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August 18, 2005

Swades.

I believe It's hard to make a movie without glitches and Swades is no exception but when you leave the theatre (or in my case, switch off the TV at 12 in the night) with a tiny lump in your throat and a general feeling of goodness and wistfulness, I guess that means that the director has delivered his goods well.

Swades - a movie targeted at the NRI crowd, or so they claim, but is Indian all the way. I assumed Swades would be a movie about your typical NRI who would return back for reasons that are likely to present themselves in your life and mine but this movie is not that applicable to your typical NRI. SRK returns to a village back in India where even electricity is not a given, where the village post office master does not know what "Internet" is, where privacy is valued less and there are hardly any strangers and what is predominant is a general naivete that we associate with village life.

But, mixed with all this ignorance is the feeling of being in India; Ashutosh Gowarikar does a good job of capturing the simple beauty of village life - innocence, small pleasures of life, little kids running behind buses, a general feeling of communion if you will...intangibilities that remind us of home, subtle and intense at the same time...

SRK is charming and cute, your regular NRI return ;) that any girl can go ga-ga over and Gayatri Joshi has done justice to her role, underplaying it but leaving behind an impression - a mischievous smile, a controlled but passionate speech, sadness and love - she is comfortable with herself and her gestures are realistic and adorable. The scenes with SRK and Gayatri Joshi - the school scene where she asks him to name the five major rivers in India and he awkwardly mumbles the wrong answers, when he does his little piroutte after she turns down a prospective groom - made me smile. Kishori Ballal as Kaveri amma is perfect - genial, motherly, wise and almost angelic.

The songs are definitely hummable (A.R.Rahman) and the title song (especially when seen and heard on Independence Day :) ) does it's job :) - the scenes and the melody leave behind a touch of melancholy and nostalgia...

16 comments:

kamal said...

amen.

IBH said...

wonderful review!I am in a Swades mood already and here u are reviewing Swades ;(

Anoop Sundaram said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anoop Sundaram said...

I simply loved the movie for the way it was taken and for Rahman/Shahrukh.... did u guys know tht it was a lil bit inspired by this real story?

Anonymous said...

Hey RS..
U know one thing..I saw Swades yesterday and wonderful movie...it was long time on my list but was able ot see it only yesterday..Nice review by the way..I like the short stories blog more...y dont u write more on that
Kavya

Ram said...

a honest film and probably the best of shahrukh, the article behind the link provided by Anoop was really interesting..

RS said...

kamal: Think you heard the "Jo Mann se Ravan nikale, uske mann me Ram he" song 22000 times :)

ibh: Aren't we in a kind of lingering swades mood always :) ?

anoop: quite an interesting story there and no, I didn't know it was based on a true story!

kavya: will write one...the thing is that needs more effort than writing here :)

ram: yes and since you are talking to a very loyal SRK fan, double yes!

A. Noname Moose said...

a village back in India where even electricity is not a given

But where makeup of the right color/tone/texture/make/model flows in copious enough amounts to paint the said NRI's firebrand, idealist lady-friend into a dancing-singing mannequin with flawless skin. (Look at that second picture and say it isn't so). I know who will star as the female lead when I get around to making my Indian movie. :P

... SRK fan ...
Are there any MEN in here that don't think SRK is an over-glorified epileptic, speech-challanged chimpanzee? :-D

/me takes off funny-man hat.

On a more serious note, an interesting पौराणिक (paurANik) tidbit: It is said when लक्ष्मण (lakshmaNa) lays his eyes on the golden-resplendent लंका (lanka) for the first time, he dismisses it thus: "जननी जन्मभुमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी" (jananI janmabhUmisca swargAdapi garIyasI). Meaning "Mother and motherland are better/greater than heaven". I love India for what it is, and I will probably return one day - just because I believe it is my duty to do so. But, strangely enough, I have yet to feel the longing that so many of you talk about... Sometimes, I wonder if I'm a faithless, unfeeling traitor.

With all the hype this movie seems to be getting, I think I know what I'll be doing this evening. Thanks for the review, Ms.

Rohan Kumar said...

Swades was easily one of the best movies I watched on my one month vacation back in India this december. I really felt bad that such a movie could not be appreciated by the people in India. They told me I liked the movie because I was just coming back from States but I could not help but feel sorry for all those who couldnt appreciate the moral and lessons taught by a movie that was so truly Indian. The train sequence in which SRK buys water while abondoning his Bisleri and sybolically embracing India is one of the best ever in a Bollywood flick, beatifully underplayed with no preachy speeches but still touching.

Jinguchakka said...

True, a good movie. But it was a flop in India! Maybe because of lack of an item number!! :-)

RS said...

ANM: Hmm...I think we need a human being to act - with all their flaws and airs...something about their imperfections that makes bollywood what it is :)

Duty to return back? I wonder...there are many who live back in India who fail in their duties even while living there and there are many who live here who do more than what their duty demands...so, can't make any generalizations either way, I want to return back some day not because it's my duty but because I want to, for my own selfish reasons, nothing noble about it :)

Rohan: Yes, I did like that scene...I think the movie made a whole bunch of money outside of India though...

jinguchakka: I doubt that is the reason :))

RS said...

ANM: also reg the SRK comment,

"How dare you?!" :))

Ram said...

RS- i think u r wrong. the target audience is definitely the NRIs. am not surprised that the movie was a flop in india but was a sooper dooper hit in the US of A! the movie doesnt ask u to return to india...no. it asks u to do as much as u can for ur motherland. if u return, that's the best u can do to ur land. returning for selfish reasons? i dont think that counts :P.

ANM- Shah Rukh is the best actor in Bollywood as of today(if u dont include Mumbai xpress, chachi 420, etc. ;)) and he looks the cutest and am a MAN!

Sriram C S said...

there are many who live back in India who fail in their duties even while living there and there are many who live here who do more than what their duty demands Very true!

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RS said...

To minimal ego: I dont disagree, I guess :)

To agnibarathi: Indeed :)

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