The review is divided into two parts. Part one: My senti take on the movie. Part two: My not-so-senti take on the movie. Take your pick. I'd prefer that you read both. *grins*
The movie has an additional title 'Mumbai diaries.' That's what the film is. The storywriter tears off a couple of pages from the diaries of these four characters and hurls them in the air. The pages sway on their way down pushing each other occasionally. But unlike other movies, each of the characters retains his/her own story - the interaction with the others is solely a matter of the diary pages rubbing against one other. As the pages settle on the ground, you know that their stories aren't over but they will perhaps take time to touch each other again.
THIS is what I think the movie is... starts abruptly, ends on an as much abrupt note.
Move aside puraane-zamaane-ki-grey-streak-of-hair-wali-saasu-maa. Aamir Khan with a grey blot of hair (instead) is here. Nayaa hairstyle hai bhai. (He, obviously, does a super-excellent job.) And he plays a railway engine which keeps smoking throughout the movie. He is joined by a goodlooking actor Pratik Babbar (who calls himself only 'Pratiek'.. and I guess he spells his name in a funny way.) who is effortless. I personally saw several glimpses of Smita Patil from Umbarthaa (A Marathi movie of hers) in him. The firang chick looks extremely good, has a strong accent (and she speaks to a washerman in English with that accent. Too much re.) and does a very good job. The actress playing Yasmin is also very good.
The stories of these characters keep taking twists and turns but the best part of the movie is the way they open, almost like layers. The dialogues are very good - the ones in Hindi as well as English.
And a lot will be said about the camera work by everyone who talks about the movie. While a part of it is essentially arty (with a handycam staggering away), it is also visually enchanting when the camera is not shaking. The background score completely fits the mood of the movie and keeps you hooked despite the slow speed. There are visuals of fisherwomen, local trains, bhelpuri walahs, photographers at gateway, dhobis, Ganpati visarjan - all talking about a different kind of people in Mumbai.
On the downside, the movie is essentially slow. The characters are doing arbit things which may look senseless. Haath mein chappal leke beach pe chalne wala Aamir Khan, doosro ki khidkiyon mein abruptly jhaankne wala camera... can get boring if you are expecting something to constantly happen in the movie. But wait. Something is, always. Just that the director does not mind having punches unrelated to the central story.
Overall, I loved the movie. Did get bored for ten minutes but did not sleep at all. (Rare.)