I was listening to some opinions on Dhobi Ghat, and I was intrigued.
“Chu**** picture hai, saala. Yeh Aamir Khan ko kya ho gaya hai?”
“3 idiots jaisi picture banana chahiye yaar. Is picture mein kya hai?”
“Apni biwi ke chakkar mein pagal ho gaya hai Aamir Khan”.
And most of them haven’t even watched the movie. I remember something that had happened during the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Black’. The film was shot in black and white, and the dialogues were in English, and had no songs. Even though the film reeked of pseudo-intellectualism, and had a very insensitive portrayal of the treatment of the child, when people came out of the hall, they’d nod their heads, and say, “Kya picture hai, boss. Oscar milna chahiye.”
Dhobi Ghat is shot in colour, has no zany camera angles, and the characters converse in normal language, generously giving out gaalis to each other. It’s a subtle story, and hence, when the heroine is sad, it doesn’t start to rain. And when the heroine is happy, she doesn’t put her head out of the car and scream at passersby in joy. There is no ‘climax’ as such. It’s a narrative of the four characters, and how many times do we look up at the sky and cry? Or fall in love when we see a girl dancing in the rain?
The problem with being brought up in a tradition of loud, song-and-dance filled portrayals in films, is that we ‘expect’ some things from a film. And now that there is a semblance of a new wave in Hindi films, we expect them to be ‘artistic’ or ‘intelligent’ I thought ‘Oye Lucky, lucky oye’ was an intelligently made movie, but no, it was a story of a thief, how can that be intelligent? An intelligent story is one in which there is a man dying of cancer and he has to finish his painting before his death, while hiding from his family members that he has cancer. That is intelligent!
We are obsessed with ‘understanding’ everything. When we see a painting, the first thing we try to do is to try to ‘understand’ what the artist is trying to say. So we look for hidden meanings, and symbolism, completely ignoring the fact that it could also be about the use of colours, the strokes, the composure. But these are simple, mundane things. There has to be a complex, heart-wrenching inner meaning, laden with allegorical references, and then we’ll go, “Ah…kya picture hai, boss!”
When people did not understand ‘Inception’, they went to watch it again. But a slight confusion in ‘Dhobi Ghaat’ makes it a chu**** picture. That’s because it’s alright for an English movie to confuse us, but a Hindi picture should be swachh, crystal clear, and understood by all.
‘Dhobi Ghat’ is a simple, honest film. Trust me, even a ten year old can understand the story. There are no concealed meanings, and nothing is arty-farty about it. it is the story of four people in Mumbai, an artist, a dhobi, an America returned investment banker, and an artist, and how their lives meet over a few incidents. Watch it for the superb performances of Prateik Babbar Kriti Malhotra and Monica Dogra.
Instead of going by reviews and opinions of others, challenge your taste. Go watch the movie. You will love, or you will dislike it. But you will appreciate that there are people who are trying something different in Hindi cinema. So what if they get their husbands to finance it? I am sure the film would not have been made if Kiran Rao was married to Chunkey Pandey, and there is no harm in him producing the movie. Really.
Take a risk. There are hundreds of dhinchaak, masala films coming anyway.