[The powerful finale from Greed, my favorite film]

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dhobi Ghat - Themes

The divide

From Raj Kapoor and Nargis in Awaara to Aamir Khan and Karishma Kapoor in Raja Hindustani, love between a rich girl and a poor guy is a recurring motif in hindi cinema. Dreams, magic, any thing can happen on celluloid. Love knows no boundaries. So they say.

Life is not like that though. There is a divide which is evident from the different utensils the maid gives Munna and Shai when serving them tea to the way the friends of Shai joke about her hanging out with him. Munna standing on the road while Shai leaves in her car is a recurring event in the film. Even when Munna joins Shai in the car, the divides are evident. Shai wants to take Munna's porfolio shots (as he wants to become an actor) out in the open but Munna wants them in the studio.


Shai shoots Arun while Arun is looking at Yasmin's videos. Love, Sex and Dhoka explored this theme in much more detail. The voyeuristic nature of our society is quite sad. As soon as you are interested in some one, you check out more info via google, facebook.When you encounter the person in real life though, like Shai sees Arun on the road, they try to hide away. 

Unrequited love - A constant and most obvious theme in the film. I am always glad on the rare occasions when some one shows it on celluloid like in Kabhie Haan Kabhie Na, Darr, Saawariya and of course Devdas. There is a deep grief about unrequited love which is probably why it makes for great cinema.

The breaking of families

Aamir is disconnected with the real world all the time. However, when he hears the possibility of going to Sydney, he becomes alert. He probably longs to see his son all the time. The old woman is some one whose children have left her on her own in all probability. I see a lot of older people being abandoned. I used to visit an old home till a few years back and it is heart breaking when you talk to some of these people.

The Daily Grind

The day job of Munna is not enough. He has to kill rats at night to make ends meet. Munna idolizes the leading man Salman Khan. He has dreams but as responsibilities crush him, all he can think about is how to earn money. Any small role to make ends meet will do for him.

A lot of people haven't liked this film which is okay as it isn't a movie for every one. However, when you talk with people who have indeed liked the film, a lot of people say it is beautiful. When you look at the photographs of the people, it is indeed quite beautiful to look at. However, their life is a mess. Like Munna, they are trying to make ends meet, or are emotionally scarred like Arun, or even have had their lives destroyed like Yasmin. Munna asks Shai why she is shooting the common place Mumbai streets. "Why are you doing this?", he asks? "All is dirty here." For Shai, it is all very lovely from the outside. There is nothing beautiful about the stark, harsh realities of life though. 10/10.

PS - On Kriti Malhotra's performance- She was the soul of the film. Delectable in her potrayal of the innocent and full of love Yasmin Noor.


  1. Very well written. Yeah, I agree with your deft analysis of the various recurring themes in the film.

    Loved this line of yours, "When you look at the photographs of the people, it is indeed quite beautiful to look at. However, their life is a mess." That is as much an accurate portrayal of the film as life itself.

    I found your observations on the theme of voyeurism, too, very pertinent. And finally, I don't know if Sawariya or Devdas were good films, but yes, unrequited love does make for great cinema and great art.

  2. Well written. I had some very similar thoughts when I saw the film. And I too felt that Kriti Malhotra's performance was by far the best thing in the film.

  3. @ Shubhajit - Thanks. :) This is potrayal of life so starkly, it is striking. I didn't say I thought Devdas or Saawariya were great movies. ;)

    @ Sohab - Thank you and thanks for visiting my blog. It is strange how Prateik has been getting all the applause while Kriti Malhotra's performance isn't getting that much spotlight. I guess they see a bigger star in the making in Prateik.

  4. the movie was really good. your excellent observation of very small details equally good.keep it up.very nicely made film indeed.