Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blues and hues of Saawariya.

So there it is. Saawariya directed by that-guy-whose-style-looked-like-something-I-didn't-care-to-see, in all it's Region 2 (that's European DVD region for those unaware) glory, staring at me in the shop shelf, placed mistakenly under the "Comedy" section. I know it's probably not smart, but forgive me - I rarely see Indian movies or "Indian-esque" films in my local shop, and when I do, I go a bit crazy (this explains the Marigold DVD in my shelf). The cover says "A genuine Indian Bollywood-movie" in Finnish - yes, as opposed to those ungenuine Indian Bollywood movies.

And so I do buy it, even though I'm almost certain I won't love it and pop it in on New Year's Eve.

The plot shouldn't be new to anybody. Based off Dostoyevski's "White Nights", Ranbir Kapoor (son of Rishi & Neetu) plays Raj, who comes to a very blue town to become a successful poet or musician, or something. He's like a Guru Dutt character on a sugar high, whose poetry sounds more cheesy than genuine. He meets Gulabji (Rani Mukherjee, probably the best performance and character in the film), a prostitute who he befriends and ends up falling in love with the beautiful Sakina (Sonam Kapoor, daughter of Anil), who is waiting for her own love, Imaan (Salman Khan).
Yadda yadda yadda. Sonam and Rani are both fantastically beautiful, Ranbir is generally good and proves he is capable of dancing like any new generation star should be, Salman gets to be effective (with kohl!) and the youngsters manage some very good, very convincing scenes together. But little by little, I realize I don't really care for the movie. It's not exactly dislike - it's simply apathy towards the story, towards the characters and their fates. When the film ends, I sort of shrug. "Already? Okay."

The dark blue colour scheme starts out lovely and the visuality of the film is undeniable, but it all gets to be a bit too much at some point. It just feels like it doesn't serve a purpose of any kind; had the story kept me engrossed in the film, I might've found it interesting or potentially meaningful. Like maybe the mood of the film changes the way I perceive the colours of it. But that doesn't really happen; the visuality of it seems skin-deep, if even that. I screencapped a lot, especially the lovely ladies of the film, but I would not call it the prettiest Hindi film ever.

So unfortunate. The songs, even though I quite liked them, felt awkwardly paced and whatever other things I found promising or good, I ended up being quite disappointed in. Raj starts out a funny, likable character and ends up going through a puzzling metamorphosis into a crazy-in-love guy that might've been more understandable, had the script been stronger. Sakina also suffers from mild insanity caused by love, but for whatever reason, it seems just the tiny bit more believable. The poetic dialogues - or wannabe-poetic if nothing else - seem to slow everything down and even though I had subtitles in my own language, I kept zoning out on the story and what was being said.

Oh well. I try to remember the things I did like - Gulabji and the kids when they're in the first stages of getting to know one another. The rest, to quote Avril Lavigne's ever-green tune "Girlfriend", is quite simply "so whatever".


dunkdaft said... now I know why you din't like this much. Anyways...

To me, its visual beauty and the music, was THE thing of the movie. I just loved its background score too. Its simply awesome. Though, halfaway, the movie loses its track. But all is forgiven for shear beauty to my eyes.

Gulabji was excellent. I liked her most in the scene when Raj feels dejected and comes to door of Gulabji to spend a night with her.

ajnabi said...

I kept on forgetting the movie sucked while I watched it because it was sooooo pretty (unlike you I feel it is one of the prettiest ever). However, for all its failings (and there were many) I thought it did a great job of highlighting Ranbir and Sonam, both of whom I found utterly charming.

Of course Rani was the real highlight of the film. Even though her birthday song was pointless as far as narrative goes I was glad she had it.

And I loved stone-faced Sallu!

Anonymous said...

you hit the nail on the head describing my feeling toward the film -- apathy. bleh.

the highlights for me were Rani and -- a rarity -- Salman. and i ADORED the 'drive-in movie' idea with the gondolas!! oh, to actually watch a classic BW film in that setting.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Oh I so hated it- like I've ranted before, Ranbir should have just married Rani when he saw her- but then the movie wouldnt have happened so I guess :) Rani was so gorgeous though- and Salman so so beautiful-- eeh!

Pessimisissimo said...

It's not a good sign in any film when the hero is required to yodel (in the title song, I think). I found both Ranbir and Sonam to lack star wattage--whenever Rani shared a scene with Ranbir, they seemed painfully mismatched (of course, I'm a huge Rani fan). Perhaps Bachna Ae Haseeno will change my mind about Ranbir. Sonam just seemed to be a pretty face, although in her defense the character she played would have defeated many a more experienced actress.

Bhansali's slow-motion blue direction also grew tiresome after awhile--everything was just too pretty, too blue, and too slow. I'm a big fan of his Devdas, though, which combines his hallucinatory vision with major stars, a compelling soundtrack and incredible dance numbers. You might want to give it a chance if you found Saawariya only mildly disappointing.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you and filmifan, you have got it spot on with Saawariya.

I don't hate the movie - i love the colours, music and actors. But the whole movie i was just waiting for the movie to bring me in, make me love the characters, make me care about them!

But alas it hardly ever happens. I just didn't care by the end of it who she ended up with. I can't put my finger on why i had such little emotional connection the characters.

Its good to see i'm not the only one who thought Rani was the best thing about Saawariya. I thought it was my bias, but its good to see you thought so too - and filmifan.

I have to watch Andaz Apna Apna again!!