Dhoby Ghat

Mumbai Diaries or Dhoby Ghat – whatever you call it  – the result is the same – promises, promises but does it deliver? Read on.

The Plot –

4 distinctly class divided characters who cross each other’s life in the bustling city life of Mumbai.Each “crossed life” brings about a series of changes,actions, reactions in these characters.The story does not attempt to have an introduction body and conclusion – so dont look for one.These are  just a few pages from the diary after all.

The Acting –

Prateik Babbar is certainly going to be someone to watch out – should he get good roles…and not go the way Viveik Oberoi did – a promise gone awry.

Monica Dogra – as the not-s-shy- Shai – tries to pull of a it’s a cool thing role – I guess does her best with whatever she was given – which is not much but not bad either.She has some clunky dialogues and inconsistent acting.So she comes across as an NRI with almost 0 Hindi speaking abilities, rolling her r’s like American Twang, however, before you can blink she’s rattling of clunky Hindi dialogues with Munna.!  Talk about fast learning  err… fayst lurning,

Kirti Malhotra – a.k.a Yasmin – doesnt show up for most part of the film, and probably has the least defined character – yet the assumption is – that she plays , her role plays – a large impact on the film.With the barring the 3rd letter – she does not display any major acting prowess that induces a lump in the throat or drives you nuts with laughter.[ dir. might argue that’s how it was meant to be] but hey – there was scope which was not exploited well enough.

Aamir Khan –  distinctly uncomfortable with smoking on screen and it shows.One gets a feeling that he was in a dilemma on how to execute this role.In most films he does, it is a well known fact that he edits/adds or positively put – contributes – to the storyline and making of the film on account of him being a perfectionist. In this case he was caught up between playing the good supporting husband who wants his creative wife to feel it’s “her” film – vs. his instincts taking over.As a result – you see a trying to fit-in Aamir Khan in the movie. Does’nt quite impact the classy moody artist character.

The Direction –

The movie has traces of  Aparna Sen/Rituparna [just another love story – was brilliant] and some bits and pieces of Shyam Benegal – now for a debutant that in itself should be a great compliment.However too many loose shots, filler shots and some pointless characters puncture the directorial efforts.The pacing is different and the momentum is uneven…often building up to an emotion and then falling short.It’s like when you expect a high tide the wave just breaks down.  The stitching of the sequences could have been better – or rearranging them .Some photography was absolutely brilliant – the stills of dhoby ghat stand out in particular.

To draw a comparison  – what are the movies that come to your mind ?

  • Dev Benegals – Split Wide open
  • Motorcycle Diaries
  • Life in a metro [ though not in the same league]
  • Salaam Bombay

and I am sure there are more – but I guess you get the drift.

What could have been different ?

Too many coincidences entwine each characters life. I thought so many meetings by chance kind of deflated the plot meat. Somebody needed to sit down and think through how the characters would cross each others paths. If you recall, I think the Nagesh Kuknoor movie Teen Deewarein or Mani Sir’s Yuva and quite decent  character crosses if you know what I mean.

The storyline needed to have a stronger plot.It needed a booster shot of intensity, pain or heartache.I would have increased Yasmin’s character’s impact to a greater degree – connect it to Salim’s death, impact on Munna  and Shai stumbling on to some photographic evidence. Now, I am not suggesting this to be made as a suspense thriller here, It can remain the same scope, yet it can turn the knob on for emotional drain,impact or a lingering thought.

Overall –

Well it s one of those movies which you have to see a second time to make sure you are not missing the point – but if you did see it another time, you would realise that there isn’t more to it actually.Therefore , to me, it’s an okay movie – doesn’t take you on a high or low or doesn’t intrigue you or leave you with a lasting scene or thought.

I am going to go with 2.5/5 for this debuting effort.

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