Some stories touch you not because of the plot but because you wonder at the way the story is told. Yesterday night as I walked back after watching Dhobi Ghat I realized why I could not dismiss the movie. It’s not a masterpiece; it has its flaws, the biggest amongst them being its inability to connect the four different storylines flawlessly.
While watching the movie, I was reminded of two other movies – Ekdin Achanak and American Beauty. Both movies are stories which I personally do not appreciate. But the treatment of the stories by Mrinal Sen and Sam Mendes had left me spellbound. I still remember the shots on the handheld video in American Beauty. The leaves whirling around in their own free will will always be etched in my mind.
Kiran Rao has the same eye for detail for the minutest of things around her. Mumbai comes alive through the lenses and we begin to wonder, if this is a movie or actually a video diary of someone just like us. It’s not a movie you go to the theatres to watch perhaps, rather you take a cup of hot chocolate, curl up on your bed on a Sunday afternoon and see the story unfold.
Else you will come out disappointed for it’s no Band Baaja Baraat where life celebrates itself in all its glory. Our fights, laughs, friendships are more earthy, are more real if not realistic. In Dhobi Ghat, it’s surreal but true – the unspoken love, the drab existence, the looking at the world without putting your tinted glasses on, the clear chasms of society. In Dhobi Ghat, the stable boy can never marry the princess. But of all the characters he perhaps remains the most human. It leaves you with a lump in your throat and you wonder should you have watched Yamla Pagla Deewana instead!
And that’s why I will always return to a Band Baaja Baarat where everything turns out fine at the end. For I believe that’s what we all want in our lives – to be fine.
Not all poetry makes us feel nice about our lives.