Archive for August 13, 2010

This friday belongs to Producer Aamir Khan. Just back from the directorial debut of Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli Live. Wow! Goes straight up in our list of Top 5 films of the year. And its a tough competition there  for the films to release in the next four months. The rest four are LSD, Vihir, Udaan and Ishqiya.

Back to Kiran Rao’s directorial debut Dhobi Ghat. The film is having its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and here is a write up by Cameron Bailey, the Co-director of the TIFF. Read on..

The rains in Mumbai are a beautiful curse. Sheets of water fall over the city, drenching and cleansing and casting vast millions in the same grey, glistening hue. Kiran Rao sets her impressive debut feature during Mumbai’s monsoon season, using the sound and visuals of the rains to bridge the divides between her characters. This is a love letter to her city, most of all to the work and art that drives Mumbai, rain or shine.

Indian superstar Aamir Khan plays Arun, a brooding painter introduced at a gallery launch of his work. Uninterested in small talk, he strikes up a flirtation with Shai, an Indian American woman visiting her family in the city. The next morning, awkwardness descends and he practically shoves her out the door. But, in the way of the Maximum City, Shai and Arun find themselves inextricably linked. They share a laundry man, a dhobi, who picks up and delivers their clothes. One of the millions of workers who keep Mumbai humming, Zohaib maintains a friendly but formal relationship with Arun. Shai, however, becomes fascinated with Zohaib and wants to follow him to the dhobi ghat, the city’s sprawling laundry district, where she hopes to indulge her photography hobby by capturing him at work.

Informed by Wong Kar-wai and Tsai Ming Liang, but directing with her own intimate sensibility, Rao draws her three characters together against the backdrop of a city that gives and takes in equal measure. In a subplot that illuminates the film’s themes, Arun discovers a series of video diaries left by the previous tenant of his apartment. In them, a young woman recounts her impressions of the city and reveals a tragedy in brief glimpses.

It took years for American independent cinema to develop its own narrative voices in contrast to Hollywood storytelling. In India, the emergence of a contemporary indie style is happening right now. Dhobi Ghat marks a major step forward for Indian filmmaking. It’s exciting that Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao are taking that step together.

And click here for the link to the original piece.

PS – Tip by Umar.