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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Dhobi Ghat's first look for the dhobis

Hiren Kotwani, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 17, 2011
First Published: 13:40 IST(17/1/2011) | Last Updated: 16:16 IST(17/1/2011)
Aamir Khan is known to connect on a personal level with the common man. Years ago, when he shot his maiden production, Lagaan, in a Bhuj village, he ensured that he hosted a screening for the residents after the film was completed.

On Saturday afternoon, he did something similar, when he screened his forthcoming release, Dhobi Ghat, for a group of washermen from Mahalaxmi’s dhobi ghat. Since the protagonist of the film, Munna, works as a washerman, director Kiran Rao had to scout for real people to cast in that role. Although she eventually selected Prateik for her film’s lead character, she ensured that he hung out at the actual dhobi ghat to familiarise himself with Munna’s profession.

Prateik BabbarReal cinema
“Before Kiran shot with Prateik at the Mahalaxmi dhobi ghat for 22 days, she saw to it that he worked with them to get under the skin of his character. On the last day of shooting at the location,  the representatives of the washermen’s association expressed their eagerness to see the film when it was ready,” reveals a source from the Dhobi Ghat team, adding that Rao promised to do a screening for the locals before it released in the theatres.

Promise fulfilled
Khan and Rao hosted a special show of the Hindi version of Dhobi Ghat at Ketnav theatre in Bandra. The couple had another surprise in store for the 60-odd washermen who turned up for the dekko of the movie. A sumptuous lunch was organised for them.

Bhadri Prasad, an old washerman who has been working for many years at the Mahalaxmi dhobi ghat said, “It was very nice of Aamir saab and Kiran madam to show us the movie. Prateik bhai was good to interact with. I remember he’d work very hard on getting everything right for his role of a dhobi. He’s done a wonderful job.”

On his part, Khan maintained, “They were very helpful during the shooting and supported the unit throughout the schedule at the dhobi ghat. So the least we could do for them was to show the film as a gesture of gratitude for their help while shooting at their place.”
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