Saaz is for the most part a wonderful film - simple, real and interesting. Sai Paranjape is a master of her craft - the film is excellent in writing, direction, acting and execution. The film relates the story of two loving sisters, Mansi and Bansi, the daughters of a village singer who is no more. Since childhood, both have had dreams of pursuing a career in music. But as they grow up, things change. Mansi, as the elder sister who is a lot like a mother to Bansi, in a sense has always felt threatened by Bansi's singing ability, and she gets her married to a man who turns out to be alcoholic and abusive. Her claim is that both should cherish their father's memory - Bansi by carrying on their family name, and Mansi -- by singing. Somehere between the lines the reader may get the impression that Mansi is one monster of a woman, but it's totally incorrect. She loves her sister and is of course loved and respected in return, but her ambition to make it to the top of the music world is stronger. The story follows their relationship, professional rivalry as Bansi becomes a singer as well, and towards the end centres more around Bansi's relationship with her daughter Kuhu, who also becomes a singer, and her affair with a young music director with whom her daughter also falls in love. Set in the musical backdrop of Hindi cinema's playback singing world, Saaz may seem to be based on the lives and careers of two musical legends, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, two of the greatest and most prolific singers in the world. That makes the film much more fascinating, and Paranjape might really have taken some inspiration from their life for the basic idea of the plot, but that's as far as it goes. There is not more than just a rivalry between two sisters, which could be portrayed in any film between any kind of sisters who work in the same profession. Moreover, the film actually centres more on the life and tribulations of the younger sister, Bansi. Technically the film is brilliant. The sets, the dialogues, the costumes and the characters are very simple as they should be in a family drama of this sort, and they successfully give the film a sense of everyday realism. The cinematography is fantastic. But how can a movie with music in its soul succeed without good music? The music in this film is stupendous. "Kya Tumne Hai Kaha", "Raat Dhalne Lagi", "Nindiya Hai Sapna Hai", "Baadal Ghumad Badh Aaye" are all wonderful songs, but I particularly liked the on-screen presentation of "Room Jhoom", which perfectly epitomises the rivalry between the sisters. The loving relationship between Mansi and Bansi is one of the best-portrayed sibling relationships that I have seen in a Hindi film. Every interaction, conversation, hug, kiss, argument is so aptly and genuinely displayed on-screen that they really seem to be sisters in real life. They deeply care for each other, they would actually give their life for each other if necessary, yet their desire to leave a greater mark as singers, their most fundamental identity, defeats them. That's what makes this film so real and moving. And what makes this relationship even more convincing is without a doubt the rapport between Aruna Irani and Shabana Azmi and their authentic performances. The film belongs to Shabana as she is the main protagonist, and she unsurprisingly shines. But I was more interested to see Aruna Irani. An actress who has often been given not more than typical mother roles those years (with the exception of Beta, 1992), here, given a great role of substance, she excels with her natural acting. Additionally, one must note that many actors and actresses can learn from Azmi and Irani how to lip-sync convincingly. They look as if they were performing the songs themselves. Apart from the songs, I liked many moments in Saaz, my favourite being the scene in which the sisters reunite for the first time after not talking to each other for ten long years. The subsequent song number and scenes were very moving. That was according to me the perfect timing to bring the film to its end, but unfortunately it did not happen. That brings me to the next point: Saaz was not uniformly great and had its share of flaws. I did not like the turn the movie took with a new rivalry restarting (now between Bansi and her daughter), and the film's last 40 minutes (post an incident of which you will know when you see the movie) could have been easily avoided. I also disliked the many romantic relationships Bansi was given. These were according to me unnecessary sub-plots in a film which was far more interesting as a portrayal of the complex relationship between two sisters. Bansi's affair with the young musician Himen Desai particularly annoyed me, as did his stupid character which made me wonder how both a mother and her daughter could fall for. Anyway, the film does repair in the final scenes and we get a nice ending. Saaz is definitely a good film. I would change some things in it, but it's still a worthy picture.
Drama / Musical
Drama / Musical
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Mansi and Bansi come to Mumbai after the death of their parents. All they have as a legacy is a love for music instilled in them by their father Vrindavan, and their divine voices. After ...
October 28, 2020