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.