No new Hindi movies will open in the Chicago area this Friday, but you’ve still got a chance to see three recent releases. Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) carries over at the AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4 in Chicago, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera Stadium 30 in Warrenville. The Pipers Alley 4 also has No One Killed Jessica. And Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji gets a second week at the South Barrington 30 and Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles.
Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji is the only new Hindi movie opening in the Chicago area the weekend beginning January 28, 2011. The romantic comedy stars Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi and Omi Vaidya as three guys searching for love.
Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji opens on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. The movie has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 55 min., but I suspect it’s longer than that.
After earning $365,287 in its first weekend in U.S. theaters, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) gets another week at the Golf Glen 5 and South Barrington 30, as well as AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4 in Chicago and Regal Cantera Stadium 30 in Warrenville.
No One Killed Jessica, which has earned $428,691 in the U.S. so far, gets a fourth week at the Pipers Alley 4. Yamla Pagla Deewana leaves area theaters on Thursday with an impressive $851,381 two-week American haul.
Other Indian movies showing around Chicagoland this weekend include Aadukalam (Tamil), Alaa Modalaindi (Telugu), Traffic (Malayalam) and Wanted (Telugu — not the Salman Khan movie by the same name) at the Golf Glen 5.
I live in a busy Chicago suburb with 150,000 residents. Despite living in a condominium building with several other families, I can go days without talking to anyone besides my husband. I see the UPS delivery man more often than my friends, who are scattered across the metro area.
This is the type of modern, urban isolation that writer-director Kiran Rao captures in her debut effort, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries). All four of Dhobi Ghat‘s main characters are, in their own ways, isolated, despite living in crowded Mumbai.
Rather than impose a convenient narrative upon the four lead characters, Rao’s plot drops in on them during a specific period in their lives and leaves before delivering a tidy ending. It feels more like a documentary than a fictional film.
Adding to the documentary feel, the film opens with home movie footage shot from the backseat of a taxi, by a woman we later learn is Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra). Having recently moved to Mumbai after getting married, she records mundane scenes from her new life to send to her brother back home.
Brooding artist Arun (Aamir Khan) finds some of Yasmin’s video letters and forms something of an obsession with the woman on the tapes. His video obsession is more convenient than a relationship with a real woman, such as American investment banker Shai (Monica Dogra), who’s herself a bit obsessed with Arun.
Shai befriends the young man who does her laundry, aspiring actor Mannu (Prateik Babbar). Mannu, who also does Arun’s laundry, quickly develops a crush on Shai.
There’s an emotional distance between all of the characters, and Rao uses the camera to emphasize it. The characters are shown through windows or through the lens of amateur photographer Shai’s camera. Their reactions are captured in the reflections of mirrors.
The relationship between Shai and Mannu is the most interesting. How deep can their friendship be when he works for her? Is he really her peer? Shai doesn’t give it much thought. Mannu does.
Prateik Babbar is perfect as Mannu: a handsome guy whose shy nature and low social rank have made him incongruously meek. Khan, Dogra and Malhotra are compelling as the other leads, making as much out of their silent moments as they do out of their dialog.
Dhobi Ghat is a remarkably quiet movie. Not exactly quiet, but absent most of the usual sound effects and musical score. Much of the background noise is provided by urban sounds: rain, traffic, old movie music played on a record player in a nearby apartment.
Mumbai itself has a starring role in Dhobi Ghat. The film is shot in locations around the city, not on movie sets. There’s no attempt to hide Mumbai’s flaws, which serve to make the city more appealing and familiar, even to one who’s never been there.
Aamir Khan used his star power to force Indian multiplexes to show Dhobi Ghat without the usual intermission break. It may have cost the theaters some concession sales, but it allowed the movie to flow for its entire 100 minute runtime. An interval would broken the movie’s spell.
Should Dhobi Ghat succeed at the box office, it could persuade more Indian filmmakers to craft shorter films meant to be viewed in one sitting. Rao’s economy of characters, plot and runtime demonstrate how less can often be much more.
Aamir Khan’s latest, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), is the only new Hindi movie opening in the Chicago area on Friday, January 21, 2011. Dhobi Ghat, which stars Khan as one of four characters whose stories intertwine across class lines, marks the directorial debut of Khan’s wife, Kiran Rao.
This is no reflection on the quality of the movie, but I find Dhobi Ghat‘s trailer really annoying. The three-mini-trailers-in-one structure loops the same music throughout and provides three concrete end points, tricking you into believing the trailer is over before it actually is. It was clever the first time I saw it, but infuriating by the fifth.
Dhobi Ghat opens on Friday at the AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4 in Chicago, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and Regal Cantera Stadium 30 in Warrenville. The movie has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 40 min.
Yamla Pagla Deewana, which earned $504,116 in its first weekend in U.S. theaters, gets a second week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30 and Cantera 30. No One Killed Jessica gets a third week at the Pipers Alley 4 and South Barrington 30, having earned $372,357 in the U.S. so far.