Aamir Khan is one name who can always be trusted to come up with something unique in each & every venture of his. The trend has been the same when it comes to his production house as well, with varying genres being tackled with utmost sincerity be it starting from "Lagaan" upto the very recent "Peepli Live". This Friday witnessed the release of "Dhobi Ghat",the latest from the Aamir's production house which also happened to be the directorial debut of his wife,Kiran Rao. Going by the promos, it has the feel of an art movie & to add to that there was news of Aamir requesting the multiplex owners to avoid having an interval break as it will disturb the flow of the movie. Running at just over 95 mins, will the movie create an impact or was this ploy just to prevent people from walking off the theatres??? Hmm...lets see
Mumbai is the land which beckons everyone to try out their luck in making it big in life. As you would expect, one would see people from diverse cultures & from all walks of life embracing Mumbai as their hometown. It is this aspect that Kiran Rao has exploited in her project. The story is said through the lives of four characters with Mumbai itself playing a silent fifth character. Arun (Aamir) is a reclusive painter who has just shifted to a new house & in doing so he stumbles upon a set of video tapes left behind by his previous tenant, Yasmeen Noor (Kriti Malhotra). These video tapes which Yasmeen had taped for her brother to showcase life in Mumbai eventually turns out to be a source of inspiration for Arun. Shia (Monica Dogra) is an NRI banker who is on a sabattical & wishes to discover the various layers of Mumbai life through her camera. She is helped around the city by Munna (Pratheik Babbar), a dhobi by profession from Bihar doubling up as a rat catcher at night who harbours the dream of being an actor some day. So does Arun meet Yasmeen & Munna realise his dreams...all these & more are addressed as the story proceeds.
Coming to performances, Pratheik Babbar has definitely shown that he is a class apart & shows that he has inherited the acting genes from his mother,the late Smita Patil. Being blessed with unconventional looks, he imbibes the character of Munna complete with his lingo & body language. Another person who had hugely impressed me is Kriti Malhotra, who had the most difficult role in the movie as she had to emote with hardly anyone on screen. The way she changes from the bubbly housewife to the depressive dejected person with the changing times in her life, deserves a round of applause. Monica Dogra as Shia seemed apt for the role while Aamir as Arun though not as awesome as one would like to relate him to has also done a decent job. Bu the winners for me without doubt are Kriti & Pratheik Babbar.
The script is by Kiran Rao & it goes without saying that its not the conventional stuff that we have been witness to. Another aspect which deserves a word of mention is the background score by renowned musician Gustavo Santaolalla, recipient of two back to back Academy awards for "Broke back Mountain"(2005) & "Babel" (2006). The visuals by Tushar Ray has been stunning capturing the vibrance of Mumbai in its full essence however the moving handicam shots was the icing on the top as it effectively imparted a sense of naturality.
Verdict: Aamir's name will make the people flock to the theatres for a day or two, however its not a type of movie which will be palatable to many. Its a venture which is meant mainly for the multiplex & global audience, it will reap awards in film festivals but unlikely to strike a chord with the masses. In my opinion, except for the performances & Yasmeen's sequence the story didnt appeal much to me, though the intellectuals might differ!!!