Saawariya (meaning "Beloved") is director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's adaptation of Dostoevsky's short story "White Nights". The body of the film is decidedly Bollywood with all of the vibrant colors (the color blue has never looked so good) while the core remains true to Dostoevsky. Bhansali had expressed in an interview that he made this movie in part inspired by watching his grandmother waiting on the balcony every evening for his grandfather to come home from work. How deep is that love? Can it ever be distracted, even temporarily, from its long-standing object of affection? This movie meditates on some of these aspects of love. Saawariya is a musical and should be experienced as such. Here are some reasons why I fell in love with this movie:
1) Beautiful evocative sets that depict a syncretic town visited by different ages and cultures. A town that exists nowhere and yet everywhere. I was initially skeptical of Bhansali's choice of shooting this movie entirely on sets. But after watching the dreamscape of Saawariya unfold, I applaud his choice.
2) The beautiful and innocent Sakina as portrayed by Sonam Kapoor. Her emotive power is expressed through her eyes and she pervades the film as a lone angel awaiting her distant lover. Sonam will go far in filmdom with the right roles.
3) The exuberance of Ranbir Kapoor. Though he tends to overreach himself in some frames, he is mostly pleasant and sympathetic throughout the movie.
4) Excellent supporting and memorable performances by Zohra Sehgal and Rani Mukherjee. Salman Khan is remarkably restrained here and does justice to his brief role.
5) The music, O the music! Haunting, evocative, mesmerizing! After a long gap have I heard such beautiful melody pour forth from a Bollywood film.
6) People watching this movie in theaters were critical of the overtly blue hues that pervade the entire movie. But I just fell in love with the blue theme.
7) A few magnificent scenes like (a) Zohra Sehgal's dialogue with Raj (Ranbir) on forgiveness, (b) A mesmerizing shot of Sakina's playful beating of the carpets, (c) The song "Yoon Shabnami" wherein the faithful are awaiting a glimpse of the moon so that they may break their Id fast whilst Raj gazes away in the other direction at his "moon" - Sakina.
I could go on and on but will stop here. Suffice to say that every frame of this movie is rich and I personally consider this movie a classic in the long run.