Following the release of Black, Bhansali cast Kapoor as the protagonist of his 2007 tragic romance Saawariya, alongside Sonam Kapoor and Rani Mukerji. The film tells the story of a tramp, played by him, who falls obsessively in love with a woman awaiting the return of her lover. In an interview with the news and entertainment portal Rediff. com, Kapoor stated that his character was written as a tribute to his grandfather's iconic roles as a tramp. Saawariya was the first Indian film to be produced by a Hollywood studio (Sony Pictures Entertainment), and was a highly anticipated release. However, film critics were disappointed with the picture with BBC's Jaspreet Pandohar calling it a "misfire on a massive scale". CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand considered it "contrived and fake", but was impressed by Kapoor's "affable charm" and wrote that "he’s got that star quality to him which is so rare to find. " At the box office, Saawariya failed to earn profits. However, at the annual Filmfare Awards ceremony, Kapoor was awarded a Best Male Debut trophy.