Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) 2011

When you watch Dhobi Ghat, you can’t just finish watching it, turn off your TV and say “Well, this was a good movie; now I better start ironing or I won’t have a proper shirt to wear tomorrow.” Instead, you continue to sit down for another 10 minutes with an absent look on your face…

Dhobi Ghat is definitely a left-fielder. It tells a story of 4 people who live in Mumbai. These people all come from different socio-economical classes and different backgrounds; however their impossible loves tie them up together somehow. They all go through similar phases and they all reach to quite similar ending which makes you feel simply sad.

In the movie, we first meet Yasmin and we immediately like her. Her true interest in Mumbai, her sincerity and genuine love of life make her our friend. We always see her through a video camera record and Mumbai through her eyes. She makes a very enthusiastic start but we can see her wither away throughout the movie which made me feel really sorry.

Arun is a pretty strong character; anti-social, distant, sort of odd… I don’t know how to explain his character; he is one of those guys you immediately feel inside that you should leave alone. Not because he is a bad guy or something but you feel that your closeness won’t be appreciated. He clearly makes it obvious that he doesn’t care what other thinks. However he is still popular among ladies; so quite a typical artist… Arun is played by Aamir Khan, who is actually the only well-known actor in this movie. But luckily, he didn’t dominate the movie with his name; he manages to be just one of the 4 characters which gained my respect.

Munna is the 3rd character, smart guy from the slums of Mumbai. He doesn’t give away much about his thoughts but we understand that he has dreams and hopes about future. He reminds me Jamal Malik from Slumdog Millionaire; in whatever circumstances he is, he never gives up and does whatever he needs to do including filthy jobs to hang in there. His naïve interest in Shai is plainly heartbreaking because he is not stupid to believe that something might happen in the future; however we all (Munna, audience and maybe even Shai) think for a moment that there is possibility for everything in life.

Shai is quite annoying with her American-like attitude at first and I think that is the attitude which starts the misunderstanding between Munna and her. She is indecisive about her identity so her behaviours reflect this. Her character gives us an opportunity to peek into world of very wealthy, well-educated new generation Indians who have connections with the U.K. or the U.S.

I usually don’t like these kinds of movies; the movies which don’t start or end properly; the ones which only gives you a part of lives that you end up feeling cheated… But when I watched Dhobi Ghat, I wanted to write to Kiran Rao (writer and director) and tell her how great movie she made. It touches you because it is simple, direct and sincere. Even if you don’t like Bollywood or Indian movies in general, this still remains as a movie you should give a chance.


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