Directed By: Kiran Rao
Cast: Prateik Babbar (Munna), Monica Dogra (Shai), Kriti Malhotra (Yasmin), Aamir Khan (Arun).
Critic Rating – 3/5
Kiran Rao’s (a Jamia alumna) debut movie “Dhobi Ghat,” is more of a documentary film than a typical Bollywood flick as the film deals with aspects of reality. Reality of hardships in different phases of life.
The film revolves around four migrants from very different worlds.
Munna (Prateik Babbar), a dhobi, is an aspiring actor. Munna migrated from his home to Mumbai in search of a livelihood as there was no food back home. He is a dhobi during the daytime and at night he does filthy and demeaning work like killing rats. The character of Munna leaves a deep impact on the viewer as his hardships are really soul shaking.
Shai (Monica Dogra), is an amateur photographer, who is also an investment banker from New York and is very curious about everything.
Arun (Aamir Khan) is an artist who got divorced two years ago and now lives alone.
Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra) is a young-married-Muslim girl, who came to Mumbai after her marriage and while in Mumbai, she sends videos as letters to her brother. She records her talks and clippings of Mumbai in tapes, which shows that she was forced to marry and lived an unhappy married life, because her husband had cheated on her.
Their lives get inter-connected in some way, which seemed to be a little confusing in the movie.
Shai wants to capture Mumbai in her camera and Munna helps her to do so by taking her to different places in Mumbai. During this, Munna falls for her. However, Shai is attracted to Arun. Shai and Arun even had a one-night stand, but the next morning Arun apologizes to Shai telling her that he has no interest in her; it’s just that he was drunk last night.
Arun is moved by watching the video tapes left in his flat by the previous tenant: Yasmin. On watching these videos he starts feeling something for her.
Altogether, the four characters take you to a visit to the dark side of Mumbai.
Some may find this movie to be a bumper boring movie, especially in the beginning when the story takes too long to build characters.
Some parts of the movie are stunning, this includes the scene of Mumbai presented in the movie and the black and white stills, capturing the lower class working people of the city.
Unlike all of other Amir Khan’s movies, this movie lacks the characteristic feature of binding a viewer’s interest till the end.
The ending also was not up to the mark as there was no clear closure to the story.
Overall, it’s a nice movie by a first time director, and deserves to be watched.