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Rediff.com  » Movies » Folks, stay away from Saawariya

Folks, stay away from Saawariya

November 16, 2007 12:12 IST

I've relocated. Bed 7, Ward 12, Wockhardt, Cunningham road. Fun Cinemas? A block away. Emergency, it seems. I was told, when I regained consciousness, that I had poisoned myself.

I'm trying to figure out why. Oh, what's this in my pockets again? A cinema counterfoil? Audi-2? Saawariya -- first day, first show?

Ouch. Like they said in the movie, very sad-sad.

The set is almost like a mixture of a city decked up in Renaissance art, forced amidst a Venetian lagoon -- a town that is generously showered with rain, snow and prostitutes. Really. Barring the lead and support cast, every other woman in that 'magical' world is a hooker.

One of them, incidentally, is Gulabjee (Rani Mukherji), with a subtle touch of the deep-red lipstick that you associate with the likes. Unfortunately, that's the only bit of subtlety you would find throughout the flick. We digress, or maybe, we don't.

So, Gulabjee introduces us to her world. This place, apparently, you don't find on a map. No siree, 'coz it's in her dreams. One night, at a bar, the woman meets Ranbir Raj (Ranbir Kapoor) -- RK bar's lead vocalist, as we stop to wonder and marvel at SLB's genius at name-selection. RK bar, indeed. Raj is the kind of lead-vocalist who has milk at night before sleeping. He doesn't booze. The decent-types, boy next door, single and ready to mingle. You get the picture.

And he has a heart. So, when Gulabjee flashes her smile and (sorrowfully) talks about what the prostitutes go through every day (or perhaps, every night), Ranbir breaks into a song. A rather Pied-piperish one at that, he gets the whole mohalla-ke-sex-workers to raise their palms at the moon and acknowledge 'hope'. That things would change.

For now, however, Ranbir needs a roof. He promptly walks down the road to the old landlady (Zohra Sehgal), the one he affectionately calls 'Lillypop'. He mouths lines from the overwritten dialogue, and by the time we're done with our yawns, the bloke is in the house. All goes well, so in maintaining loyalty to the script -- and White Nights -- Ranbir falls in love.

The girl is Sakina (Sonam Kapoor), umbrella-in-hand, but oops -- she runs away from him. The arbitrary laughter suddenly flies in (and unfortunately, remain throughout the flick), as the kid-duo break into giggles at will. Almost out of sheer madness, as the audience starts to relate. Through Sakina, we're introduced to the Muslim bit of this world.

So all goes well -- Ranbir bumps into Sakina, they share stuff, walk through the rains, and even go all by themselves up to a Big Bennish tower from where the whole town is seen. Right here, Sakina shares a big secret with Raj, and shucks, oops, ouch, it's a triangle after all.

Oui, enter Iman (Salman Khan). So, fair and smiley Sakina loves him beyond anyone else, and while SLB tries to make this revelation oh-so-astounding, we shrug in boredom.

Ranbir, meanwhile, is heartbroken. SLB tries too hard to evoke sympathy. Too bad, it doesn't work. We almost wish Sallu would arrive and walk away with the dame, and the movie ends like way before the interval. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

Mr Bhansali, at this stage, let me tell you this: I don't have a problem with unrealistic cinema. At least, coming from the guy behind Devdas and Black, couldn't you make it slightly convincing?

Interval it was, and I asked the woman who forced me to go with her for this flick -- my mother - 'Ma, are you staying back to watch the rest of the flick?'

Her response was a cold 'yes' with the I-kept-you-in-my-stomach-for-nine-months look, so, um, I grabbed a Pepsi for company and saying three Hail Marys, I sat through it.

And after sitting through it, all I can say is forget this flick. The editing is lacklustre, the dialogues are horrible -- overwritten, overmouthed, and just too stereotyped. Too predictable.

The performances, however, add some respect to this 'flick'. Ranbir tries to honestly portray his Ranbir, and overacts one too often. Sonam Kapoor's Sakina is pretty -- she's fair, riveting hair, the works. Attractive? Yes. Actress? Not yet. Although, definitely, the fault must go to SLB for inviting the poor soul to act in this disaster.

Rani Mukerji tries too hard to laugh too much. Salman Khan has about three minutes of screen-time with no songs, where all he does is sleep, hug the dame, or just look at her and go 'Masha Allah' in an unruffled, uncomplicated manner. Mercifully, his shirt remains stuck to his frame throughout. That's a first.

Zohra Sehgal churns out the best performance. Genuinely sweet, it's that little pinch of salt that would have otherwise made us leave this dish to rot. Not that it's edible anyhow.

The set is awesome. The direction -- brilliant. artistic, aesthetic. But, seriously, what's the whole point? This is a movie, SLB, not a showcase.

Folks, stay away from it. If you still want to watch it, make sure you've written your will. The only reason I didn't walk out after this two-and-a-half-hour flick that seemed like an eternity, was because the Nachos at Fun Cinemas is saltier than the others.

Sandil