Response on “Dhobi Ghat” (Mumbai Dairies ) movie ride through my Eye lens…

The concept behind the name of the movie, “Dhobi Ghat” made me ponder on this for a while but thanks to Google and background research of the City Mumbai, it portrays the unforgettable glance into the inside of the city and it also includes in the top 10 attractions in Mumbai.




Every admiring artistic eye and discovering thought has its own individual interpretation when it comes to beauty of artistic cinema. Before I narrate how much I enjoyed this masterpiece, I would like to thanks my teacher Yaminey,who gave me this movie to watch.


I have already blogged about the cities but this movie gave me a chance to explore the tales of Mumbai City through the lens of Kiran Rao film called “Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Dairies)” composed itself in a series of personal documentation of a city that illustrate awful lavishness and abject poverty.

Dhobi Ghat is no doubt a beautiful, thought provoking story with an attractive cinematography along with a mesmerizing visual treat.



The film seems like a documentary style to me rather than fictional, all four main characters are, in their own ways, isolated, despite living in crowded Mumbai. Also there is an emotional connection in between these characters and Rao uses the camera to highlight it.

1) Arun (Painter)

2) Shai (Banker from NYC)

3) Mannu ( Dhobi Ghat )

4) Yasmine Noor (Immigrant Bride)

Few of the interesting narrative I came across in this film, I felt it is important to discuss here that is when I noticed; the whole movie is shot in locations around different parts of Mumbai City, not on movie sets. There is no effort to hide Mumbai’s flaws, which serve to make the city more fascinating and familiar, even to one who’s never been there.

The relationship between Shai and Mannu is the most out of the ordinary. How deep can their friendship be when he works for her? Is he really her peer? Shai doesn’t give much thought. Mannu does.


Arun, a well known and isolated painter who is also searching Mumbai for what makes sense as he puts the city and its people on canvas. Where, as Yasmin’s (an immigrant bride from Malihabad in Utter Pradesh) amateur video’s about what sees around her in this strange big city offers a counter point to Shai’s  photographs and become another set of dairies entries.


Yasmin’s excitement of moving to a big city, and her interest to capture the world that surrounds her and describe it to her Bhaijaan. Where as on the other hand Mannu, the dhobi guy likes to hang around in high social class, and dreams big to become an actor in the big city like Mumbai. Also he appreciate when Shai take shots of him in different poses as for his photo portfolio.


Successful job by the whole team of Dhobi Ghat to have painted an epic canvas of the city of Mumbai.

Going through the last week readings and watching this movie in those days, I thought to shed some light on these concepts as well. “Utopian societies are generally based on the so-called equality of all humankind. Meanwhile, dystopia presents societies based on segregation, inequality, and oppression. Many times the equality of the society in utopian fiction is an illusion.”

In Dhobi Ghat, the view conveyed in this movie is really dystopic in few scenes, like for example subtle portrayals of class system. when Shai’s maid bought tea for Mannu in 2 different cups and the shown consciousness of Mannu for his likeness for Shai in the movie. It also shows our dependence and addiction on machines like DSLR Camera and Video recorder but on the other hand it offers a quite utopian view on what ‘they’ can do for us.

My dystopian and utopian view about this incredible piece is that I think that we have to use the technological contributions, but without giving up the traditional/manual forms of doing things like for example painting on a canvas and other then that clothes are washed by hand and beaten against stone to get the dirt out. They then hang to dry in the sun, and are ironed every evening.After that they are tied up in large cloth bundles that the dhobis carry back to households all over the city. (Just a thought)

There’s always an aura of confusion, negativity and somehow incomplete endings. The first one and an important one is that the movie starts with “Yasmin” capturing the video of Mumbai, does this suggest that she was still alive at that time? ,also what does “Yasmin” writes on the sand in Urdu? What is the role of that old woman (watcher) in the movie? And the last but not the least I was thinking about Arun wife and son in Australia, was that true or only a made up story?


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