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Saawariya (2008)

Sony

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee.

Rating: PG.

Run time: 138 mins

Genre: Foreign.

Verdict: Bland (see rating system)

Saawariya (Beloved), the first Bollywood co-production for Sony/Columbia is a bit of a disappointment.

Despite an eyecatching fantasy (and mostly deserted) cityscape, some pleasant music and OK acting, this version of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky's short story White Nights plods dully along. A skilled editor could have easily whacked 30 minutes from the 138 minute running time.

The story focuses on Raj (Ranbir Kapoor), a young musician trying to make his name in a new town. While he catches the eye of the beautiful and wise prostitute Gulabji (Rani Mukherjee), she keeps him as a platonic friend. In any case, Raj is drawn to the mysterious young girl he encounters on a canal bridge in the rain. Sakina (Sonam Kapoor), goes there each night to wait for her lover Imaan (Salman Kahn), who promised to return for her a year before.

Infatuated with her innocence and beauty, Raj does all he can to persuade Sakina to forget Imaan, even secretly betraying her trust.

It's all handsomely staged, with the usual dazzling costumes and impressive sets. The music and singing is quite decent and though there's a healthy dose of overacting by all concerned, it doesn't grate. The movie's biggest sin is its dullness - it simply doesn't take flight.

Some annoying brief featurettes are included of the cast, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and others praising each other's alleged brilliance a la Hollywood's Oscars. Chill guys and gals - it's just a movie and not a classic at that.

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