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Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) - POST ALL REVIEWS HERE (Page 5)

ajooni IF-Rockerz

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Film Review: Dhobi Ghat

New Delhi January 20, 2011

Mumbai Smoothie

Kiran Rao
Starring: Aamir Khan, Prateik, Monica Dogra

Some movies knock you out with a punch, others gently lay you down, soothe your fevered brow and lull you into a dream. Movies about Mumbai tend to do the former. But Kiran Rao's deeply personal Dhobi Ghat takes you by the hand, leads you to its doorstep and then leaves you to gawk, with pleasure. At Shai Edulji's (Monica Dogra) unknowingly selfish world, where her little indulgence can be someone else's life-altering experience. At Arun's (Aamir Khan) self-absorbed existence, divided between his art and his brooding. At Yasmin's (Kriti Malhotra) video letters to her brother in Malihabad, full of yearning but edged with sadness.

And of Munna's (Prateik) silent ambition, evident in the glistening worked-upon body he admires in a mirror dotted with Salman Khan cut outs. We know enough from Alejandro Inarritu's works that these separate characters will eventually have overlapping lives, but when they do, it is not with a bang but with the steady shimmer of Mumbai's ever-present rain. Rao's actors are fresh, even Khan, who shocks us mildly by using words like f*** and a******. It's an acutely observed and unhurried film. Munna bathing by the side of the railway tracks under cover of darkness, the colours on Arun's canvas melting into the meat frying in the stalls of Mohammad Ali road, begum Akhtar's voice filling the void of a flat, the domestic's daughter proudly reciting tennyson's brook. Arun's drawing the one he's falling in love with, Shai's photographing the one she's becoming obsessed with. One woman's art is another man's reason for living.

Rao's film is like fresh air, as elusive in Mumbai's leaky chawls as in its smoky drawing rooms.

Inhale. Especially because it talks about the cruelty of Mumbai without raging and ranting against it. There is this calm acceptance that this is what life is. People who are divided from each other by caste, class and education cannot always romantically meet by its sea and expect to see differences dissolve. There will always be one who has come to Mumbai to fill his empty stomach (yahan bahut khaya, thapad bhi and khana bhi) and there will always be one who has come here to search for her soul. There will always be one who wants to do things differently and there will always be another who will not want to do anything fresh. And yes, there will always be one who will be wearing a Doors T-shirt because he knows Jim Morrison is so cool and another who has no clue who he is.

Some directors use sledgehammers to make their point. Others use a scalpel. Well, welcome the scalpel.

Welcome also a unique voice for Mumbai. Its Jaunpuri drivers and NRI wanderers. Its artistic souls and its wannabe actors. Its sometime drug dealers and its eternal slumlords.

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-Mmmmm- IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 20 January 2011 at 8:17am | IP Logged
Faridoon Shahryar via Twitter...

Watch 'Dhobi Ghat' if you relish cerebral entertainment where the musical pauses n silences r more alluring than even d dialogues


Kiran Rao makes a stellar debut as a filmmaker with a 'Different' viewpoint of cinema, backed to the hilt by Aamir. No-Compromise-Cinema!

    Fantastic camerawork which is v natural n gives a Real feel throughout,taut editing,great pics (snapshots out of Shai's camera

      Aamir is excellent,Kriti has an immense vulnerability,Monica's raw sensuous appeal is captivating n Prateik...wat an actor..a sheer delight!  

        Artistic expression emanating 4m strange experiences..a beginning, a middle n thn a cathartic culmination..amidst Bombay chawls,rains,trains  

          Physical love, infatuation getting stronger coz of rejection, selflessness, beautiful friendship with strangers...magnetic montages of Life  

            'Dhobi Ghat' is delicate storytelling at its best. No compromises on the director's vision,terrific background score n the narrative flows..

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            U-No-Poo IF-Sizzlerz

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            Posted: 20 January 2011 at 8:17am | IP Logged

            Movie Review: 'Dhobi Ghat'

            High-end Bollywood import

            By Joe BendelCreated: Jan 20, 2011Last Updated: Jan 20, 2011
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            ACTOR/PRODUCER: Bollywood luminary Aamir Khan stars in 'Dhobi Ghat.' (Aamir Khan Productions)
            Mumbai's washer boys (dhobi) are evidently very photogenic. Perhaps one ambitious dhobi will even be able to realize his Bollywood dreams. He certainly would in a proper Bollywood movie.

            However, if not exactly Indian Parallel Cinema, Kiran Rao's Dhobi Ghat (akaMumbai Diaries) certainly represents the high-end of Bollywood. Featuring no extravagant dance numbers, Rao's Dhobiopens this Friday (Jan. 21) in New York.

            Arun is not good with people, yet somehow the serious artist encounters the privileged Shai at a party. The next morning, she is still rather taken with him, but he would rather forget the whole thing.


            Despite the brushoff, Shai is a bit obsessed with the brooding painter. Fortunately, she discovers a link between them—Munna, their dhobi and would-be actor.

            At first, Shai merely uses Munna for intel on Arun, but an unlikely if distinctly unequal friendship develops between them. She shoots his headshots and he takes her to the dhobi's open-air laundry, where she captures their proletarian essence on film. She nearly forgets about Arun, which is just as well.

            The artist has become preoccupied with a secret stash of videotapes recorded by the previous occupant of his new flat. Months after they were recorded, he watches Yasmin's ostensive video-letters to her brother back home with mounting concern as the pretty young Muslim newlywed becomes increasingly miserable in her arranged marriage.

            Although the found video motif is fairly standard movie stuff at this point, it is executed rather well in Ghat. It also lends a topicality to the film, as an attractive, educated Muslim woman finds herself little more than an indentured servant to her husband.

            Kriti Malhotra is indeed quite touching as the ill-fated Yasmin. Aamir Khan, Rao's superstar lead actor and producer-husband, nicely expresses Arun's fascination with the tragically compelling tapes. Indeed, his restraint in Ghat is something of a relief, considering the shameless corniness of his blockbuster Taare Zameen Par.

            While the Shai-Munna threads lack the same dramatic heft, they benefit from diverging from the standard Bollywood playbook. Ordinarily, one would expect the handsome young slumdog to make it big and win the heart of his elite true love. However, class is simply a cold, hard reality in Ghat, which we might bemoan for the sake of all the real-life Munnas, but it gives a distinctive edge to Rao's film.

            Though often dealing with the melodramatic, Rao's firm hand on the rudder keeps the film from ever going over the top. Eschewing traditional Bollywood music, it features a classy art cinema soundtrack composed by Gustavo Santaolalla (best known for his Babel and Brokeback Mountain scores).

            Granted, Dhobi Ghat  is undeniably manipulative, but it is considerably more engaging than one expects. In fact, it is a very promising directorial debut by Rao and one of the better cinematic imports from the subcontinent in a number of months.

            Gobsmacked IF-Rockerz

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            TallyHo IF-Rockerz

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            Posted: 20 January 2011 at 10:43am | IP Logged
            I saw it ...yessss! and loved it... wanna do a detailed review....Smile

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            TallyHo IF-Rockerz

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            Posted: 20 January 2011 at 1:42pm | IP Logged
            My review:
            Mumbai-  a city , which if you've stayed in…it stays with you forever, a city of paradoxes, a city so crowded that it has burst at its seams and yet it is the city where you could be the most lonely…

            A city that overwhelms you, inspires you, and sometimes makes you numb, apathetic! So if you have ever walked with the winds on the Marine drive during the monsoons, or braved the crowds during any festive season or planned your daily schedule around the timing of the ladies special, you will know what I am talking about…and you will also love this movie called Dhobighat- A labor of love, a tribute to this city of dreams.

            The most stark paradox of Mumbai of course is the classes. The first is the rich, traveled around the world, living in sea facing apartment class, the second is the behind the scene machinery that makes Mumbai tick- the bais, the dhobis, the chauffeurs, the dabbawalas ; then there is the intellectual , creative kinds who sip champagne in art galleries and seek inspiration over cups of tea and coffee  to write stories  or lyrics that they hope will become the fancy of the nation when it watches them on celluloid. And finally the outsiders who come in for short duration because of careers,  or as tourists or students- who either live and love the city and make it a part of themselves, or struggle to come to terms with it. That's Shai, Munna, Arun and Yasmin for you- the four main characters of Dhobighat.

            And the intertwining of the lives of these 4 classes in Mumbai is inevitable. The bai that comes to clean the house brings a little bit of her waterlogged slum into the living room during the monsoon and the young housewife chronicles this, along with the other mundane happenings of her life into a video cam. An artist wears the love and longing of another person, who he is never met, in a chain around his neck and it inspires him in way that he hasn't been inspired in a long – long time. And a small town boy can almost touch his dreams when he sees them through the lens of an expensive camera   while he leads it to capture the real Mumbai- of the dhobighat, the itr waalas, the ear cleaners and the rat killers. All the four characters live and experience the same  city in their own way…so while one tops his drink with the incessant Mumbai rain and raises a toast, another, not so far away struggles to  contain the same water in a plastic mug as it drips through the leaking roof of his shanty.

            They all live through the various stages of love too…the innocent excitement of falling in love for the first time for Munna, the curiosity that it evokes for Shai, the hopes and dreams of a young Yasmin who has accompanied her husband to the new city, the disillusionment of the divorced Arun that makes him fear love, and then the letting go- whether its Yasmin's final goodbye or Munna's accepting the reality and giving Shai her chance with Arun.

            The performances by the main cast can all be ranked excellent. Pratik who left us asking for more after his debut as the heroine's artistic, bordering on mad, brother in Jaane tu ya Jaane na is back and how. He plays Munna with ease and charm and gives such nuanced expressions at times that it is hard to believe that this his only his second film. Monica Dogra with her accent suits the role of an Indian banker from America while Kirti , who only talks through and to the camera in the film impresses with her emoting and is very believable as a small town girl. Aamir too proves through his expressions, as he watches the video diary, why he is rated as one of the finest actors of contemporary Hindi cinema.

            But the real heroine of the movie is the debutant director, Kiran Rao. Her sensibilities , her writing , her feelings are the pulse of Dhobighat. She, it seems had a clear vision of what she wanted to show us, and she has used the screenplay, the music score, the performances, the camera – all very skillfully , to bring it to us.

            Go watch it to fall in love with Mumbai once again!

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            TheDilettante IF-Rockerz

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            TallyHo IF-Rockerz

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            Posted: 20 January 2011 at 1:49pm | IP Logged
            Originally posted by TheDilettante

            Tally, I was waiting for your review. One Aamir Khan movie that I'm eager to watch. I'm bowled over by the background score.
            it aint an Aamir Khan movie...this one belongs to Kiran....and pratik, and the 2 ladies and oh well ok...aamir too :)

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