2010 had been a memorable year for a lot of debutant directors and now it seems Kiran Rao, the debut director of Dhobi Ghat is carrying forward the same mantle in 2011 and spearheading the wave for others to follow through the year.  This spells good news for other directors who are going to make their debut this year.

But considering that Amir Khan Productions is behind this film, it was bound to generate excitement and that’s what it has done. But kudos to Kiran for making audience love Mumbai like never before. She has explored the little known spots of the city and at the same time blending it with other well known plush surroundings.

The film is about an aspiring wannabe actor Munna finely played by Prateik who works at the Mumbai’s famous dhobi ghat as a dhobi by day and a rat killer by night – two contrasting jobs and yet it does the same thing, clean the filth whether from the clothes or from the city. In between his two jobs, he dreams of making it big on the silver screen. In walks Shai (Monica Dogra), an investment banker on a sabbatical from her overseas job, trying her hand at photography to connect with her motherland. She takes the help of Munna who shows her around the city. Meanwhile Arun, a reclusive chain smoking painter who hops, skips and jumps house to house after the lease period is over, finds a horde of video tapes in his new house which takes him in the world of Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra) who had moved to Mumbai after marriage. The video tapes reveal her life in the city. This is the story of these four contrasting lives interconnected through a common medium – Mumbai.

On the acting front, Prateik is superb. Two debutants in Monica and Kriti stand out with their performances while Amir is highly restrained. Is it his angst for being asked to go through the audition grind to bag the role? Hmmm. Direction by Kiran Rao is good though the screenplay wasn’t exactly upto the Amir Khan Production mark. Why not have a break in between for the audition to lap up the first half without having to go through the whole film in one go.

Background score definitely stands out and Gustavo Santaolalla is here to stay in Bollywood longer than expected. Cinematography by Tushar Kanti Ray rightly captures the nitty gritties of the city whether it’s the hereto unknown smaller by lanes of Mumbai or it posh landmarks.  Keeping aside the story which doesn’t exactly take you anywhere except reconnect you with the Mumbai you knew once existed, the other factors keep you glued to your seats till the credits come calling. Prateik is surely going to be basking in this film’s glory for a long time.  Kiran Rao will be a strong competitor for the director of Taare Zameen Pe if just these two films are announced for the award!

Ratings – 3.5/5