Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: Dhobi Ghat - Mumbai Diaries (TIFF 2010)

Completely different from what we’re used to from Bollywood, Dhobi Ghat was refreshingly unique.  We were taken into the lives of four very different individuals in the city of Mumbai, Arun (an artist), Yasmin (a young, married girl), Munna (a clothes-washer), and Shai (a very wealthy Indian from the US, on sabbatical) and the way their lives intertwine.

New actor Prateik Babbar, who played Arun (was painfully shy on stage, by the way), was surprisingly very good, completely nailing the role of a poor, naive boy, aware of his status in life yet unable to adhere to it, innocent in life and love. He was absolutely adorable in this role (and oh, the smile!), completely stealing the show from co-star Monica Dogra, on more than one occasion.

Elements of the film included the idea of unrequited love (always present in Bollywood, of course, although in Bollywood they usually end up happily ever after), a peak into the caste system in India, and a very real look at the everyday lives of people in Mumbai, not the fairytale version, but the lives that keeps going, happily or not, once the cameras stop rolling.

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