Language: Hindi | English
Director: Kiran Rao
Writer: Kiran Rao
Genre: Drama, Romance
Cast: Monica Dogra, Prateik Babbar, Aamir Khan, Kriti Malhotra
IMDb: Dhobi Ghat (2010)
Also known as Mumbai Diaries (2010).
Streaming on Netflix.
DISCLAIMER : *SPOILER ALERT*. This review contains SPOILERS.
“Mumbai – my muse, my whore, my beloved”
Kiran Rao, on her directorial debut in this movie, did a wonderful job in representing Mumbai with its true hues and tints. I believe she worked her magic in treating Mumbai as a well-versed character of the movie.
The movie narrates the story of four diverse characters, with their own dreams, desires, fears, and tragedies separated by caste, class, and poverty, yet they share a similar theme, in the city of Mumbai. Even though all the characters are in the same city, Kiran Rao was successful in portraying different worlds that existed within the city and how each one of them was treated differently by it.
The movie revolves around Shai Edulji (Monica Dogra), an investment banker from New York on her sabbatical in Mumbai and to follow her passion for photography, Arun (Aamir Khan), a reclusive painter who is moving to a new house, Munna (Prateik Babbar) a laundry boy with aspirations to be a movie star and Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra) who is portrayed as a Muslim bride who shifted to Mumbai after marriage.
A chance encounter between Arun and Shai, at Arun’s exhibition of his latest works, leads to a one night stand. He trying to convey her that last night was a mistake and he didn’t mean it, ends on a wrong note. Following that Shai moves onto her purpose of visit in Mumbai and meets chiselled and handsome Munna, a laundry boy aspiring to be an actor. Shai strikes a friendship with Munna and then that relationship evolves. The differences portrayed between their worlds in this relationship were subtle but effective. Meanwhile, Arun shifts to a new house where he comes across videotapes of the previous tenant. Through the videotapes Arun tries to understand Yasmin, whom the tapes belonged to, and it urges him for his next painting. Yasmin was a stranger to him. Still, these videotapes affected him. This has been portrayed beautifully in the movie. Shai, Munna, Arun and Yasmin, all are intertwined in a way and is part of each others’ existence. The city of Mumbai binds them together.
All the actors, the director, with Oscar-winning Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla’s guitar-heavy score gives a soul and depicts the sad-happy mood of this tumultuous city to the core.
If you are more interested in Indian movies and want something which is different and feel-good, Try Dhobi Ghat and I assure you that you will not be disappointed.
Verdict: 5/7 stars.
Aamir Khan is such a big name in India that he could not go in and out of the house that the shoot was taking place in without arousing huge public interest. So he and his wife Kiran Rao, who is also the director, actually stayed in the same house for the entire duration of the shoot.
The movie uses two Hindustani classical renditions. One is Siddheshwari Devi’s dadra “Paani bharan aaye” in Raag Khamaj. The second one is Begum Akhtar’s rainsong thumri “Ab ke saawan” in Raag Tilak Kamod which blends beautifully in the backdrop of Mumbai monsoons.
Kiran Rao’s directional Debut
Film was shot in 2 versions. Original version was 40 percent in English while second version had dialog dubbed in Hindi.