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!

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Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

It has to be close to 8 years since I last watched Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (KKHH, Something Happens). That is quite odd considering it is another film starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. I loved it the first time, but somehow it got lost in all the other films I own and I dusted it off today. I remember I was so excited when I ordered this one. I was bidding on ebay and barely got in my last bid before it closed. I had already grown to love the songs “Ladki Badi Anjaani Hai”, “Koi Mil Gaya”, and “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”, which were on one of my mixed CDs.  It was the first Rani Mukherji film I watched as well. The basic story is about a man who loses his wife after childbirth and has to raise his daughter without a mother. Before she dies though, she writes 8 letters for her daughter’s first 8 birthdays. In the last one she gives her daughter the task of finding her fathers’ best friend so he can be happy again and she will have a mother. So many wonderful moments and tears during this movie. There are a couple things that stand out in this film and make it one of my favorites.

Half the movie takes place at a summer camp. I only went to summer camps a couple of times as a kid, but those memories hold a special place in my heart. The games we would play, the friends you would make, and the songs we would sing are so fun to reminisce about. We never did choreographed dances though ;). The kids were so sweet too, especially little Anjali and the Sikh boy who counts the stars (he did that in another film but I can’t remember right now).

I think it was in this film I began to notice Johnny Lever…is in EVERYTHING! He is a comedian who has been in hundreds of films so far (Wikipedia says more than 350). He was brilliant as the British loving Camp Manager. His timing is always spot on and he often lightens even the darkest films (even if only briefly). The first couple of films I saw him in, he kind of annoyed me, but after KKHH I really started to have more of an appreciation for him. Now I love seeing him pop up in films.

Also, on a side note, in 2011, KKHH will be remade in honor of its 12th anniversary as a ….cartoon! It is titled Koochie Koochie Hota Hai, and I am actually quite excited to see it after watching the trailer. All the same actors do the voices (minus Salman Khan) and all the characters are dogs! Anywho, Bolly-in-the-‘Bul signing out. Namaste!