As I sat in the movie theater nearing intermission of Saawariya, I gasped in delight.
"Psst", I whispered to my mom,"I think I know where this is going."
Her face looked a bit puzzled, and she didn't ask me to elaborate, but there wasn't time. Our movie theater doesn't give actual intermissions during Bollywood films.
I didn't care- If Sanjay Leela Bhansali was going where I expected him to go, I sure didn't want to ruin it for her. After all, we were in for a real treat.
And then, as the movie "unfolded" I started to realize I was wrong in my prediction...and then, the horrifying reality sunk in...
My imagination had just created a better ending than one of the best directors in Bollywood had.
(Just so you know, I have to discuss the ending if I'm going to write about this movie...in case you haven't seen it and want to be "surprised".)
Don't get me wrong...it wasn't that I didn't like Saawariya...It really is a beautiful movie with charming music and enchanting sets. Its just that the ending left me feeling unsatisfied. I know its based on an Arabian folktale and all, but it just seemed like Salman Khan's appearance at the bridge at the end was supposed to be some breathless moment for the viewer...and I was like, "That's it?" Come on, this is Bollywood...I was expecting a major twist...and it never came...I know its the understated plots that get the real awards and recognition, but where was the element of suspense/surprise/or even romance?
Having said that, there were some things that I really loved about the movie. For one, Ranbir Kapoor.
He looks like a mime in most of his promo pics, but I can assure you, he is way cuter onscreen. He has this amazing magnetic presence that was obvious as soon as he sprinted into the first song. For a second I forgot that I was missing Shahrukh Khan's movie to see this(we only get one Bollywood movie at a time at my local theater). The towel scene didn't hurt, either.
Another unforgettable character in Saawariya was Rani Mukerjee's prostitute Gulab.
I always find Rani so classy and poised in her films, but she was a natural in this feisty "bad girl" role. And she really proved those critics who bashed her in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag wrong...She can play a prostitute! I loved her in this movie, and her charming smile lit up the screen-as always.
While I don't speak Hindi, I am addicted to the soundtrack of Saawariya. My favorites are "Thode Badmash","Jab Se Tere Naina",the title song, and of course Rani's "Chhabeela".
Salman Khan hasn't grown on me quite yet, and his role in this film certainly didn't help. I had a hard time stomaching him as Sakina's true love. I actually found it kind of creepy because I read an article where Sonam Kapoor said Salman was like an uncle type to her in real life and had been a friend of the family since she could remember. All I could think of in their "love" scenes was yuck.
And I know you're probably curious...what would my version of the second half have been? Well, I'm really not even close to being as brilliant as SLB is(never mind the smart remark I made in the beginning of this post), but I was thinking something along the lines of this...That letter that Sakina wanted Ranbir to deliver to her lover not being a love letter at all..her life was in danger or she was being held captive or something. And the letter contained some kind of vital information that she needed to get to its receiver in order to set her free and allow her to be with Ranbir. When Ranbir destroyed it, he unknowingly destroyed any chance of them being together. I don't know. Maybe its a bit melodramatic and cliched, but these are the things I love about Bollywood. To me that would have been a bit more interesting than the lover just appearing with the letter really having no real significance at all... other than to show Ranbir's unfavorable side.
Sonam Kapoor has one of the most symmetrically beautiful faces I have ever seen, but I can't remember being too swayed by her performance. For me, it was hard to root for her character, because she was breaking Ranbir's heart, the character I found so easy to love.
Although Saawariya was a bit disappointing, the music, Ranbir and Rani made up for it all. And, like a true Bollywood fan, I will still be purchasing this DVD when it comes out!
Text (c) 2007 Nida NazirBitten By Bollywood