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Swades – We, the people August 13, 2006

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.

Another movie which I can’t stop raving about. It makes me very sad that this didn’t even get a quarter of the due it actually deserves.

The story about an NRI coming back home and doing good things is probably quite dated and must have been seen many time over. But that’s where everyone made a mistake about Swades….this had 3 things which others didn’t….Ashutosh Gowariker, Shahrukh Khan and A.R. Rahman and thats what made all the difference. The beauty about Swades is that it is simplistic to the core and hence very believable unlike others in the same genre. People have complained of it being very slow and preachy…..hell..this wasn’t supposed to be a thriller and btw it wasn’t even half as preachy as Rang De Basanti.

There are some sequences in the movie which stay back with you and haunt you long after it is over….especially the complete sequence of SRK taking different means of transport to collect money from a hapless farmer…the train scene when the kid sells him a glass of water and the very poigant and inspiring scene when he is travelling back on a boat and has a sense of realisation of what he has to do all accentuated by Rahman’s awesome background score. Another one to relish is the dam building sequence…I’d give complete credit to Rahman for this one…simply awesome.

To tell you the truth, I had a very uneasy feelings of guilt inside me once I finished watching this movie and I had this for quite a few days until I slowly forgot about it. And everytime I watch this…it gets back to me. I live in a completely different world worrying about silly things like having a job or not….completely ignorant about millions of other people who struggle to survive every moment. Probably the only thing I am able to do is to feel helpless about the whole thing 😦

Coming to the crew, this was Ashutosh Gowariker’s next after Lagaan and all I can say is that he has simply outdone himself. As for SRK, you should watch this one to believe why he is King Khan. I’ve already said enough about Rahman…..easily among his best scores – music as well as the background.

I think everyone should watch this with an unbiased mind without being fooled by the likes of Taran Adarsh and come to their own conclusion.

Tailpiece: What hurts me most about Swades’ debacle is that during the same time Yashraj and Co made a piece of shit called Veer-Zaara with SRK (at his worst) which went on to become a blockbuster


1. Sai - August 15, 2006

You’ve already said most of what I wanted to say. Slow and preachy were the two major complaints by the audience. I did not find a boring moment in the whole movie. It was an excellent screenplay. In fact I saw this movie again as soon as I finished watching it the first time. And this movie wasn’t at all preachy in my opinion. A movie is preachy when there is one viewpoint put forward. This movie always showed both sides of the coin and therefore could not be called preachy. The scenes were always more of a discussion. The other thing I found is that some of the NRI audience felt that the director was pointing fingers at them, accusing them of not doing anything for the country or asking them to come back and so on. This was definitely not the case. (I remember an old telugu proverb – Gummadikayala Donga Bhujalu Tadumukuntam).

Ashutosh Gowariker outdoes himself with this movie compared to Lagaan. Lagaan, however good it may be was a formulaic commercial film. I don’t know why people feel that this was very unconventional. It was very good with an excellent screenplay but it was a conventional story (not on the Indian screen maybe) with all required commercial elements/emotions/drama in an unconventional setting told very well. I also felt the Ashutosh was able to capture the village setting very well with Swades. I could feel the ambience while watching the movie and this is not something that is common to Bollywood movies.

The background score as well as the soundtrack by A R Rahman are equally excellent. I’ve seen the scene where Mohan and Geeta meet hundreds of times. The background piece here is one of my favorites.

The casting in this movie is close to perfect. From Mohan (Shahrukh Khan) to Geeta (Gayatri Joshi) to Kaveri Amma (Kishori Balal) everyone seems apt for their part and their performances.

Shahrukh’s performance was excellent (he almost won the National Award for this one) but some people are still blind to the fact. It has become a fashion to like Aamir and despise Shahrukh (people seemed to be able to bear Aamir’s so-called cute smile through the first ten years of his career, when he acted in almost the same role in every movie. This was the time when Shahrukh Khan risked his career with anti-hero roles. Of course he later chose to do similar roles which the commoners lapped up with delight and the intelligent ones criticized. After doing the same role for over ten years, Aamir changes his path and starts doing different roles and people think he is the most intelligent actor around. I do not believe that Aamir is a bad actor but he definitely is overrated sometimes). People believe that they look intelligent when they praise Aamir and denounce Shahrukh (and when they blindly say Aamir is better than Kamal Haasan and Mohanlal, their intelligence or the lack of it is there for everyone to see). However, when these people cannot appreciate this performance, it is really sad. No matter how blind people can get, no one can take away from Shahrukh’s performance.

I might have gone slightly overboard here but that is the kind of love I have for this movie. You don’t need to have an inch of patriotism to see this movie and enjoy it and even get affected by it. This is one movie that sadly did not get its due.

2. Shujath - August 15, 2006

“People believe that they look intelligent when they praise Aamir and denounce Shahrukh”….that’s so very true. Aamir definitely is an excellent actor, but it is really stupid when people put him on a much higher pedestal than anyone else.

3. Nimish - August 22, 2006

The best part of the movie was when our scientist gave gyan to the villagers about why india was behind(on the eve of dushera).Not only the government but also us, each one of us are respomsible for developing our country.

I could find one loop hole in the movie- no village in india is so clean!!! Well.. i really liked Gaytri Joshi in the movie. Actually i have gone nuts about her. In total one of my all time favourite movie( and very few movies impress me)

4. asian naomiblog - December 20, 2007

Amazing writing! Maria

5. Mohsin - November 4, 2008

Excellent argument Sai..

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