Was very excited to watch Dhobighat, the first film from Kiran Rao.I had watched numerous interviews of her and actor/director /part time messiah husband Aamir Khan proclaiming what a “fine” and “delicate”movie it was.In fact he said,”Its so fine and delicate no one might get it”.This was certainly true.
The film is about these four characters in Mumbai and how their lives connect and crossover each others in pretty meaningless ways.The main protagonist of the film is Arun played by Aamir Khan who looks well …the best word I can find is constipated.This is a permanent expression/state throughout the film.Perhaps she was aiming for ” temperamental genius artist ‘ but sigh , she got constipated and pissed off Aamir.He is totally rigid and very awkward with his lines.Its almost like someone had to prod him from the back to make him blurt out his dialogues.He makes for a truly unlikable character.Perhaps he is just not comfortable unless he is playing a self righteous,Mr know it all who is saving this sorry country from its woes.
Next up is the lovely Prateik Babbar who makes you fall in love with him instantly with his easygoing charm .He plays “Munna” who is a true multitasker, Dhobi, Rat catcher, BoyToy for bored fat housewives and also guide to NRI bankers from NY come on a ‘Sabbatical” presumably to soul search while shooting pictures of every cliched Bombay subject.Day in the life of a Dhobi check, Crowded dirty streets check , to do: Ratcatchers .
The NRI ,Shai , is played by Monica Dogra who is very natural I guess because she is pretty much playing herself.
The fourth characer is the beautiful Kirti Malhotra who plays Yasmin a repressed Muslim housewife who occupied the house before Aamir , the Constipated artist moved in.I think her character is supposed to be deep and soulful woman trapped in a loveless marriage .She finds some release in recording the tedium to send to her brother..Unfortunately she comes across more as a girl and less as a woman , one is totally unable to feel her pain and loneliness because she hides it all under this”Im really frikking miserable but Im just going to smile and pretend everythings okay and maybe ill just hang myself someday”
So Ms soul searching NRI falls in love with Constipated Artist after a one night stand “which she doesn’t do all the time.thank god!!I mean..gasp!!”.Meanwhile she leads along poor Dhobiboy Munna on the side, never crossing the line with him though ..because dah-ling puh-lease.Daddee is a builder and Mommee an art collector,I can’t be fooling around with the help.So lovesick DhobiBoy gives up on NRI soul searcher and in a dramatic scene chases her car wildly to give her Constipated Artists address in a final sacrificial gesture.But NRI has lost all interest in both, NY beckons looks like.Ta da boys.
All in all a truly sucky film with soulless characters going nowhere,what actually makes it worse is its beautiful cinematography and lovely music.Its like Mr Khan is simply indulging wifeys artistic aspirations..”Go ahead darling make what you want to , we”ll package the tripe well”.
But I must say if Kiran was left to herself without the humongous looming shadow of Aamirs superstardom she would make good films, she has the sensibility.
Its not like every film needs to have a plot.Sofia Coppolas “Lost in translation” was about a chance encounter between two people in a strange city,with no particular story but it was beautiful and truly “fine”.