Dhobi Ghat

So this is the first Bollywood I have watched after becoming a married woman. It was great getting to show my friends and family around Istanbul and celebrate with them. The wedding was over too soon, but now I am married to the love of my life. Such a wonderful time, but life is returning to normal now and back to work and all the other stress life has to offer.

Watching Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) today was like being let in to the lives of a few new friends in Bombay for a short while. It is a dream of mine to someday visit this great city and I think it may happen sooner rather than later, but that is not important right now. This film was amazing. Not a typical Bollywood (no singing and dancing and colorful saris) but an excellent example of Hindi cinema.

The film stars Aamir Khan as Arun, a painter who finds the video letters of Yasmin, the previous tenant in his new apartment and she becomes his muse. It is also the breakout performance of Monica Dogra as Shai the photographer who kinda falls in love with Arun while befriending her “dhobi” or laundry man, Munna (Prateik).I loved Munna the best, and will definitely keep an eye out for more films from Prateik in the future.

But the film’s biggest star is Mumbai. Kiran Rao (the director and wife of Aamir Khan) really knew what she was doing when she cast Mumbai in this film. I loved getting to see Munna working in Dhobi Ghat washing the laundry, driving down Marine Drive with Yasmin, and all the amazing views from the different apartments. Mumbai plays its part perfectly, as the magnet that seems to draw people from every walk of life together, if only for a moment.

My recommendation is to watch it and then sit and think about it for a while. I have a feeling this movie will stay with me for a long time to come.

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Monsoon Wedding

Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When you sing you begin with Do-Re-Mi. In Bollywood I began with Mon-soon-Wed-ding. Okay, corny…but true. Now I do not really consider Monsoon Wedding to be Bollywood, but it ignited my interest to go out and find more Hindi films.

In Auburn, where I hail from, it is a small town. In high school my Spanish teacher suggested I watch foreign films in Spanish as language practice and so I began to. Spanish films led to German, French, Portuguese, and Japanese films as well. I blew through most the foreign section at our Blockbuster and was looking for more, and really wished to see them in a real theater some day. We had little opportunity to see foreign/independent films at the theater until in 2001 when they started the Independent Film Series. I read about it in the paper and dragged my mom to the first film, Monsoon Wedding.

I was completely blown away. I loved everything about the movie. The colorful cast or character, with their fantastic clothes, and interspersed with the scenery of New Delhi. The music was great as well. The song sung during the Mehndi ceremony was awesome and I really liked “Chunari Chunari” too (not to mention the finale song “Aaja Nachle“). I loved the wedding preparations and the silly sweet wedding planner, Dubey, and his love for Alice. There were so many contrasting emotions and  people, and the story was great and well developed. I began to dream of an Indian style wedding of my own some day.

After leaving the theater, I went to see if there were any Hindi language films at the rental store and came away with two: Lagaan and Asoka. But those are for other posts.