I’m a latecomer to watching this fantastic movie Dhobi Ghaat by Kiran Rao but better late than never. Post movie I felt I just read a novel. In the beginning of one you are so sure you are detachedly reading a story. However by the end, the story has gripped you, close watching the ups and downs of characters has become such an interesting job that when it is done a void surrounds you and numbs your thought process for some time.
This one doesn’t have a start and finish story, just some events in life of the center characters and normally I really get mad at artsy, documentary style movies because some narrators feel victorious in highlighting the most bizarre and sad part that can lead you to depression. The daily survival lifestyle of Mumbai is the most tempting background for them all but to try and reach to the soul of this part of the world you need to be a hardcore believer in goodness.
Dhobi Ghaat revolves around relationship between Shai(Monica Dogra) and Arun(Aamir Khan), Shai and Munna(Prateik Babbar) and Arun and Yasmeen Noor(Kriti Malhotra). Of this, Yasmeen Noor is just a name on a video diary of a previous tenant of the flat that Arun, a painting artist, has newly shifted into. He has discovered the tapes while arranging the flat for himself. A woman Arun will never meet. Shai (investment banker turned passion photographer) and Munna’s (a laundryguy) story got me thinking, do we really have such thing as free will in modern times? An unseen class barrier is more effective than a loud protesting parent in meeting of minds.
But it’s the small details that made me grin too many a times. Each and every small character makes their presence known without overdoing it. The kaamwali bai and her daughter that Yasmeen is shooting, Agnes- Shai’s help who frowns at friendly treatment to a laundryman and brings his tea for him in a glass, the houselady who agrees to Shai taking Munna’s pictures at her home not before giving a vicious look and making her displeasure very evident, etc. The body language were so perfect as if of real life people.
After watching the first tape by Yasmeen, Arun is on a high (a contrast to last few years of shunted living), looking at and discovering the same world anew through her eyes. The sadness he first feels on knowing Yasmeen’s, a stranger’s pain, the shock and feeling of utter helplessness Arun goes through after watching Yasmeen’s third tape, Aakhiri chitthi, is an example that humanity is capably at par with divinity.
A must watch movie if you haven’t. Like a good novel, this movie will entice you even if you are a latecomer like me.