My thoughts on Saawariya

I know I am not famous enough to be on Koffee with Karan, but if I was asked by the honorable host as to which movie I would choose to watch between Om Shanti Om and Saawariya, I would have answered without blinking, “Saawariya, of course.” True to my answer, I went and watched Saawariya this weekend.

The movie is based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s short story ‘White Nights’. How far can you stretch a short story to make into a 3 hour movie? Owing to this, the story is not the best part of the movie and some people might even find it boring. What makes the movie come alive is the direction, music and Ranbir – in that order.

To create a dream world so beautiful and take your audience to this world and make them forget that they have left a real world behind is not easy. Sanjay Leela Bhansali does this and he is a genius. For as long as the screen was lit up, I was mesmerized. The whole movie is shot in a set which mimics a small town around a lake. By interval time, you feel you are a part of that town. There is one shot where Sonam is reading from a book and her aunt and her governess (??) are with her. The three women are shown in three mirrors and in between the focus shifts to Sonam and you can see the other women in two mirror. It’s mind boggling to even think how SLB shot this!

If you are not fond of melodious music, do not watch this movie. It’s like a Chitrahaar sometimes, with songs back to back and these songs add flavour to the movie. The first song ‘Pari’, so beautifully sung by Kunal Ganjawala is equally well crafted by SLB. I particularly liked the shots involving glass panes. Ranbir and the women are separated by a glass pane. The shot begins with Ranbir’s reflection on the glass pane and the women slightly out-of-focus and as the shot proceeds, Ranbir fades out and you see the women. This technique repeats a couple of times all through the song.

Considering that it is Ranbir’s first movie, he has done well. The whole movie stands on his shoulders and he carries it well. He comes across as this lovable, vivacious, naughty, lover boy who lives life to the fullest. His acting seems like overacting at times, but it is forgivable. He is exceptionally brilliant in his towel-clad act in ‘Jabse tere naina’. He proves his dancing skills in the title song. It’s the innocence on his face that takes your heart away. Sonam doesn’t really have much scope to act. Moreover, with Ranbir hogging the screen, she failed to impress me.

There are certain places where the movie goes too far away from reality. Like the song ‘Dekho chaand aaya’. The song is shot in a mosque and all the men are in white, except our Ranbir who is dressed in black. After the song, the men and women mingle and exchange greetings – which is sacrilegious in Muslim community. If this scene couldn’t have been shot in any other way, SLB could have based this story in some other, more liberal community.

While the movie does have these far-from-reality pieces, it is closer to real life than most of our Bollywood movies. We are so used to seeing the male lead sacrificing his love for his friend and the female lead agreeing to marry her lover’s friend for the sake of her love. In Saawariya, we actually get to see some real emotions, where the male lead places his own love above someone else’s and asserts that man, after all, is selfish.  I can’t say much without marking it as a spoiler. People who have watched the movie will understand what I am talking about.

Even though it is not SLB’s best, he definitely shines in this movie. If you are a romantic and sometimes let your heart overtake your head, then you will enjoy Saawariya.

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4 thoughts on “My thoughts on Saawariya

  1. Anaamica… Good post again.. Your thoughts are very well put… But I beg to differ… Except that Music is great and so is Ranbir… Buy a CD and listen to music or put a wallpaper of Ranbir on your desktop…

    To create a dream world so beautiful and take your audience to this world I think SLB did that better in Hum Dil Chuke and Devdas than in Saawariya… Dreams are always colorful and not just plain BLUE… The whole movie has shades of blue which you like initially but after sometime you want to see another color.. afterall reality is colorful and not plain black and blue…

    If you are not fond of melodious music, do not watch this movie. It’s like a Chitrahaar So was Hum Aapke hain kaun and SLB’s first Khamoshi, but that’s different right 😉

    Considering that it is Ranbir’s first movie, he has done well. The whole movie stands on his shoulders and he carries it well. That is true.. and I agree 100% here

    There are certain places where the movie goes too far away from reality. There was no reality in the movie.. I felt I was watching an Opera… Starting from Ranbir entering this weird town, to Rani Mukherji… Everything looked fake and made up.

    In Saawariya, we actually get to see some real emotions, where the male lead places his own love above someone else’s and asserts that man, after all, is selfish. Actually this was the case in Hum Dil Chuke Sanam as well where in Salman and Aishwarya both were shown selfish towards their love.

    If you are a romantic and sometimes let your heart overtake your head, then you will enjoy Saawariya… I am quite romantic and my wife can agree on that, but as a romantic person I will enjoy Socha na tha or recent Jab We met before Saawariya

    Cheers!

  2. “To create a dream world so beautiful and take your audience to this world I think SLB did that better in Hum Dil Chuke and Devdas than in Saawariya… Dreams are always colorful and not just plain BLUE… The whole movie has shades of blue which you like initially but after sometime you want to see another color.. after all reality is colorful and not plain black and blue…”

    You are contradicting yourself here. At one point you say there is no reality in this movie, and in another you say reality is not plain black and blue 🙂 That apart, I liked this consistent use of blue color. I think it contributed a lot in carrying the audience to the dream world and keeping them there – it sorts of sends the audience into a trance.

    “There are certain places where the movie goes too far away from reality. There was no reality in the movie.. I felt I was watching an Opera… Starting from Ranbir entering this weird town, to Rani Mukherji… Everything looked fake and made up.”

    Yes of course, but the movie was real when it came to the Muslim community in which it is based in. In my opinion, he could as well based it on some more liberal community or some made-up community.

    “In Saawariya, we actually get to see some real emotions, where the male lead places his own love above someone else’s and asserts that man, after all, is selfish. Actually this was the case in Hum Dil Chuke Sanam as well where in Salman and Aishwarya both were shown selfish towards their love.”

    Looks like you liked Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Let me clarify what I meant. Selfishness here meant favoring your love more than your lover’s love. In this context, Salman and Aishwarya don’t come under this purview. The only person who does is Ajay and he displays the exact opposite of selfishness. According to me, he is not ‘selfish’ enough to feel happy about being married to Aishwarya and instead vows to unite her with his lover. This ’emotion’ is ubiquitous in Bollywood movies. And this is what exactly is not shown in Sawariya, be it in Ranbir or Sonam. Ranbir wants the girl to himself whereas all Sonam cares about is her love.

    “If you are a romantic and sometimes let your heart overtake your head, then you will enjoy Saawariya… I am quite romantic and my wife can agree on that, but as a romantic person I will enjoy Socha na tha or recent Jab We met before Saawariya.”

    Romantic is not meant in the literal sense here. What I meant by romantic is one who savors life, who day-dreams and fantasizes and lets his heart take over his head. About the two movies you talk about, I haven’t watched them.

    All said, Sawariya is not SLB’s best movie or my favorite movie. I have only listed things I liked about it and things I didn’t like.

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