Dhobi Ghat Review – Less Dhobi, More Phony

Say, since when does a New York desi living the good life in a plush, sea-facing apartment in Mumbai with a maid on hand to make and serve tea get her clothes washed by the Dhobi, an almost bygone relic from a different era.

Hellloo, washing machine!

Executives at GE, LG, Samsung et al if are you reading this, a huge opportunity beckons. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And since when does a NRI daughter of a millionaire builder moving around in fancy, chauffeured cars seek close friendship with a humble Dhobi, do a photo portfolio for him and importune him to show her around the city?

Boy, would we love to meet such babes (small tits notwithstanding), particularly if they are willing to jump in bed with you after the first meeting and the next morning tell you how cool it was. As the girl does in this movie.

Phony Tale

Dhobi Ghat a.k.a Mumbai Diaries (written and directed by Kiran Rao) has a phony air to it, largely due to Kiran Rao’s abortion of a story.

Notwithstanding the title, there’s not much of Dhobi Ghat (washermen’s workspot) seen in this unconvincing triangular love story.

Strangely (given the English title Mumbai Diaries), Mumbai, the pulsating, throbbing city of dreams and sole survival hope for millions of desperate, starving Indians, never comes to life though we’re treated to a few hackneyed shots of heavy rains accompanied by cliched lines, local trains and, of course, the must-show Gateway of India edifice.

And the four key characters are not really interconnected as you might have been led to believe by the trailer.

Fresh Faces Delight

Tired as we’re of endless subjection to duffers like Abhishek Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor et al making monkeys of themselves in movie after movie, it pleased us no end to see three fresh faces.

The movie features Prateik Babbar (one-film old), Kriti Malhotra, Monica Dogra and Bollywood veteran Aamir Khan.

Prateik (son of the late Smita Patil and bigamist Raj Babbar) plays Munna, the young Dhobi and Bihari immigrant living in a Mumbai hovel and lazily dreaming of becoming an actor (hey, who doesn’t in Bombay).

American desi Monica Dogra is cast in the role of Shia, an investment banking consultant from New York, on a sabbatical in Mumbai. Whatever reason was offered for a New York investment banking consultant to go around Mumbai lugging a camera and photographing people didn’t sound convincing to us.

Kriti Malhotra is Yasmin Noor, a young woman from the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, who’s recently come to Mumbai after marriage. With creeping loneliness and plenty of time on her hand, Yasmin gets into videography, shooting mostly pictures of herself to send to her brother and family back home.

Finally, we have Aamir Khan playing a taciturn painter Arun.

Prateik, Kriti and Monica throw in solid performances.

It’s a delight to see these youngsters doing a stellar job and putting to shame their older Bollywood peers like Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and other assorted bozos fouling up the Hindi movie landscape.

But we wouldn’t say the same of Aamir Khan (also producer of this film). The fella, veteran of a gazillion Hindi films, wore a constipated, grim, pained expression as if frightfully worried that wife Kiran Rao would walk away with the accolades.


Sadly, the movie itself, despite the fine acting by the newbies and the well orchestrated media-hype, is a disappointment entirely due to Kiran Rao’s less than adequate story.

Among the many phony moments, the chance meeting of Arun and Shai on the street was perhaps the most cringe-worthy.

We weren’t that thrilled with the editing either. The different stories didn’t flow from one to another smoothly enough.

Bottom line, Dhobi Ghat is worth watching only for the joy of seeing the three newcomers handling their roles with great elan.

N.B.: At a theater on the East Coast, the response for the opening show of Dhobi Ghat was poor with just four people showing up.

4 Responses to "Dhobi Ghat Review – Less Dhobi, More Phony"

  1. sam   January 22, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Aamir khan deserves a flop now after a long time. Bahut ho gaya!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    From your lips to God’s ears. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. MadAtBollywood   January 23, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I have always wondered why our Bollywood neanderthals don’t think about the finer points when making a movie? I haven’t yet watched Dhobhi ghaat nor do I know the story, but the points you have listed are very valid. I was waiting to see this movie, but now from your review, I m not sure if I want to watch it. And whenever they show in any movie someone returning from the US, they always handle that character very poorly. They never think about the finer points about how an NRI would perceive India.

    Anyway, hope all’s well with you ๐Ÿ™‚

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: I was waiting to see this movie, but now from your review, I m not sure if I want to watch it.

    No great loss.

    We still haven’t understood this Indian oohing and aahing at anything associated with Aamir Khan. Ghajini was stolen shit, 3 Idiots was mediocre shit and now this Dhobi stuff.

    Howdy sweetie!

  3. iToosh   January 24, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Just found your site while looking for a few rest. reviews….. then came upon your review of “Dhobi Ghat” ….. HAH!! you guys don’t take any prisoners do you?!? …

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: Just found your site while looking for a few rest. reviews…..

    Rip Van Winkle, what you been doing all these years.

    2. You write: HAH!! you guys don’t take any prisoners do you?!? …

    Yes sweetie. Take no prisoners is our ishtyle here at SI.

    Restaurant reviews, Movie reviews (Hindi, English, Phoren and Tamil), Book reviews, Music reviews, Beer Reviews (soon to come)….you get them all here at SI.

    BTW, we have quite a few Rest. reviews from your city as well (you have likely seen them by now).

    • เฎฎเฏเฎฉเฎฟAndy   January 24, 2011 at 11:50 am

      haha.. beer reviews.. So you got your AB! I got it at Whole Foods.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      No Whole Foods in our state.

      Only Hole Foods a.k.a Patel Liquor Stores. ๐Ÿ™

      They may not stock AB. Keeping our fingers tongue crossed.

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