At 2 hours and 8 minutes playing-time Saawariya is one of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's shortest films ever. It's just a few minutes longer than the filmmaker's last film Black which was almost as long as Saawariya, but without any songs
Sanjay's second film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam had 10 songs and a playing-time of 3 hours. Saawariya with 8 songs is far shorter than the opulent and stunning Devdas which, with its mix of songs, dances and operatic drama ran into 3 hours and 10 minutes. Economy of expression defines the romance between Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor in Saawariya. From the time his eyes fall on the porcelain beauty Sonam (who exudes the subtle strength of Waheeda Rehman) 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. The 8 elaborate songs and dances in Saawariya 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.
The songs are used in Saawariya to propel the story forward. Every song tells a story. Monty Sharma's tunes and Sameer's lyrics create a structure akin to a raga, minus the casual informal mood of a classical performance.
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. The colour defines the spaces that separate and bring together lovers. But the mood after the film’s screening was anything but blue. It was unanimously felt that Sanjay Leela Bhansali's latest work takes him far ahead of his earlier films, puts him on a par with the world's most subtle and restrained masters.
Those who think all his films are about thundering passion, Saawariya is a bolt from the blue….in shades of blue.