The film opens with a handy cam's jerky motions welcoming the viewer and Yasmin, a newlywed lass to the world of Mumbai. In retrospect it seems like an apt intro to the lives of four disparate individuals intertwined in the bustling city. There is Arun, a lonely painter who seeks more introspectiveness and shies from contact. Except that Shai the annoying ABCD investment banker on a sabbatical in India to "discover" herself, follows him around. Munna the dhobi and wannabe actor flits between them both.
You would think this is just another multiple plot line converging type films that have become uber popular in the past decade. For one there is a unique depth and stillness to it with a storyline that has no clear beginning end or middle. Just a chunk of time from a few people's life. Kiran Rao seems more like a conjurer than a director, smoothly transitioning the characters between ebb and flow of scenes that pull in the viewer in to the movie like a whirlpool. There are moments where you hope and pray that she does not allow her actors to tread the beaten path and she always brings them tantalizing close only to pull them away at the last instance.
The acting is steady all around with not a hint of overacting which is the norm in many Hindi films. Aamir Khan is an almost silent brooding presence through the film but his mark is felt everywhere especially on the budding Prateik. Monica Dogra was about to be abused in this review but then again that is the kind of reaction her character was meant to evoke. Kirti Malhotra is some ways has the toughest role as she only interacts with the viewer and boy does she hold your attention.
To sum it up, this is the answer to abomination that was Slumdog Millionaire!
Rating: * * * *