringing the artistic best out of him is another highlight. Among d female lead though yasminâ€™s character we get to see only thro d video clippings it still carries d full impact n gets into d act n succeeds in touching d right chord, from being d initially newly married happy gal to d depressed wife committing Suicide, she fits d role to the T. Finally shai played by Monica plays d sensual lady who initially falls for aamir but then shares a warm friendship with munna impresses to a great extent in her first outing.
It is also about Mumbai, its festivity, its lesser known lanes, its people, its celebrations, its shopping, its problems, its bluntness, and its arrogance n finally its forgivenessâ€™. One interesting feature being however good d characters seem to be it seems substance abuse n sleeping around is becoming an integral part of this new Mumbai culture with hardly any regrets about d same. The climax impresses d most when both prateik n monica let their emotions take them over, it bears a stamp of master class. All credit to the director kiran rao n for aamir for making it a interval less movie n succeeding in convincing d multiplex owners to showcase it in a one piece. Background story complements d story.
So whatâ€™s amiss? Well I can say for one is slowness with which it builds but one can still argue art house is about slowness. Second except for prateikâ€™s character, rest we keep wishing if they cud have been more elaborated, a sense of incompleteness. Well for people who can sit thro 95 mins of non commercial artistic show give it a try ïŠ