Saawariya

I have wanted to write about Saawariya (My Love) for a very long time. I like to watch the trailers for new films on the iTunes Movie Trailers site. I was so excited (six years ago) when I saw the first Bollywood movie advertised on it. There were a couple things that drew me to the movie 1) it was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and 2) the colors and atmosphere of it (I will explain more later). The film also happens to be based on Dostoevsky’s short story “White Nights” but I found that out later.

I happen to be a big fan of Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB for short) as a director. I had previously seen three of his films and count Devdas as one of my all time favorites. His films are usually quite dramatic and heavy, but with so much beauty you could almost drown in them.

Saawariya takes place always during the night in a fictional city, in the red light district, that is inhabited by Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists (that I saw evidence of). It felt like Moulin Rouge, Venice, Paris, and Arabian Nights all rolled into one. I loved the sets and how the whole movie was done in deep jewel tones but with a wash of sapphire blue and emerald green over the top. Every shot was stunning in some way and it is a movie that has stuck in my mind over the years. I first watched it five years ago and then again today so I could write about it while it was fresh in my mind.

Saawariya is the story of musician/dreamer/lover Raj (Ranbir Kapoor) who meets Sakina (Sonam Kapoor) on a bridge one night and falls in love. Raj is such a lovely, if not naive, character and I especially loved his relationships with Lilianpop (his landlady) and Gulabji (the prostitute with a heart of gold played by Rani Mukerji). But this is a romantic drama and a heavy one at that. Sakina waits on that bridge for the man she loves, who is to return on Eid and take her away with him. Ufff yaaa, I hate movies like this and especially when said man is played by Salman Khan! You never really get to see what Sakina sees in him, and it is frustrating when she has such a perfect guy right in front of her. While I might visually love the film, the story is annoying. One of the best and most honest parts is when Sakina’s housekeeper tells her she is worried that she has gone mad waiting for this man to return (she kind of has), and then Sakina starts laughing maniacally saying the houskeeper is not a good liar. Made me want to slap her silly.

Anyway,  one of the bigger surprises in the film was the music. It was exotic and beautiful, emotional and haunting. Check out “Chhabeela“, “Saawariya“, “Pari“, and my favorite, the beautiful “Masha Allah“. Those are only half the songs too. All are excellent.

Well until next time, namaste!

My Name Is Khan

Last night my fiance and I decided to watch a movie, and we decided on a Shah Rukh Khan film we had not seen yet (not many in that list). We set up My Name Is Khan (MNIK) and began to watch. It is the kind of movie that you just get sucked in and takes you on the journey with the characters. I love Rizwan Khan, Mandira, Sam, Ammi, Zakir, Haseena, Mamma Jenny, Funny Hair Joel, and the other characters that Rizwan comes across on his journey to meet the President of the US and utter the words “My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist.”

It starts with an airport scene in which he gets taken to a room to be searched. I remembered that this actually happened to SRK while he was filming this movie in the US. Even though people recognized him and vouched for him being a famous star, they kept him for two hours. His name was supposedly similar to another name on the “watch list”. People in the holding area were asking for his autograph and everything. OK, maybe no one in the TSA has ever seen a Bollywood, but I might want to check out someones information if everyone else knew them.

The story is narrated by the letter/diary entries that Rizwan writes to his wife Mandira while on his journey. There are also flashbacks to his youth and when he moved to San Francisco and started his life with Mandira and Sam. Rizwan has Asperger’s and SRK does an amazing acting job being in character. He is still charming as ever, but never once do you suspect he is playing a part. I have taught a couple children with Asperger’s (much milder versions than the one Rizwan has) and he is really right on. I was laughing though when he comments on San Francisco being “scary, very scary.” Growing up a couple hours away from the city I went there all the time. I love SF but it can definitely be scary and I usually have some kind of panic attack while driving there (I hate it!).

So, I would love to hear all of your thoughts if you have seen the movie, and if not, watch it as soon as possible.