{mosimage}In our society evil sells, else how can we attribute the success of Dhoom and the flop of Swades? The movie in question here is Swades, and it doesn't need even a hare brain to figure out why Swades flopped. When big names like Shah Rukh Khan, AR Rahman come together under the aegis of Ashutosh Gowariker, a director whose previous movie was nominated for Best Foreign Film Category in Academy awards, people expected another Lagaan or a period drama. But Swades was a simple honest, straight from the heart story with noble intentions, so people couldn't stomach the docu-drama instead of hardcore entertainment. But whomever watched Swades leisurely, they loved it... including my father who don't watch movies at all.

Swades is bit long, moves ahead in its own pace but it just draws you inside the story just like the fire does with the fly. The protagonist Mohan Bhargava is every inch identifiable by whatever strata the audiences might belong to. It is not only Mohan Bhargava who command your attention but including the supporting characters, whether it is lovely Geeta, adorable Kaveriamma, or Mela Ram or tearful story of Haridas. If you are still puzzled who Mohan Bhargava, Geeta, Kaveriamma are, let me run the story short for you.

{mosimage}Mohan Bhargava (Sharukh Khan), a project Manager in NASA after an accomplished satellite launch, instead of being jubiliant feels the guilt of not taking care of his guardian Kaveriamma (Kishori Ballal). He comes to India to take Kaveriamma along with him, who currently stays with Geeta (Gayathri Joshi). Kaveriamma takes some time to decide and Mohan stays with her in their village. Mohan starts getting the feeling that he should do something for the village, teaches them to be self reliant. He realises that he has to payback to the society, roots he belong to.

The master stroke of the screenplay is Kaveriamma intentionally sending Mohan Bhargava all the way to Haridas's place to collect the lease amount. Even if you are bit sensitive, you'll feel like doing something to the society you live in. A haunting piece of screenplay. When Mohan is shown missing those people when he goes back to NASA, no wonder we too miss them and the drama is heightened by AR Rahman's touching background score.

{mosimage}Swades unabatedly portrays the ignorance and hypocracy that creeps stealthily into the simple lives of India's backbone - villages. When we realise that we are lagging behind the developed nations in technology, we conveniently take up civilisation and traditions to feel pride that we are THE best. But we practice the uncivilised acts like untouchability, caste discrimination without acknowledging them. Ashutosh Gowariker uses Mohan Bhargava as his mouth piece to say that developed western countries too have their pride of civilsations but we are self contented by living past.

If I think of Swades, the first shot that comes to my mind is the close up shot where a 70+ yr old lady sees the glowing bulb fo the first time exclaiming 'bijli' (electricty). Till date no other movie had been able to convey this emotion so dramatically. Next thing is the small boy who sells water for 25 paise per cup in the railway station, for whom Mohan bhargava discards his mineral water and buys the cup of water, who is instrumental in bringing a sea change in Mohan Bhargava's attitude.

KP Saxena's dialogue etches the NRI's disconnection with the homeland when it comes to troublesome times. Mohan Bhargava comments 'You Indians...', fo which Geetha explains that it is not the money which NRI's send back that matters, but local people's even small efforts at grass root levels value higher that millions of money.

The beauty of Swades is its reality. When Mohan Bhargava decides to payback for the society, he opts for a job in India unlike the heroisms of Bollywood & Kollywood, where hero is shown taking up social activity as fulltime but end up romancing the girls of half the age. Ashutosh brushes off the possibilities of making a dard-bhari-dukh-kahani (a painful story) of a village exploitted by leaders, but tries to ooze some positive thoughts through the normal characters. May be the Indian audiences couldn't digest all normal characters.

{mosimage}Mohan Bhargava slams at the Indian attitude which had learnt to live with the difficulties rather than trying to eradicate them. The statement 'Andhere mein bhi Raavan Khoobsurat dikhta hai..' (Raavana looks better in the darkness) by the elders and Mohan's further reactions and sequences of building a turbing generator for the village is an example of how we can be solve our problems rather than waiting for bureaucratic interventions. Ofcourse things can never be so easy or rosy like Mohan Bhargava constructing the turbine, but every journey starts with a small step.

Even though you can feel the slack in the screenplay during the middle part due to excessive melodrama, the end part just makes up for everything. The authentic locations of NASA just compounds the effect.

{mosimage}This is the finest ever performance of Shah Rukh Khan, who didn't bother about his superstar status to play a simple and noble soul of Mohan Bhargava. This actor is saddled with the likes of Raj & Rahul in every of his film limitting the scope of his performance range. Debutante Gayathri Joshi as Geetha is photogenic with a wide grin but hams at most of the places. Models make woody actors but the hardwork and efforts Gayathri had put efinitely shows on screen. Kaveriamma is simply loveable and is the soul of the movie. Old yet agile, sensitive yet sensible she is a delight to watch on screen. Ditto the child artiste as Chiku.

I love this movie a lot, so I don't want to write about its minus points. AR Rahman is at his best with traditional instruments like Shehnai, vocals and Dols taking the centre stage. My favourite background scores are when the kids show the way to Kaveriamma's house, those 'Aayo Re!' chorus and the enchanting shehnai piece at the instrumental version of 'Yeh Jo Des Hai mera..'. Mahesh Aame's camera work is simply mindblowing and natural.

Even though it had been years after Swades had been released, it looks relevant even today and might remain the same for coming years also ironically. Swades is a lesson for every Indian. It'll definitely persuade the audience to do something for the society.

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About myself
Author: MaheshwaranWebsite: https://www.maheshwaran.com
I am a SAP Consultant in my late 30s, residing in the happeing IT City - Bangalore. My interests vary from reading to travelling to handicrafts to photography. My latest interest is on Body building. May be this vivid interest keeps me going in my life without getting bored.