Movie “Dhobi Ghat” – moving tale about amchi Mumbai


Vast city takes them all – wannabe actors & artists like Munna & Arun (Amir Khan), those looking to understand the city and city dwellers like Shai and Yasmin.  Bustling metropolis has crowds and festivals like Ganeshchaturthi celebrated by the masses and it has alienation and lonely and lost souls like the aunty who does not speak, the mother who lost her son in gang conflict, and the young bride who cannot find simple domestic happiness.  The city offers livelihood to all, some of whom trade in sleep in confined quarters to work regular job during the day and do filthy work at night, like Munna, some find back breaking labor as the only source of earning a few rupees a day, and some can rest easy on the labors of others like Shai’s father and the housewife who has it all and seeks perhaps carnal pleasures with the handsome Dhobi during siesta hours and just as callously sacks him.  The mega city has beautiful buildings of marble and wood and ocean view penthouses and it offer huts and apartments that leak with the slightest of rains, where toilet attached to the apartment is a luxury, and paint prefers to peel off in the humidity of the ocean air leaving walls looking like they are inflicted with severe case of sun burn.

None of this is new and what we don’t already know.  The narrative is disjointed, only loosely tied together, perhaps not completely engaging, and it does not bring closure to the lives of its characters.  And yet it offers diverse tales of many lives who can all coexist only in a metropolis like Mumbai.  In a strange way, the story stays with you and the characters linger in the mind, perhaps because no closure is offered.

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