In his memoirs, Rishi Kapoor has grumbled about Sanay Leela Bhansali being tightlipped about the content of Saawariya starring Ranbir Kapoor. I don’t know about Rishiji, but I was allowed to see parts of Saawariya long before its release.
I was mesmerized. I was also allowed to watch the film’s shooting in Karjat once when SLB was shooting the song Haan meri jaan ho tum. Ranbir was getting all his cues right in one take while Sonam was having difficulties with her shots. The song took the whole day to shoot. But what struck me was Ranbir’s self-confidence. He knew what to do and did it right in the first take.
His anxious father would ask about his son. “I heard you attended the shooting today, what was Ranbir like?” or “I believe he was with you and Bhansali. Did you speak to him?”
When the film was completed Rishi refused to watch it before the premiere night. I was the first to watch it and Ranbir’s mom Neetu was with me, She had forgotten her glasses at home, so she literally read the screen standing inches away from it to be able to see the film.
After the film Rishiji asked., “How was my son?” I told him he was a star.
“Haan tu toh aisa bolega hi.Bhansali ka dost hai, aur mera bhi,” Rishi shot back.
We met again at the film’s premiere and Rishiji looked uncertain about the film. Saawariya was uncharted territory. And so not easy to slot. Today in hindsight it appears to be a film well ahead of its time.