Why Dhobi Ghat might not be a hit.

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.

8 thoughts on “Why Dhobi Ghat might not be a hit.

    1. heartranjan Post author

      Dude, you are blinded by fandom. Open your eyes and see. I meant nobody else would have produced such a film. For heaven’s sake, I don’t have anything against Aamir Khan. Nor do I give a shit about him or the others. Tough as it might be to imagine, there are people whose lives don’t revolve around stars. On 24 Feb 2015 14:07, “Heartranjan's Blog” wrote:


  1. aarts

    i saw the movie recently….[Better late dan never….really!!!]
    and must say…i loved it…[wondering why people thought it ws super boring…]
    i loved the emotions…. the dialogues….
    maybe cos the movie’s entirey shot in south Bombay…. that i have a special liking for it… [like bluffmaster ,wake up sid . etc :p ]
    like the Bombay rains…marine drive…[n yasmin’s narration bout those places…] yeah!
    but yes…it does leave u thinkin…. doesnt have a “happy ending” as such…
    it is a movie for emotional fools <3 haha!

  2. D

    yea its a bit sad but den d muvi is made for a niche audience even among d multiplex goers. it has an art house feel wid a mainstream production value. everyone has different perspectives n views, while some dance to a dabanng others ponder over a dhobi ghat. in a muvi like dis u get to see d nuances of film making and story telling and tat in itself is quite an enriching experiences. u actually feel d characters on d screen 🙂

  3. D

    hi i luved d muvi. it was gr8. n i luved d character of yasmin. she had dis serene-on-face-yet-confused-and-scared touch. u cld really feel her feelings. her emotions and feelings were pure and true and unadulterated. dis is d best muvi tat i saw since devd 2 years back.

    1. heartranjan Post author

      I agree with you. It was a smart film that did not depend on gimmicks like item numbers or slow-mo action sequences to get the audience’s interest. I am a little sad though, that the Indian crowds did not lap up the film the way I thought they would. Its sad, isn’t it?

  4. sarmisthap21

    I kinda liked the movie.. it was short and simple.. but sadly Aamir was not my favourite in this movie.. I liked Prateik Babbar quite a bit..

    1. heartranjan

      I agree. Aamir was the weak link in the movie. But Prateik was terrific. So was the woman who played Yasmin. Glad you liked the movie. I somehow suspected it would be your kind of movie.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.