Posted by Praveen


Swades....& the mind of the Indian audience...we the people
"Hesitation to act because the whole vision might not be achieved, or because others do not yet share it, is an attitude that only hinders progress."- Swades directed by Ashutosh Gowariker starts off with this quote from Mahatma Gandhi. By making Swades, Gowariker was actually caarying out the idea contained in this quote. He didn't hesitate to make a film on an untouched subject, that too one which is absent of all the commercial flavours. A film so true to heart and which truly deserves the title 'film which smells of our soil'. The soil need not be Indian...beacause this is a film which brings the same feelings of love for motherland to whichever country's native...be it India, China, Russia or any other country.
But the irony is that we Indians didn't like it. And why? Because it didn't have the usual tearjerking mellodramas, the necessary skin show(which is the USP of some of the superhits last year) & most of all, what is a patriotic film without some Pak-bashing dialogues, anti-USA comments or some of the usual stuff these kind of films are made of. We Indians are so programmed to resist change...we still like Mahesh Bhatt's Hollywood inspired(blatantly copied) movies, Anu Malik's copied & yet repetitive tunes, Yashraj family dramas, the usual boy meet girl dramas...whatever work which treads a different path from these are rejected by the audience(barring a few exceptions).
So what was Swades all about? Swades is a story of a NASA scientist, Mohan Bhargava (Shahrukh Khan), who comes to Charanpur, a small village in India in search of Kaveriamma (Kishori Ballal), the woman who took care of him as a child. His mind is touched by the plight of the villagers in rural India. They lack basic amenities & to top it is the caste system and related problems. This is not a made up story. It shows the true picture of a contemporary rural Indian village. The landlords in these villages frame their own laws & the villagers abide by it.
Swades can take credit for two of the most touching moments ever in the history of Indian cinema. One is when Mohan sits in the train sipping his mineral water bottle, when a boy selling water comes to him. The film is unmissable for this single scene itself...so touching & a strange feeling, never experinced before, came to me when I watched that scene. The second is when Mohan brings electricity to the village. An old woman faintly utters the word ‘bijli’ as a light bulb brightens her face, which symbolised the state of rural India today.
When Swades was released, the so-called eminent critics competed with each other to tell us through the channels how bad the movie really is, how long it is & how preachy it is. These are the same guys who hail the repetitive skin flicks as all-time classics. The music channels also didn't give the due importance to A.R.Rahman's soulful tunes, instead preferring, blatantly copied & rehashed songs.
Swades was but loved by a section of the audience, for whom this was a whiff of fresh air amidst all those melodramas. We have to promote these kind of movies if Indian film industry is to rise up from the depths to which it has fallen in the last decade or so. As long as there are directors like Gowariker, Mani Ratnam, Shyam Benegal etc. in our industry, we can hope for a better tomorrow, when the Indian audience will flock to the theatres to see socially relevant films, as a result of which other directors will also be forced to follow suit.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2005 at Wednesday, July 06, 2005 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 comments

Very true... The movie had some great scenes which seemed like untouched and authentic. Also, I'd like to mention, the scene where Mohan goes back to USA. Geeta is waiting for him in the outskirts of the village. She gives him a small yet invaluable gift - the little things that represent our nation. So true... Ashotosh did a great job in directing the movie.

Yet there are some problems with the song "Yeh jo des hai tera." I was expecting much more exemplified and emotional situation here. Also, one of the most beautifully composed song - "Aahista Aahista" was deleted.

Overall, the movie was excellent and conveys the central idea. Awesome job Aashutosh !!!!!!

Neil Panchal

7:42 AM

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