Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries)

I was at the funky Balboa Theater Wednesday afternoon to see Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), an art-house movie from India. The minimal plot follows the intersecting lives of 4 individuals living in Mumbai: a reclusive painter, a good-looking laundry boy, a banker & a young wife seen only through her videotaped diaries. The story unfolds as a sequence of progressively more dramatic, yet predictable, revelations. I was quickly absorbed into the characters' interlocking lives, each dominated by an unexpressed yearning. Despite the seriousness of the scenario, the film has a light hand. I was amused by a restaurant scene in which the painter Arun pointedly ignores his agent by folding an origami boat out of a heavily starched napkin.

The movie is gorgeous. It opens with a dream-like montage of Mumbai's rainy city streets, as seen from inside a taxi. I loved the interiors of the characters' homes, looking realistically cluttered & lived-in. The city is shown so teeming with life & color that it seems to be a creature in itself. I was sometimes distracted from reading the subtitles because I was trying to take in all the details of the picture. And the film is made even more beautiful by its ridiculously good-looking cast.

§ Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries)
Director: Kiran Rao
Starring: Aamir Khan, Prateik, Monica Dogra, Kriti Malhotra

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