We do not know where and when the story of Saawariya takes place. It takes place in a city where it rains and snows, where boats take you from one end to another and where prostitutes are aplenty. A city where despair is woefully apparent, but only in the absence of love. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has taken new faces, Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, and has made use of their innocence to etch out two characters, Ranbir Raj and Sakina, both madly in love. The twist, however, is that Sakina is in love with Imaan, enacted by Salman Khan, and is unable to move on with her life, despite being away from him for close to a year.
Saawariya is based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's short story, "White Nights", and the treatment of the script is fantastic. It is a completely different concept, with a fictional town created with beautiful, elaborate sets and the whole idea of using blues and greens in every shot with the sun never being shown was brilliantly showcased. Saawariya appeals because the simple nature of the story gels amazingly with the setting. The bright neons, the tall clock tower and the bridge around which the story revolves all play a part in this movie.
Ranbir Kapoor makes a good debut, bringing out his character's naivety and innocence, through his dialogue delivery and, of course, his dorky dance moves. Sonam Kapoor started out looking completely out of place but as the movie progressed she seemed to get into her character better, but there is a lot of scope for her to improve as an actress. Rani Mukherjee is the narrator of the movie - she is a prostitute in what happens to be a red light area of the town. Rani, plays her role with the right mix of spunky attitude and poor English, and steals the show in all her scenes.
From the happy, guitar based title track to the romantic, soulful number, Jaan-E-Jaan, music composer Monty has been a revelation. I had never heard any of his work before this, but he does a wonderful job in bringing the story alive with his music. The art direction in this movie, I think, was the big difference. The whole world of Ranbir and Sakina was surreal and I doubt the movie would have worked if it wasn't for that.
Saawariya will have its critics (I suppose it can get boring for some since there is no real urgency or quick tempo to the movie) but I enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed it because it was different; different from the mindless, star fuelled Bollywood flicks that I've become accustomed to. Sanjay Leela Bhansali brings to the screen a world where to love is the obvious thing to do, and to suffer because of that, is a natural consequence.
My Verdict: 7.5/10