Harish Jharia

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11 October 2011

Analytical Film Review: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Famous Romantic Movie ‘Saavariya’

- Harish Jharia
  • Banner: Snajay Leela Bhansali Films
  • Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Star Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Salman Khan in Special appearance, Rani Mukerji in Special appearance, Begum Para, Achla Sachdev, Zohra Sehgal, 
  • Singers: Shail Hada, Shaan, Kunal Ganjawala, Shreya Ghoshal, Parthiv Gohil, Richa Sharma, Alka Yagnik
  • Lyricist: Sameer, Nusrat Badr, Sandeep Nath, 
  • Music Director: Monty Sharma, Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Cinematography: Ravi K. Chandran
  • Art: Omung Kumar, Vanita Omung Kumar
  • Editor: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Screenplay: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Prakash Kapadia
  • Costume: Reza Sheraffi
  • Story: Based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's (1821-1881) short story "White Nights" 

The Russian Story Writer:
It is quite interesting to note that the story of ‘Saawariya’ is based on a short story ‘White Nights’ written by the 1880s Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky who was punished with prolonged imprisonment for alleged subversion against the czars. He is considered as one of the greatest Russian writers recognized across the world. 

                 Sonam Kapoor as Sakina

It is a bit complicated romantic story of a homeless young promising singer ‘Raj‘ who comes wandering to an imaginary city for fulfilling his dreams of becoming a rock star. The young man landed in the heart of the city where the main brothel of the city, in addition to hotels, restaurants and other commercial units were situated. 

                  Ranbir Kapur as Raj

He first met a young girl Gulabji (played by Rani Mukherjee) who worked fulltime in that brothel. Gulabji was a good human being and, in spite of her belonging to a socially discriminated community, she accepted Raj as her humanitarian friend and helped him out in finding a place for him to live. Raj meets a beautiful teenaged girl Sakina (played by Sonam Kapoor) and developed an instinctive romantic relationship at the first sight. Sakina was already committed to another romantic relationship with a stranger (played by Salman Khan), who met her for a short while and then separated for an uncertain prolonged period.

Sakina missed the stranger all the time for months together and kept waiting for him endlessly. Consecutively, raj and Sakina develop a strong bond of friendship respecting mutual feelings. The story eventually finds a negative end when the stranger returns back to Sakina and Skina reunites with him and sets off on their eternal journey. She leaves behind her friend Raj who bids her farewell with heavy heart and face masked with a superficial smile.

Review of the movie: 
The big budget, big canvas and much awaited film ‘Saawariya’ was released on November 9, 2007 with lot of fanfare but it did not do well on the box office.  Sanjay Leela Bhansali produced this film under his own banner SLB Films and performed responsibilities of all the vital departments like direction, editing, screen play and music direction. That is the reason why the movie had become abstract and monotonous.  I would enlist all the good features of the film and the vital points responsible for its debacle:

The plus points:
  1. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has provided an excellent and highly professional direction and editing to this film.
  2. The movie has exceptionally beautiful and professionally excellent sets, designed by Vanita and Omung Kumar that keep the cine-viewer spellbound all through the show.
  3.  Cinematographer Ravi K. Chandran has used his camera effectively and rendered the best possible visual effects on the screen that take the viewer to the dream world imagined by Sanjay Leela Bhansali 
  4. In spite of being debutant, Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam have played the lead characters in the best possible expertize. All other actors have also done justice to their characters in the film. 
  5. Reza Sheraffi has designed excellent costumes for all the characters.
The negative points:
  1. The film has a very week and abstract screen play. That is the reason why the movie does not appear to be moving in justified successive frames. 
  2. The film has been made based on a short story. As such for making a film the screenplay should have been written in such a way that the short story canvas converts into a full length movie canvas. 
  3. There is monotony all through the film and it seems as if the film is trying to tell the story in one breath. 
  4. There was no suitable place for the towel dance and song sequence and it was deliberately inserted in the film in an arbitrary way. The towel dance and song sequence should not be there. 
  5. There were so many songs shown in quick succession in the film and should have been reduced to the barest minimum. This theme is not suitable for so many songs. 
  6. It appears as if the story of the film has covered a time period of a few weeks or at the most few months rather than screening a major segment of human life. 
  7. There was darkness of night shown throughout the film and eventually dragged the viewer away from the mode of entertainment to an uncomfortable gloom.
  8. The entire film started on the sets created by the film crew progressed in the interiors and ended indoors only. The film never went outdoors or showed any external locations. This limited accessibility created an avoidable suffocation throughout the movie. 
  9. The social and geographical identity of the place and the people in this film could not be shown distinctly on the screen. The social backgrounds of the people were highly confusing. The costumes of the characters and the snowfall shown on the screen showed Russian theme of the story blended with Indian identities.  

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