Monday, October 1, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The event has begun.
Anything and everything that Sanjay Leela Bhansali brings on celluloid is an event in itself. And when the film is as mighty as Saawariya, there are questions galore:
a) Whether Sanjay Leela Bhansali would manage to converge the innocence of Khamoshi, romance of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, grandeur of Devdas and sensitivity of Black into Saawariya?
b) Whether the film would justify it's positioning as a global mainstream release?
c) Whether Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor indeed herald a new era of young romance?
d) Whether Monty Sharma's music and Sameer's lyrics would have just the right elements which make for a quality score?
|Write your own music review of Saawariya|
The only hitch? One wonders how far would it be successful in penetrating the masses. That's because barring 2-3 songs, most of the tracks come together to make Saawariya as a package which works collectively and promises good cinematic outing but doesn't throw songs which come across as standalone chartbusters!
The best track of the album comes at the very beginning in the form of the title song ‘Saawariya. Sanjay Leela Bhansali's love for music is pretty apparent in this track which is instantly catchy in the first listening itself. With a young-n-fresh feel to it, the track comes across as an innocent number, something which was the hallmark of music composed by Jatin-Lalit in their heydays.
Beautifully composed and arranged, Saawariya has Monty keeping things simple with not once going overboard. Everything from the chorus guys to the sound of guitar works just in perfect harmony for this song that has some lovely lyrics by Sameer. But if there is one individual to which the song belongs completely, it is new find Shail Hada. He is tremendous in his rendition and can count himself in to be in the running once the nominations for some of the best sung songs of 2007 are announced!
There is a ‘Saawariya Reprise’ version at the very end of the album which is set as a performance amidst a group of youngsters. Almost an unplugged version with focus completely on Shail Hada's singing, it has him making full use of the platform provided to him and impresses yet again. This is a kind of song that R. D. Burman would have been proud of!
If one thought that the title song was the only good enough reason to hear 'Saawariya' then 'Jab Se Tere Naina' adds on to the list of reasons. A Shaan solo, it has a R.D. Burman and Jatin-Lalit influence to it, especially in the 'antara' portions. A love song that has a serene feel to it, one wonders though if there was any requirement of male voiceover artists in it?
Their frequent intrusions of 'aahas' and 'ohhos' doesn't quite fit in well into the scheme of things for this romantic track which maintains high standards of melody throughout. However, as mentioned at the beginning, the song is a good hear but not the kind (like the title track) which you would sing back home after watching it on screen!
Remote sound of 'Allah' marks the beginning of 'Masha-Allah' which is the first duet of the album. Kunal Ganjawala and Shreya Ghoshal come together for this song in which one can expect scenic locations to compliment the song's setting. There is a classic feel to this song which takes it's inspiration from the soundtrack of 1942 - A Love Story. A point to be noted here though is that Sanjay Leela Bhansali was the song director of this Vidhu Vinod Chopra film and hence the references are understandable.
Coming back to 'Masha-Allah', the song has a serene feel to it and one can expect a pin drop silence when the song is on in the auditorium. While the song mainly belongs to Kunal Ganjawala who does a fine job, Shreya Ghoshal is mainly relegated to giving 'alaap' in the background.
After the title track, one would have expected the spunk to be maintained in the album. Instead it goes the 'Devdas' way here with the focus staying on maintaining good quality of song rather than coming up with songs which could be turn out to be instant chartbusters around the town. With a hint of 'Bairi Piya' [Devdas] when it comes to sheer sound and feel, 'Thode Badmash' has Shreya Ghoshal as the solo singer.
With a classical base to it, this Nusrat Badr written song is mainly created for a situation in the movie and can't be expected to rock the charts from the word 'Go'. Revolving around a girl for whom her lover may be naughty and innocent but still stays on to be her God, this is the kind of song which was mentioned at the beginning to be belonging to a package rather than contributing individually.
Remember Ismail Darbar composed ‘E Chaand Teri’ from ‘Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya'. A song which belongs to a similar genre, 'Yoon Shabnami', comes next which again qualifies to be one of those songs that make for a peaceful hearing. This Sandeep Nath written track has newcomer Parthiv Gohil coming behind the mike and doing a rather decent job.
With a poetic feel to it, 'Yoon Shabnami' that also touches upon being a 'qawalli' revolves mainly around the moon and the glow it spreads. All of this does promise a good cinematic experience though one waits to see the kind of deep rooted reach that a track like this may have across the country.
Have you loved the theme piece that goes along with the teasers of the film? If so, then get set to revisit it in 'Daras Bina Nahin Chain' which has Richa Sharma pairing up with Shail Hada and Parthiv Gohil who have earlier enjoyed a solo each. Richa does what she has been widely acknowledged for being capable of i.e. croon a number which is soaked in Indian classical music.
With a Bhansali stamp all over it, this situational piece mixes pain with love and turns out to be a track with a strong A.R. Rahman influence, especially towards the second half when the setting becomes purely classical.
Shreya Ghoshal returns to the scene with 'Sawar Gayi' that opens with the sound of a thunderstorm. Yet another classically oriented number which moves at a rather slow pace with an out and out situational feel to it, it makes for a decent listening but is restricted to the situation in the film. In fact even when it is heard in the album, it would be appreciated mainly by a select set of audience who follow such genre of music.
After 'Masha-Allah', Kunal Ganjawala and Shreya Ghoshal return with second and the last duet of the album - 'Jaan-E-Jaan'. In fact the entire music arrangement in the first 60 seconds is very much on the lines of music that has been heard in films coming from RK banner. By this time around, one would have expected at least one more song to match the stunning effect that the title song had managed to achieve.
Sadly, 'Jaan-E-Jaan' doesn't quiet turn out to be that song as it does maintain good quality by following Sanjay Leela Bhansali's vision more than anything else but in the process looses out on the commercial prospects. It's not that 'Jaan-E-Jaan' is THE number which could have achieved that but by this time around, one seriously misses a second potential chartbuster track in the album.
Kunal Ganjawala gets to sing his third song in the album, 'Pari'. If there is one song which is relatively enjoyable after 'Saawariya' and to an extent 'Jab Se Tere Naina', it is 'Pari' which follows a love ballad approach and succeeds well in it. A difficult song to sing and compose, something which has been made to look easy by Ganjawala and Monty Sharma, 'Pari' is a beautiful track that one can set in a repeat mode and go off to a peaceful sleep. The orchestra is minimal in the background with focus on lyrics and rendition, hence making 'Pari' a good song to be enjoyed in the loneliness of the night!
Is this the song choreographed on Rani Mukherjee? It seems so the moment one plays on 'Chhabeela'. In fact, the song amalgamates the style of Subhash Ghai, Yash Chopra and Karan Johar school of music and comes across as en enjoyable track. Perhaps the only song in the album with a potential to break across A, B and C centers of the country, this massy Indian track is crooned quite well by Alka Yagnik who has been making restricted appearances of late and justifies her presence for her only track in the album.
In the end, it is the sound of the title song 'Saawariya' which stays on with you forever and is leaps and bounds above anything else in the album. While this is the anchor song which would be remembered for months to come, if not years, the others don't really go that extra distance to such an extent that it becomes hard to get them off your lips. 'Jab Se Tere Naina', 'Masha-Allah', 'Pari' and 'Chhabeela' do have their moments but don't quite qualify as chartbusters. In the end, 'Saawariya' turns out to be an album which does boast of quality in it's songs but gets hampered by restricted mass appeal.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Come 15 September and the much touted debutants of this year in Bollywood - Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor - will first be seen on Channel [V]. The music channel will air the first ever looks of the two new actors on TV by featuring a song from their film Saawariya. Until now the teaser promos of the movie, which is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, do not reveal Ranbir and Sonam's face.
Following this, the channel has queued up heavy promotional plans and intends to leave no stone unturned to publicise the film.
Channel [V] head Amar Deb says, "We are gung ho about the film and are putting in our 100 per cent to make the promotions on our channel as creative as possible. At Channel [V] our constant aim is to do exceptional on air promotions for the Bollywood films we tie up with."
Viewers will get a sneak peak into Saawariya from mid October, which will continue till the release of the movie in November. Keeping in sync with the flavour of the movie, the campaign will be designed around love.
Adds Deb, "When we were promoting Don, the interviews we did with the cast were done in an interrogative format. Shah Rukh Khan stole the Channel [V] logo and the team searched for him. The promotions around Saawariya will be weaved in a similar manner with the underlying theme being love."
Saawariya will be promoted across various shows on the music channel. It will also be crowned as the movie of the month as well as the Movie No. 1 for October. Behind the scenes action and pre-release promotions will also include featuring the Ranbir and Sonam as V Hero and V Goddess respectively.
Special interviews of the duo will be showcased with VJs like Lola Kutty, Juhi, Neil and Gill. Along with the newbies, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali will also give an insight into the story of the film on Channel [V].
The movie releases worldwide on 9 November along with Farah Khan directed Om Shanti Om starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.
Rishi Kapoor knows how emotional he can get. He therefore avoided watching his son on screen for as long as he could…until last week when he was forced to watch his super-talented son Ranbir on screen for the first time. Rishi broke down and wept.
A Saawariya solo number will be screened for 30 selected guests and around 150 media persons at the music release of the Saawariya music tomorrow in Mumbai.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali who skipped attending the National Awards in Delhi on Friday (he won an award for Black) in favour of the music event in Mumbai tomorrow has personally supervised every detail of the lavish function which will be attended by the entire cast including Salman Khan and Rani Mukherjee who have very special roles in Saawariya.
The film's eagerly awaited lead pair Ranbir and Sonam are as nervous as hell about their first public appearance. When I spoke to them on Friday neither had chosen their clothes for the occasion but were sure that it would be the event of their lives.
The music to be released on the Sony Music label and will be out in the market after a week.b
By: Subhash K Jha
To movies born was Ranbir Kapoor, while Sonam Kapoor’s penchant for reading had her creating screenplays in her mind. Two star kids shoot the breeze with Subhash K Jha
HOW DO YOU LOOK BACK AT YOUR FIRST ACTING EXPERIENCE, NOW THAT IT’S OVER AND DONE WITH?
Satisfied and happy, but also sad that it’s over. There’s so much happening right now. I have often dreamt of the moment when my first film would be released. And now when the moment is almost here, I can’t believe it’s actually happening. Even though I’ve finished one film directed by the Grand Master, I can’t say I don’t feel like a newcomer any more. I can’t even call myself a good actor until people see my work.
DO YOU DREAM A LOT?
To me working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a dream come true. But I realise, in some ways, I achieved this dream too easily. If I had worked outside and then earned my right to work with one of the country’s best filmmakers, maybe I’d realise his worth more. Right now, we are more like friends. We share a father-son bonding.
DID YOU, LIKE YOUR FATHER, MAKE FACES IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR AS A CHILD?
Oh, I did other stuff, like sing, dance and enact scenes from my grandfather’s films around the house. The conversation in the house always centres around films. Even if we’re discussing Osama Bin Laden, it somehow veers around to cinema.
YOU BELONG TO THE FIRST FAMILY IN FILMDOM.
I’m aware of the responsibility, but I don’t think about it all the time. If I did, I’d be bogged down and might go into a depression. I’m driven by my ambition to do my best possible. I’m the biggest fan of my grandfather (Raj Kapoor) and father (Rishi Kapoor). I have not seen that many of my great grandfather’s (Prithviraj Kapoor) films, though I’ve seen Awara, Mughal-e-Azam and Kal Aaj Aur Kal. I’ve a huge portrait of my grandfather in my bedroom. It’s a collage of his face from all of his films. It reminds me of where I come from and where I have to go.
DO YOU WANT TO GET TO WHERE RAJ SAAB REACHED?
I want to achieve all of what he did. That’s how ambitious I am. But my favourite actor is my dad. I loved him in Mera Naam Joker, Bobby, Prem Rog and Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai. He’s passionate about everything. Even when he’s on the computer, he’s constantly drumming out a tune. I wish I could do that. My dad and R D Burman were buddies. He has a great treasure-chest of musical anecdotes about RD.
YOU GREW UP IN A FILMY ENVIRONMENT.
Oh, I was allowed to be fully filmy. But we also had a normal routine of school and play. After school, my sister and I preferred to play with our friends, do our tuitions and homework, rather than go to my dad’s sets. I did my schooling in Bombay Scottish till class 10. Then I did two years of college, after which I went to the School Of Visual Arts in New York and the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute.
WE SEE A LOT OF RAJ KAPOOR IN YOU.
It isn’t intentional. I don’t copy either my father or grandfather. My grandfather did have a style, but my dad had no style at all. He blended into every character. Yes, I did use their scenes as references in Sawariya. When I see my dad gliding on stage in Karz, I cringe. I’m not even close to being a good dancer.
MANY EXPECTATIONS RIDING ON YOU.
It’s all hype. And I know it’ll die down soon. Of course, it does excite me to know people are looking forward to watching me. Even if I am liked in Sawariya, they’ll say everyone is good in a Bhansali creation anyway. So I’ll have to prove myself all over again in my next film.
FROM A PODGY TEENAGER TO THE SWAN-LIKE BEAUTY IN YOUR FIRST FILM, IT HAS BEEN QUITE A TRANSFORMATION.
The passion and intensity that Mr Bhansali infected Ranbir and me with have changed our lives forever. So I won’t call it a long journey. I’d like to call it a lifechanging roller-coaster ride. No newcomer could’ve hoped for a better launch.
ALTHOUGH, BHANSALI IS SUPPOSED TO BE A HARD TASKMASTER.
You know, I’m livid when I hear about how hard a taskmaster he is. My father (Anil Kapoor) is a perfectionist too. So I know what it is like to push yourself beyond the limit. Of course, Mr Bhansali pushed us beyond our limits. But he pushed himself the hardest. Today, after four years with him, I know he is a magician.
BHANSALI THINKS YOU’RE A MIXTURE OF WAHEEDA REHMAN AND REKHA.
I don’t know how to react to that. He is my third parent. He’s my guru. He naturally thinks his daughter is the best. Both the actors you mentioned are icons. Can I even be an atom of what they are?
WERE YOU ALWAYS KEEN ON BECOMING AN ACTOR?
I’ve never even been to the sets of my father’s films, except once when he was shooting with Salman. Since I’m a Salman fan, I wanted to meet him. And there he was without his teeshirt.
AND YOU ARE WITH SALMAN IN YOUR VERY FIRST FILM!
Can you believe it! I guess I’m born lucky. I was never denied anything. Just to cope with the growing-up demands of us three siblings was tough on our parents. We had a very normal upbringing. Hopefully, we’re all grounded individuals because we did all the normal things like eating and chatting at the dinner table, going on holidays together, etc.
WHAT ELSE INTERESTS YOU, OTHER THAN ACTING?
I love reading. When it comes to reading I suffer from an obsessive-compulsive disorder. My librarian says, ‘Baby, itna mat padho, chasma lag jayega’. I live in the world of imagination. I love to create images in my mind and to build screenplays in my head. I used to make my mom read bedtime stories. I was constantly living in la-la –land.
SO YOU ARE A BEAUTY WITH BRAINS.
Don’t know about the beauty or brains bit, but I crave to create. We lived in a very creative atmosphere. I loved watching Sridevi, Madhuri and Rani dance. I joined Kathak classes and learnt it for 12 years.
YOU ASSISTED BHANSALI IN BLACK?
That’s right. I was in Singapore for two years studying theatre. I studied all the expressionist artistes. The only name from Indian cinema that people mentioned in my drama school was that of Mr Bhansali. My teacher Jonathan Carter one day asked me if I had heard of him. I told him I had seen all his films at least 30 times each, and that I’d love to work with him.
YOU ALWAYS KNEW SOME DAY HE WOULD SIGN YOU AS AN ACTOR, DIDN’T YOU?
Nooooo! Out of the blue one day he called me over and asked, ‘Bachcha, would you like to act in my next film?’ I was 18, and had no acting aspirations at that point. I didn’t have that high an opinion of myself. I didn’t think I had star quality. He gave me the confidence. Do you remember how fat I was? I was a motu who didn’t even do her eyebrows. I knew he was serious when a few days later he met my father and offered the film. He groomed me, made me lose weight, told me to be alert and agile.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
'Expectations scare me'
"...says Sanjay Leela Bhansali whose Saawariya releases in the coming months with new faces, Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is excited that the theatrical trailers of Saawariya (released on Friday) have been well received. Here, he talks about the film and other things on his mind.
What have been the reaction to the trailer?
I’m overwhelmed! I’m now growing aware of how much people expect from Saawariya and just a one minute-30-second trailer has evoked tremendous reactions.
What are people to?
They’ve responded to the colours, costumes and music. People are analysing every shot and frame in the trailer. It makes me doubly aware of what people are expecting from Saawariya.
A record 1,450 copies of the Saawariya trailer were released on Friday!
It was a decision taken by the team at Sony Pictures. I don’t quite follow their marketing wizardry. But I do know they’re giving Saawariya a unique marketing spin. Since this is their first Bollywood production carrying that legendary Columbia-Tristar logo before my film starts, I was aware of the responsibility on my shoulder.
Lets talk about your leading pair.
I feel Sonam is a vintage combination of Waheeda Rehmanji and Rekhaji. She has that poetic quality. Ranbir brings the best of his grandfather Raj Kapoor and his father Rishi Kapoor in his personality.
Audiences of all ages have warmed up to the two of them, although they neither act nor dress like the average metrocentric pair, and we haven’t shown their faces in the trailer.
People are comparing the mood Saawariya to Raj Kapoor’s Awara, and Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge.
These are among my favourite filmmakers, people I’ve learnt the craft from and I think I’ve a long way to go before I reach their standards. If my work shows glimpses of these stalwarts then I feel somewhere I’ve succeeded in doing what I set out to achieve. Nevertheless the expectations scare me.
Why are you scared of expectations?
It’s a film with newcomers and a new music director, Monty Sharma. A large amount of hard work has gone into creating the correct music and performances. It doesn’t matter how many successful films I’ve done in the past. I’ll be judged afresh this time. I’m very humbled by the love they’ve shown to just 1 minute and 30 seconds of the film.
Blue seems to be the predominant colour of Saawariya?
Blue and green are the chosen colours of Saawariya. My brief to my cinematographer Ravi K Chandran was to give a surreal romantic interpretation to night-time. Most of the film is shot in the misty night light all created in the studio. Yes it’s got a lot of night-time romance to it.
By: Subhash K Jha
Saawariya: Synopsis and New Pics
It is the story of a shy dreamer, Raj (22 years old), who spent most of his time isolated in his apartment, creating riddles and finding answers to them, jabbering poetry or arguing with his foolish landlady Miss Disa, with whom he shared a love/hate relationship. Raj was loved by one and all, for he always brought happiness to the people around him.
Destiny plans a magical tale for Raj over the next four nights of his life that shall change his entire being
"Saawariya" is the story of a couple’s chance encounter and the advance of their parallel obsessions over four successive nights. An impromptu romance is initiated in a remote town in the serene beauty of picturesque Simla, a quaint hill station in Northern India that was once the summer capital of India under the British Raj, known for its lakes, mist, heavenly snowfall, rains and the tall swaying pine trees.
The bright, fun-filled winding streets of the mall come alive with singing clubs, rustic folklore, dancing, love ballads, flourishing colonies of artists and weavers, and chants from the monastery- all woven in perfect harmony into a magical dream.
It is here that the dreamer finds the 'lost' self in himself.