Let me warn you… Dhobi Ghat is an out and out art movie. Just ‘coz Aamir stars in it does not make it commercial.
There is no story… it is like reading a book of short stories… where there is no ending. I am finding it hard to describe it… if you read short stories you know what I mean.
The actors/actresses are not any of the 4 characters but Mumbai. The sights, sounds, lives in Mumbai are captured beautifully. You get a glimpse into the South Mumbai elite crowd, the artistic/intellectual people, the slum dogs (forgive the term) and the middle class.
I loved it… I think Kiran Rao is a brilliant director in the leagues of Mira Nair. My only problem is Aamir… he should not have been in it. He is out of place. Many people will walk out of the theatres ‘coz they will enter expecting an Aamir Khan movie. Why raise expectations? Your movie should draw the targeted crowd and keep out riff raff. The movie should get good reviews from people who understand it rather than get trashed by those expectations are different.
I got thinking… what makes Mumbai so special? I do not find this city any greater or better… instead life is tough here. Is that what Mumbaikars are proud of? That they are tougher, more resilient? I don’t know. “Mumbai” generally refers to South Mumbai and Bandra. Everything else came later. Living in suburbs does not make me feel part of “Mumbai crowd”. There is nothing different about me here. It is better to live in another city than in the Mumbai suburbs.
What it has given me is a sense of freedom and security that I have not found anywhere. 2 years back when I had start living in Thane for the 1st time I was at the station waiting for the local train. A beggar was troubling me… he kept touching my arm and asking for money. I ignored him. Beggars can be irritating and incidents like them touching your feet, arm etc are common. A lady next to me screamed at the beggar; “How dare you touch her? Get away”. He moved off. “Wow” I thought. Driving or travelling alone late at night is not an issue here. The day winds down at midnight.
Here is to Mumbai… to the dirt, pollution, poverty, slums, noise… and freedom.