Saturday, January 29, 2011

To my muse, to my whore, to my beloved...Dhobi Ghat..


There are films that when you come out of the theatre, stay in your head for a long time. Ever since I have seen Dhobi Ghat, I have been thinking of the film and must say, have added it on my favourites list. Yes, the film has flaws and certain issues but which film doesn’t. And people are not liking it which is fine. Think of it an average working class person has 2 days off and in those he is looking for something that can give him wholesome entertainment. He doesn’t want to get depressed. Take Guzaarish for example, it was not a bad film at all. It was perhaps one of the finest films last year but the problem was not that the audience did not like it but the problem was audience did not watch it in the first place thinking of the dull premise of the movie. They just didn’t come out and watch it. But I think entertainment is a very subjective thing. For me as a person, I like films that have layered characters and something hidden. So it is a subjective thing. I don’t look upon people who enjoyed Housefull or Golmaal 3, it is an individual’s choice. Perhaps, that is why I could bear Saawariya, the grim story of perpetual longing and sacrifice. Kiran Rao always said that she wants to make movies only for a certain audience and she is more looking for critical acclaim rather than commercial acclaim. She wants to tell a story that she wants the people to see and not a story that people will like to see. Perhaps that is why Aamir never promoted it much. The movie being made just in 5 crores and has recovered it already. The good thing is that there is now an audience for every kind of cinema which is a very positive thing for the industry.

Anyways, I am not writing a review, but some of the most amazing things that I saw in Dhobi Ghat.
1. The films open beautifully with Mumbai in the Monsoons shown through Yasmin’s taxi ride and she says "aaye hue to sirf 5 mahine hue gaye phir bhi sab naya sa lagta hai" to the taxi driver who is also from her home state UP, and the song dil dhadak dhadak ke keh raha hai a bhi ja.. and while she is sitting in the taxi, some kids come for alms and start dancing as soon as they see her camera, just like that scene in the brilliant Luck By Chance when Zafar Khan meets some kids on the traffic signal.
2. Yasmin’s treasure box containing her video letters to her borther Iqbal, her precious things like her chain, her surmachu..
Her video letters were an absolute delight.. there is this scene where she says “main kaisi lag rahi hun..pehle jaisn na ..abhi tak nahi badli hun” and the gradual transition she undergoes from a bubbly innocent girl to a betrayed wife shows the irony of the statement.. her eyes reflect this change beautifully..little did she realise that how terribly her life will change.
3. Remember the final scene in Wake Up Sid, when Sid wears Ayesh’s kurta as his acceptance of his love for her. I think one of the most recurring themes of the movie was our desire to be connected. We human beings are essentially loners and are looking for somebody we can connect to. Just like Arun, who has no personal life and watches Yasmin’s videos as if it's porn, wears her necklace and ring, probably to get connected to her life..as if by wearing those he would be able to connect to her even more..or that taxi driver where he says to Yasmin that he is also from UP, or how Shai says that there was some different emotional connect with Arun, probably that is why she starts stalking him to finish some business. Another theme of the movie was the abruptness..Kiran essentially tries to show that life eventually moves on..she starts her movie in a taxi and ends it in a car, Arun shifts to a new place in the beginning and does the same at the end, Munna shifts places and starts a new life..the city of Mumbai is ruthlessly indifferent and that there is no option but to just move on with our lives..just like that old lady living next door to Arun..
4. The scene where Yasin captures her maid and her daughter.. so natural and her daughter singing The Brook by Alfred Lord Tennyson...that was perhaps one of the most poignant scenes of the movie..I came and googled for the poem.. the poem is probably a refrence to the city of Mumbai..
I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.
By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.
Till last by Philip's farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.
5. When it is raining, Yasmin says “yeh bearish na ek dum lohri ki tarah hai jo sabko apni god me sula deti hai...and then she adds lekin meri bai kehti hai use bahut dikkat hoti hai..pani ko nikalne me.. baar baar ek mug se nikalna padta hai”...and when Arun is having a drink, he puts his glass in the rain to add some drops of rain in it to get a taste of rain.. I am sure all rain lovers would have loved this scene..
6. That old lady who is Arun’s neighbour..she doesn’t say anything in the entire film but says a lot through her eyes. So much pathos in her eyes. She is the silent spectator..just like Mumbai, the film’s fifth character..
7. My most favourite character was Yasmin.. the way she looks at the bangles in a shop, elephanta caves, she captures Ganesha Chaturthi..she was a pure delight..the way she writes her name in the sand before waves keep coming, the way she says.. "yeh samundar apni gehrai me sab kuch chuupa leta hai.."
8. The star of the movie according to me was Mumbai, as Kiran Rao says that Mumbai is her fifth character. The way she along with the cinematographer have captured the essence of Mumbai is sheer magic. I have been to Mumbai when I was just one year old of which I have no recollection. For the last 2-3 months, there is this craving in me to go to Mumbai..the city of dreams..the city of indifference.. the city with so many layers.. That shot when Munna is putting a water proofing sheet on his slum during the rain with 2 local trains passing by...such magic that shot.. or when Arun walks to sea after he realises that Yasmin committed suicide..what picturesque beauty..or that scene in which Aamir is walking with thousands of people in the bazaar..what amazing shot.. and when Shai says she wants to capture Munna naturally..not in studios as these look artificial..the way she captures those fisher woman, Munna in Dhobi Ghaat, local trains. I have re-fallen in love with the black and white mode..I want a camera just like her.. such terrific shots of the city..
9. The class difference that have become so entrenched in our society... like that scene when Shai’s maid serves tea differently.. a glass for Munna and a fancy mug for Shai clearly shows our hypocrisy as a society..we talk of class less society but ask our maids to sit at the floor and serve them tea in glasses befitting them.. and how Munna eventually realises that Shai and he are totally different people living in two different worlds.
10. The old world music sung by Begum Akhtar and Siddeshwari Devi reflecting the sombre mood of characters..
11. The brilliant portrait of Yasmin at the end reflecting her journey from a colourful life to her ultimate tragedy..
12. The way Munna keeps his money in the tape recorder..terrific camerawork in that scene..
13. The profession of night rat killers
14. Munna's final act of giving Arun's address to Shai..super acting in the climax by both Prateik Babbar and Monica Dogra
The only thing I did not like much was Arun played by Aamir Khan.. he looked as if he is trying too hard.. too much hamming.. too much overacting..
There were so many other scenes, I will surely watch it again just to understand the finer nuances of the film..I read a fantastic review which said that Arun's character could be seen in the way he sees Yasmin's videos..he could stop them and start them on his will..but he could not do the same for real people that is why it made him uncomfortable.. such layers in all character.. it was sheer poetry in motion that slowly grows on you..it is a perfect tribute to city of Mumbai and as Arun says.. To my muse, my whore, my beloved...

3 comments:

  1. i stumbled across this blog when searchin for the quote 'to my muse, to my whore..' for my blog. and what a genuinely good find this was! i loved the review of this movie. i came out thinkin i will definitely see this movie again. and your post convinced me i should. awwsum job!

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  2. Nice post ! I've written a post on the same too ! Have a look ! http://the-devil-is-reflecting.blogspot.com/2011/02/dhobi-ghat.html

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