‘Dhobi Ghat’ will affect audiences in different ways. There are so many facets which are suggestive. The script captures mundane events and then creates impact by using third to fourth person narratives. That’s amazing conception and writing. It’s a very cerebral movie.
One aspect is the use of Home. Munna, Shai and Arun stay in different dwellings and their home defines their characters. What is depicted brilliantly is – how the same house is used by two different people – Arun and Yasmin. Whatever happens in the same house, at different moments is playing out at the same time. I find this very fertile.
Arun settles down in the house with a particular layout. But when he sees Yasmin in the video, he sees the same house in a different backdrop. Many times he tries to reference back as to ‘how things might have been’ during Yasmin’s time. Doing this exercise, he actually ‘steps back’ and enters into her world. This is a very novel and unique way to show building of a relationship.
It happens. When you see old pictures of your school days, or some relative or your ‘lost’ love, it is the background which affects you more than the protagonists in the photo. If you have a picture of your friends and yourself in front your old school, you will invariable enter the school in essence.
It’s noteworthy that the movie-writer of ‘Dhobi Ghat’ could tap into the emotions related with a backdrop. Arun, though he is living in his own house is actually living in Yasmin’s world.
I have an obsession with Houses. I love tastily decorated houses. I can recount three friends, two in school and one in college, whose houses were fabulous. No, they were not super-rich. Actually, their mothers were prime contributors who projected their personalities with lots of colour and warmth.
This extremism is the product of my own self. I have always hated my house. During my college days, I went to my friends places on Birthday Parties or other occasions. The moment I entered their houses I was greeted by their fathers, mothers etc. Their hospitality impressed me. But I could never offer back the same to my friends. When rarely they happened to come, my parents disappeared in the inner sanctum. I was left alone to offer them comfort which was shameful to me and bewildering to my guests.
When I visit someone’s place, I look at every detail in their house. I do that even in their photos, if taken inside the room. Then I base my opinion on what good or bad I see. I believe, a house is a projection of a person’s individuality. A House speaks a lot about the personality of the inhabitants. I have changed my opinions on my friends upon seeing their houses the first time.
Conversely, I don’t invite or expect any of my friends at my place. I would rather call them to a bar or some hotel room. I have myself broke friendship or made it cold if I didn’t like their houses. I stop interacting with my friends if I fear that someday they might find my place and drop in. It’s a fear of rejection in reverse. Just like I have rejected or avoided some of them, I fear they might do the same to me.
Yeah, I know, it’s all in the mind. Unfortunately, it’s inside ‘My Mind’. Movies like “Dhobi Ghat” gives people like me a chance to lay bare and wash the inner-ills. Just like Ringing of a Worship-Bell reverberates to cleanse the Inner Being, movies like ‘Dhobi Ghat’ resonates with the soul similarly. And you always notice what you yourself are!