At two hours and eight minutes of playing time Saawariya is one of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's shortest films ever. His last work, Black, was just a few minutes longer but had no songs.
Bhansali's second film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam had 10 songs and a playing time of three hours.
Saawariya, with eight songs, is far shorter than the opulent and stunning Devdas which ran into three hours and 10 minutes with a mix of songs, dances and operatic drama.
Economy of expression defines the romance between Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor in the much-awaited film. From the time his eyes fall on Sonam, Ranbir celebrates his love in ecstatically composed and choreographed numbers that create a waltz of a thousand steps with just gestures and whispers.
Saawariya is Sanjay's subtlest, most quiet and mellow film to date. While almost every sequence in Devdas and Black culminated in an operatic crescendo, the shot compositions in Saawariya suggest a symphony rather than an opera. <b1>
The eight elaborate songs and dances in the musical love story take up quite a chunk of the film's precious playing time. What remains between the two people in love are those unspoken words and unshed tears of a relationship that knows no full stop.
Songs have been used to propel the story forward in Saawariya and every song tells a tale. Monty Sharma's tunes and Sameer's lyrics create a structure akin to a raga.
Saawariya is a formally structured romance with the episodes between the protagonists moving forward in power-packed pirouettes of passion.
The presiding colour of Saawariya is blue, which defines the spaces that separate and bring the lovers together. But the mood after the film's first screening was anything but blue.
It was unanimously felt that Bhansali's latest work takes him far ahead of his earlier films. For those who think all his films are about thundering passion, Saawariya is a bolt from the blue.