Inside a taxi in the pouring rain of Mumbai, an amateur video camera is shooting the grey city through the misted windows. The cab driver strikes up a conversation with the shy girl behind the camera,Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra), and they find out that they are from neighboring towns back home in U.P. The brief encounter creates a small space of belonging.
Shai (Monica Dogra), an affluent investment banker on a sabbatical in Mumbai meets Arun (Aamir Khan), a gifted painter at the opening of his new show. Arun and Shai spend a night together, which later Arun cannot explain and Shai cannot forget. The very next morning they part ways, almost sure they will never meet again.
Munna (Prateik), the young and beautiful washerman (dhobi) who delivers clothes to Shai's house, aspires to be a film actor. When he learns of Shai's hobby of photography he agrees to show her the 'real' city in exchange for her shooting his portfolio. Shai discovers the city through his eyes and her lens, and an unlikely friendship develops as Munna can't stop himself from falling in love with her.
Meanwhile Arun finds a new apartment where he can resume his silent, reclusive life. In the process of settling in, he stumbles upon a secret that at first he is ready to dismiss, but later finds more and more absorbing; a secret that will find its way into his heart.
Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) is the story of four people from very different backgrounds, whose worlds intersect and leave them forever altered. As they find themselves drawn into compelling relationships, the city finds it's way into the crevices of their lives, separating them even as it brings them closer...
Fragments of their experience - seen through a naïve video diary, black and white photographic images, and painting - form a portrait of Mumbai and its people, bound together as they journey through longing, loneliness, loss and love.