Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dhobi Ghat - Of yearning and frustrations

A song in the movie Namastey London goes like this - 

Kehne Ko Saath Apane Ek Duniya Chalti Hai
Per Chhupke Is Dil Mein Tanhaayi Palti Hai
In Dhobi Ghat, the lives of 4 characters - Arun (Aamir Khan), a painter who plays by his own rules, Shai (Monica Dogra), an investment banker on sabbatical and in love with photography, Munna (Prateik), a Dhobi, whose everyday objective is to make ends meet and Yasmin (Kirti Malhotra), leading an unhappy family life - come together on canvas to make for a commentary on human yearning and frustrations. 

The encompassing spirit of the city as an abode to millions that throng its shores, some aspirational and looking to make a mark, some, just running away from their unpleasant past, while, some others, just wanting to embrace its hustle and bustle, is brilliantly brought out through the 4 lead characters. The introductions just stand out in their simple to-the-point style. 

Yasmin tells a taxi driver, "I have been in the city for five months now, but still it feels strange". Shai tells Arun, "I have moved here for a bit, because, I guess, I needed a break from things to get new perspectives and some fresh air...". Arun lives out of "boxes" and moves often as leases run out. Munna tells Shai that he came to Mumbai to "fill his belly"

In carving out their own identities amidst a teeming microcosm, these characters try to find meaning in what they do, in an attempt to confirm to themselves, that, their mundane existence has a purpose. Their pangs of loneliness, their yearning for love and attendant frustration makes for a kaleidoscope of intense emotions. Even as they find nuggets of happiness, the viewer always experiences a taut rope, a feeling that the fragility of their lives would ultimately triumph.

Shai is exceptional - As a person hunting for realistic pictures in a city that thrives on dark realism, she impresses. Her accent just about qualifies for an outsider - accentuated words, pronounced intonation and a subtle hint of unfamiliarity with the language. Munna, unaffected by his surroundings, retains an innocence that is heart warming and immediately attracts Shai. Shai's natural curiosity is piqued by the eccentric behavior of Arun, even as he is tormented by a few videos left by Yasmin. Yasmin, always in the background, befriends her video camera and through the medium, engages in an outpouring with her brother that is sheer melancholic poetry. Kirti Malhotra has done a remarkable job!

The background music deserves an encore. It is, simply put, excellent. The sounds almost become a character in the movie. As scene after scene, in rapid succession, delves into the lives of these 4 characters, the effect, at first, a little disjointed, creates a definite impact that only random juxtaposition can achieve. Credit to Kiran Rao for achieving that! There are many unanswered questions; each character evokes enough intrigue and all along, the city provides a fitting background. 

This is a 9/10 movie that deserves applause. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happiness - A state of mind!

We and we alone are responsible for our happiness. People find a 1000 ways to be complex when it is so easy to be simple. There are a 1000 reasons to be happy about, but many people manage to find some reason or the other to be unhappy about. People who always have problems tend to suck out positive energy from us.
These are just some snippets of gyaan that I received of late from a friend in the course of a long discussion. After some pondering, I realize that, these are axioms that we find hard to assimilate, but in themselves, quite elegant in their obvious simplicity. Quite often in life, we worry and fret ourselves to tiredness about mundane things. At these times, if we remember this gyaan, it would do us a lot of good. To begin with, we would ask ourselves, is what we are worrying about worth worrying about in the first place? 

A few years back, after a most memorable outing - when we had went to a village in the outskirts of Bangalore- another friend had said, on the way back, "Nobody in this world is an altruist".  Every now and then, I remember this remark too, though, when it was said so casually then, I was a little jolted. To each, his own interest comes first and it is only natural that, when given free rein, each one of us would try to maximize our own happiness first. In the process, if others feel happy, then, fine, else, how does it matter? On very few occasions, we do endure some agony and unease, but, hardly without a future expectation of reciprocity. Thus, selfless nature seems, at best, a holy myth!

Enjoying the present moment in the best possible manner with the people one feels comfortable with - this is simplicity. As I read in somebody's status message, "Speak your mind because those who matter will always understand and those who don't matter, won't bother".

As we age, the people who matter to us are very few and hard to find. The worst part is, it is difficult to hold on to them. Any person-person relationship becomes much more complex and can break so very easily especially when it takes so much effort to build them. 
All of this brings me to the topic. Happiness is just a state of mind. If we resolve to feel happy, no matter what shit happens around us, we can beat the living daylights out of the demons that try to engulf and cloud our thoughts! The rambling post comes to an end here...its highly unorganized, an outcome of a clouded thinking I read the first paragraph, I don't even know what made me write this post.