Dhobi Ghat – A review
Dhobi Ghat is a 90 minute motion picture written and directed by Kiran Rao. Mumbai,
the hustling bustling city that has allured and continues to allure millions of
Indians forms the backdrop for the roving eye of the camera. Every day scores of
people make the trip to this venerable city harboring dreams for a better tomorrow
throwing up an interesting potpourri of people whose characters have come to life
in many Bollywood scripts in the past.
Rao in this movie uses four distinct characters and synergizes their individual
stories to weave a common thread through their apparent dissimkilarities. Meet the
first character Arun played by the Bollywood “Mr. Perfectionist”, Aamir Khan. Arun
is a pensive artist whose chance encounter with an NRI investment banker Shai kick
starts the story. Shai played by Monica Dogra is in Mumbai on a sabbatical to nurture
her passion for photography. Their meeting ends up in a one night stand that Arun
truly regrets. He is forthright in rejecting the idea of a companion leaving Shai
to look for a way to bring about closure. Trying to heal her raw wounds she meets
the young, energetic aspiring actor alias dhobi, Munna played by Prateik Babbar.
Munna offers Shai a city “darshan” and in the process is completely smitten by this
suave up market woman.
Enter the fourth character who is introduced through the video letters that she
tapes for her brother in Uttar Pradesh. Yasmin played by Kriti Malhotra is a young
Muslim girl who also happens to be the ex-resident of the dwelling where Arun currently
abodes. Her emotional outpouring of her failing marriage deeply disturbs Arun who
becomes obsessed with the video footage and its character.
While the movie is crisp in terms of its length and there are moments when you can
truly relate to the metropolis theme, the somber ending maybe unpalatable for some
viewers. Also the ease of these chance encounters in a city bursting at its seams
with human habitation is more the result of pure fiction than fact.
Credit however must be given to Kiran Rao for an honest debut with her directorial
venture. Prateik Babbar is a talent for the future and is the most endearing character.
Kriti Malhotra is moving in her portrayal of the distraught woman while Monica picks
up pace with her acting skills as the rolls move on. Aamir surprisingly is relegated
to the most awkward character and unfortunately his discomfort is candidly captured
on the celluloid.
For those interested in an offbeat experience, this movie is worth a watch over