Saturday, December 18, 2004

We, The People

Movie - Swades

Just got back after watching Swades, this time at PVR Classic Cinema. It was nice - but I had a tough time trying to avoid comparing it with Lagaan, Gowariker's first film. Both films had earthy tones set in villages, a pinch of team-spirit and issues within villages. However, Swades was different in a way that it had more of a documentary feel to it.

Swades - a story about an NRI who comes to India in search of his childhood nanny and ultimately rediscovers and returns to where he belongs. A simple quest that everyone of us goes through in search of that metaphysical and elusive place called "home". Having been an NRI for a good chunk of my life, I can relate to it. There are some moments that I share with Mohan Bhargav (the protagonist, played by Shah Rukh Khan).

The film is quite long. At 3.5 hours, there were times when I felt that some of the scenes could have been done away with. For example - the Ramleela song (which appears somewhat out of context) and a few others. I also felt that they could have reduced the scenes taken at NASA and instead, shown a little more on the kind of lifestyle that Mohan had in the United States. They do show him driving around in a Jaguar and living in a swanky apartment but could have elaborated a little more on that.

Swades does not come across as a commercial film. It is not as gripping and 'edge-of-the-seat' entertainer as Lagaan (sorry, but I just can't help comparing it with Lagaan). This film is meant for a thinking audience - a message to the Indian diaspora across the globe.

SRK does a good job although there were some of his trademark acts (as expected) thrown about in the film. Geeta, played by Gayatri Joshi is actually quite impressive. Some of her emotions came across really well on screen. Good work by a first timer. A.R. Rahman's score is nothing short of brilliant. The track 'Yeh jo des hain tera' with the shehnai backing infuses a kind of modern patriotism not heard since 'Maa tujhe salaam'.
Mitti ki jo khushboo, Tu kaise bhoolayegaa
Tu chaahe kahin jaaye, Tu Laut ke Aayegaa
All in all, a feel good film.


At 4:13 PM, Blogger Khushee said...

Yes, like I said on my blog, the movie is better enjoyed if it is not compared to Lagaan. I guess it might be hard not to compare it since there are a few similarities in the setting and what not. I quite liked the movie. SRK did a good job and the new girl was pretty :)

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, even if I forget the fact that this was the guy who made lagaan, there were moments in the scene especially when he talks about "atmanirbharta" and swabhiman,the whole thing seems a little out of tune coz it just does'nt fit.I enjoyed the "yeh jo des hain tera" thoroughly and it does kindle a feeling of "theres so much that can be done" and not just code in java or dotnet.

Btw idli when coming to chennai next??? 

Posted by saraansh

At 12:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


As you rightly said, it was sorta preachy and so not many people would actually enjoy it. However, I like the way Ashutosh beautifully reveals the several moments of epiphany..

For instance, in the beginning Mohan is portrayed as the Marlboro-smoking, 'mineral-water-drinking' NRI. But later, when he meets the boy at the railway station selling water for 25 paise, a visibly shaken Mohan takes a sip from that tumbler. He doesn’t care if it’s contaminated. This is his country.

Mohan is shown waking up from his caravan and also has his shower inside the caravan. In the course of the movie, Ashutosh shows him sleeping on the cot and enjoying his bath by the well. Some of the beautiful moments in the film.

Anyway, I'll be in Chennai this weekend. Plan up something for Saturday evening and we'll meet up.

Posted by adel


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