I wanted to write reviews about things that touched me, and one of the best movies I have seen in the last few months has been Dhobi Ghat. They got my attention because the movie was based on my favorite city, my hometown.As one of the character Arun says in the movie “to Mumbai… my muse, my whore, my beloved!” The movie is follows 4 characters, who are all linked. Munna is a dhobi from Bihar, who aspires to be an actor. Arun is an artist, a loner who is looking for inspiration. Shai from New York, is on a sabbatical to follower her passion for photography and looking is looking to explore the city. Yasmin moves to Bombay after her marriage, and is recording her view of the city to show it to her brother.
The story actually weaves together as all the characters interact. The movie’s focus is on the characters, their emotions and flaws. Without giving too much away, according to me, some of the most brilliant parts of the movie was Arun’s obsession and new muse. Aamir Khan’s performance as Arun is brilliant, and it showcases his angst and raw emotions. Yasmin captures the innocence of someone who is in the big city for the first time, and is endearing.
In one of the scenes, Munna comes to Shai’s house, Shai invites his to sit on the couch, and after much hesitation he sits down. Shai’s maid serves him tea in a glass instead of a cup, which embarasses Shai. Kiran Rao captures subtle nuances of Bombay’s cultural framework, like the class divide.
The movie is not for everyone, it is at a slow pace, and leaves lots of gaps for your imagination. For a Bollywood loyalist, watching this movie would feel like nothing actually happens, no drama and no happy ending. But if you are looking for an art movie that moves your heart, this one is just for you!