Ratings: * * * 1/2
Cast: Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar, Monica Dogra, Kriti Malhotra
Director: Kiran Rao
Music: Gustavo Santaolalla
Producers: Aamir Khan Productions
The city of Mumbai has been explored on celluloid by filmmakers almost ever since Bollywood or Hindi film industry came into being. Debutant director Kiran Rao explores the same old city yet again but in a manner which makes her work stand apart proudly from other films based on Mumbai.
Rao makes her unconventional methods clear right from the very first scene as she narrates the story of four individuals, Arun, a lonely painter, Shai, a banker from New York who is in Mumbai on a sabbatical, Munna, the dhobi and Yasmeen, a newly married woman. The four characters cross each other’s paths as the city slowly emerges as the fifth character.
Rao succeeds very well in capturing utter realism as the four characters go through various experiences. The events, interactions, reactions, emotions and the narration submerge us into a world which we cannot label as fiction even though it is. The way the four characters subtly enter each other’s lives and become an integral part in such an unusual manner is something to watch out for. And considering this is Rao’s first film she deserves kudos for the direction as well as the writing.
Having said that, the film has limited chances of appealing to the masses because of the documentary feel it gives sometimes. The pro-entertainment folks might even find it difficult to digest this flick, which is ideal for film festivals. But this should not surprise the makers as Rao makes it clear from her story and her way of narration and filming that box-office or mass success is not she was looking for.
Aamir Khan plays a quite, shy, loner painter with ease. He shows a very different side of his and succeeds in speaking with his eyes and expressions. However, because of the nature of the character, the performance might not satisfy some of his diehard fans.
Prateik Babbar gets into the skin of his character and displays a flawless act. He leaves behind a tremendous mark as he displays different states of his mind with maturity. Debutant Monica Dogra fits in the role of an NRI perfectly. Although she struggles with her Hindi but that is understandable considering her character. She also has the looks to astonish! Kriti Malhotra doesn’t have much to do other than narrate but she manages to impress.
Even though Dhobi Ghat is not something that will blaze the box-office, Kiran Rao has reasons to be proud of her entry in Bollywood. It’s moving yet pleasurable; simple yet memorable!