Saawariya, the first Bollywood film co-produced and distributed by a major Hollywood studio, has opened in 85 theatres in the US and Canada, with press reviews calling it a visually enchanting extravaganza.
The New York Times led its movie reviews section Friday with Saawariya, produced in collaboration between acclaimed director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Sony Pictures Entertainment. <b1>
"Eye and ear candy for fans of Indian musical cinema, it is 2 hours 11 minutes - bracingly compact by Bollywood standards - of wide-screen close-ups, fanciful sets, colorful costumes, bellybuttons, almost-kisses and 10 pumped-up, achingly sweet songs," writes A.O. Scott, the Times' well-regarded film critic.
In conclusion, Scott finds the film, released here Friday and starring newcomers Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor "visually enchanting, cloyingly sweet, at once utterly chaste and insanely erotic, and finally exhausting".
Scott also notes that the film is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested) for "exposed bellybuttons and mild sexual innuendo".
The rating itself, however, shows Sony's professionalism, a lesson for Bollywood that rarely bothers to get an official rating in the US.
The Los Angeles Times headlines its review of Saawariya as "Bollywood grace--in a crazy way". Its reviewer finds the film "typically outsized extravaganza - sure to drop your jaw with its ravishment or trigger a seizure, depending on your design temperament".
The reviewer, however, concedes: "Bhansali's operatic style -- an ocean of close-ups, gliding camera moves and color saturation -- achieves its own kind of crazy grace."
LA Times is also scheduled to run a feature story on the film Sunday, according to the film's US publicist.
New York Post review titled "Bollywood flick, Hollywood folly", asks, "How can it be that a movie as beautiful to look at as 'Saawariya' is so ... boring?"
The reviewer blames Hollywood, "which has an annoying habit of sucking the life out of material".
The film, the review says, is yet another example of Hollywood trying to please everybody and, as a result, pleasing nobody.