Dhobi Ghat

6.5 Definitely not aspired to be popular

Flickering tears rolled down on her center curved face. Quickly she swiped it using the back of her hand. Swallowed them hard down her throat, but not before the sorrow radiated across the theater.

Were the tears for Arun? For Munne? or for herself?

Yasmin was also sad, but how much sad she had, she took it together with the ceiling fan. Except a little horror for Arun, she was not traceable. Munne ran relentlessly after Shai’s car wanting to take out his sorrow, but he took out nothing more than a piece paper. Arun? Scared and lost I would say. Staring into his neighbor’s empty stare only exacerbated the mental torture.

Munne was the Dhobi who did laundry in an open air, primitive workshop and lived in a shamble slum with his brother and aunt. He carried with him a very warm and innocent smile: unsophisticated and easily touched. He had fallen in love with Shai who was banker and lived in lavish hotels. Shai made good friends with Munne and shuffled with him on the streets of the teeming Mumbai. Large part of the movie was depicted through her camera. Similar to Shai, Arun captured the city through his colorful brushes, sponges and canvas. Yasmin was never there in the story. This poor house wife killed herself even before the movie started. Her story was told in a series of home made video cassettes.

The four characters brought aspiration, dream, love and frustration into the city. Through her unique lenses, Kiran Rao wanted to show the audience a real Mumbai. Less the sumptuous Bollywood fantasy, but very raw, bare images of the city.

Love wasn’t the main theme. It at best only was the catalyst which stitched the pieces together. The whole movie couldn’t be drier even it tries to. It is unmistakably  distinguished from all the other Bollywood movie: no song, no dance and no intermission. If you really have nothing to do in a weekend afternoon, this isn’t a bad option.


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