4.5 Excellent

Saawariya

To take the road less travelled, is the biggest risk of them all. But while making it an aesthetically visual delight, is the greatest accomplishment of them all. I went for Saawariya after hearing four-days of non-stop negative reviews. An opinionated individual with a mind of my own, I wanted to determine for myself the buzz behind “SLB’s wosre film.” And quit frankly…I found it to be wonderful.

The film is a FANTASY. Once we have that crystal clear in our minds, we can move forward. Take a comfortable seat and pop along some popcorn for a pretty ride ahead. Fantasies are not meant to make sense. Its imaginative. In fact, it gives us, the viewer, a rare opportunity in Bollywood, to imagine a story in our own heads while watching the story of others.
When I saw “Chronicles of Narnia” I didn’t ask how a closet inside a door could lead to a mystical land. “Saawariya” is the first large scale attempt of sheer Fantasy.

The film opens up stating that this is a dream world- so why is everyone questioning “where on the map this blueish/greenish town is located.” We don’t question five costume changes and three different continents all wrapped up in one three-minute song, do we? They say the bigger you get…the harder it gets. And no doubt. Poor SLB is being attacked by everyone for everything. Suddenly people that always leave their thinking caps at home [and many of these people don’t even have thinking caps to begin with] want to “analyze” the “technicalities” of Saawariyaa.

Whoever said this is a failed love story, may not understand the levels of love. I’m just so flabbergasted to hear people with their ridiculous comments when Bollywood is filled with actual rubbish. And here comes along a radically different approach, a different interpretation on emotions and it’s getting bashed. Emotions need not be over-the-top drama with the girl crying constantly, waiting for her lover. And the boy loosing his mind once he fails to reach his love. SLBs lead characters have lots of depth.
Ranbir displays love, romance, charm, selfishness, jealousy, insecurity, pain, doubt, fear, greed, obsession, passion, peace and tranquililty.
Sakina shows rejection, patience, insecurity, confidence, friendship, dedication, sincerity, honesty and madness.
Basically, a full range of emotions are indeed portrayed. We choose to look at some, while ignoring others. But they all are there.
And that’s whats great about the film. How much do we push ourselves to associate with the characters? Both of them can be found within us in varying degrees.

A few points:
• Not all lovers get to be with their loved ones. i.e.: Devdas! But did we sympathize for him more because he ended up as a drunkard, wasting his life in a brothel and eventually dying??? Do we fail to empathize with the eternal optimist who keeps everyone happy, and tries to keep himself happy as well, and although has lost his loved one, has not fully lost his spirit? In reality, without hope- we all would be an off-shoot of Devdas. Luckily our spirits and hopes don’t die so quickly.
• This “straight-out-of-a-fairytale town” is located exactly where it claims to be; in fairytale land. Get over it. Move on. Disney would never be a large corporation without fairytales that not only children, but parents get hooked on. Peter Pan goes to Never Ever Land…Oops. I forgot to criticize Disney for not including directions in their credits.
• Since we understand that its love at first sight, and slightly beyond, since Salman actually stays as a paying guest for some period of time- giving the two lovers a chance to connect further….why are we questioning what keeps it going? LOVE. Obviously. Have we become that “practical” where both lovers personalities need to be spelled out, some common interests shown on a basis for which a connection can be formed, and so on so forth. Fate brings them together, something sparks off, and that feeling stays. Sakina is not looking for instant gratification. Is that what not the “traditionalists” prefer anyways? Both boy and girl fall in love, stay loyal while distance holds them apart and reunite. Maybe some people have become too “modern” to digest a love so pure and innocent. The girl need not knowing “anything” about him. We acknowledge its love at first sight so she does not need a reason to stay in love with him.
• Salman disappears due to work purposes. He mentions his commitment to the country [I believe it was the “country” he said]….so go along with it. Maybe he is in the army, a government worker, a politican, an activist! Whatever. He has to go. There is reason to it but a reason unexplained so as to not waste beautiful screen time. And for filming purposes…it’s the event which pushes the story forward in all ways.
• Whores typically do not know how to truly love. However, Rani does fall in true love. She respects her lover and that’s why looses her temper. If she gave in to Ranbir, his level would be the same as any other customer of hers. Her respect for her lover is of course much more higher than that. If she gave in to him, I would have lost my temper! She did the right thing. Now if he came to her and also proclaimed his true love and then tried initating a love making session, Rani can give in. But that was not the case. She respects him and her love too much to cheapen it in any way.
• I agree that Salman returns and the film quickly comes to an end. But as I mentioned earlier, his departure is what kept the whole film going. And his return calls for an appropriate end. Maybe SLB should have done what other “masala” films do. Salman returns much earlier. Then Ranbir and Salman battle over the girl, who in the meantime, has kept a no-food mannat for her true love to take her away. : )
Another thing that probably “perplexes” people is how Ranbir can sign off on a happy note. As mentioned earlier, eternal optimist’ do exist.

Maybe you can consider me one. I believed in SLB since the beginning. I watch each film with an expectation of quality cinema, but I refuse to compare one of his works from another. Each film has its own unique USP, a different genre, a different vision…all from the same man. All four of his films are love story’s of a sort- and how wonderfully he has showcased love in four unique ways.
Saawariya was not perfect. The music lacked the haunting effect of Khamoshi.
The colors did get a bit straining at time. It wasn’t “perfect.” Then again…perfection does not exist. For the betterment of “Bollywood” cinema, we must applaud large-scale experimental efforts. Hats off to Bhansali, cast and crew!