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Swades: We, the People
Swades poster.jpg
Directed byAshutosh Gowariker
Written byStory:
Ashutosh Gowariker
K. P. Saxena
Screenplay byAshutosh Gowariker
Ayan Mukerji
Produced byAshutosh Gowariker
StarringShah Rukh Khan
Gayatri Joshi
Kishori Ballal
CinematographyMahesh Aney
Edited byBallu Saluja
Music byA. R. Rahman
Ashutosh Gowariker Productions
Distributed byUTV Motion Pictures
Release date
  • 17 December 2004 (2004-12-17)
Running time
195 minutes
Budget25 crore (US$3.5 million)[1]
Box office34.2 crore (US$4.8 million)[2][3]

Swades (transl.Homeland) is a 2004 Indian Hindi-language drama film written, produced and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker.[4] The film stars Shahrukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Ballal in leading roles, with Daya Shankar Pandey, Rajesh Vivek, Lekh Tandon appearing in supporting role and Makrand Deshpande in a special appearance. The film was considered ahead of its time, and received universal critical acclaim at its release. It is now considered a cult classic of Hindi cinema. Shah Rukh Khan's performance in the movie is regarded as among one of his best.[5][6]

The film was reported to be inspired by two episodes of the series titled Vaapsi on Zee TV’s Yule Love stories (1993–95) which had Gowariker in the lead.[7] The story of the lead role setting up a micro hydroelectric project to generate electricity was reported to be inspired by the Kannada novel Chigurida Kanasu by K. Shivaram Karanth[8][9][10] and Bapu Kuti by Rajni Bakshi.[11]

The music and background score was composed by A. R. Rahman, with lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar. The film was theatrically released on December 17, 2004, and it opened to rave reviews from critics praising the performance of Khan, plot, screenplay, and music. It was dubbed in Tamil as Desam and released on January 26, 2005, coinciding with Republic Day. The film is owned by Red Chillies Entertainment[12]


Mohan Bhargava is an Indian who works as a Project Manager on the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) program at NASA in the United States. Mohan came to America for college Studies and kept on living there after his parents in India died in an accident. He keeps worrying about Kaveri Amma, a nanny at his home in Uttar Pradesh who looked after him during his childhood days. After his parents' death, Kaveri Amma went to live in an old age home in Delhi and eventually lost contact with Mohan. Mohan wishes to go to India and bring Kaveri Amma back with him to the US. Due to the recent success of Phase I of his project, he takes a few weeks off and travels to India. He goes to the old age home but learns that Kaveri Amma no longer lives there and went to a village named Charanpur a year ago. Mohan then decides to travel to Charanpur, in Uttar Pradesh.

Mohan decides to rent a recreational vehicle to reach the village fearing that he might not get the required facilities there. Upon reaching Charanpur, he meets Kaveri Amma and learns how his childhood friend Gita, who after her parents died, brought Kaveri Amma to stay with her. Gita runs a school in Charanpur and works hard to improve the living conditions of the villagers through education. However, the village is divided largely by caste and religious beliefs. Gita does not like Mohan's arrival as she thinks that he will take Kaveri Amma back with him to the US, leaving her and her younger brother Chikku alone. Kaveri Amma tells Mohan that she needs to get Gita married first and that it is her responsibility. Gita believes in women empowerment and gender equality. This attracts Mohan towards Gita and he too tries to help her by campaigning for education among backward communities and also girls.

Slowly love blossoms between Mohan and Gita. Kaveri Amma asks Mohan to visit a nearby village named Kodi, and collect money from a man named Haridas who owes it to Gita. The story gives a journey to Mohan very similar to what happened to Mahatma Gandhi after he came back from South Africa. Mohan visits Kodi and feels pity seeing Haridas' poor condition, which is such that he is unable to provide his family with meals every day. Haridas tells Mohan that since his caste profession of a weaver wasn't earning him any money, he shifted to tenant farming. But this change in profession led to his ostracization from the village and the villagers even denied him water for his crops. Mohan understands the pathetic situation and realises that many villages in India are still like Kodi. He returns to Charanpur with a heavy heart and decides to do something for the welfare of Charanpur.

Mohan extends his leave by three more weeks. He learns that electricity inconsistency and frequent power cuts are a big problem in Charanpur. He decides to set up a small hydroelectric power generation facility from a nearby water source. Mohan purchases all the equipment needed from his own funds and oversees the building of the power generation unit. The unit works and the village gets sufficient, consistent power from it.

However, Mohan is repeatedly called by NASA officials as the GPM project he was working on is reaching important stages and he has to return to the US soon. Kaveri Amma tells him that she prefers to stay in Charanpur as it will be difficult for her to adapt to a new country at her age. Gita also tells him that she will not settle down in another country and she would prefer it if Mohan stayed in India with her. Mohan returns to the US with a heavy heart to complete the project. However, in the US, he has flashbacks of his time in India and wishes to return. After the successful completion of his project, he leaves the US and returns to India with intentions of working at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, from where he can also work with NASA. The film ends by showing Mohan staying in the village and wrestling near a temple.




Swades is inspired by the story of Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi, the NRI couple who returned to India and developed a pedal power generator to light remote, off-the-grid village schools.[13][14][15] Gowariker spent considerable time with Aravinda and Ravi, both dedicated Association for India's Development (AID) volunteers. He supposedly visited Bilgaon, an Adivasi village in the Narmada valley, which is the backdrop of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) movement. The people of Bilgaon are credited with doing 200 person-days of shramdaan (community service) to make their village energy self-sufficient. The Bilgaon project is recognised as a model for replication by the Government of Maharashtra.[citation needed]


Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson, Tushar Gandhi, noted the theme of Gandhism in the film.[16] The name of the main character portrayed by Shahrukh Khan is Mohan, which was Mahatma Gandhi's birth name (Mohandas or "Mohan"). The film opens with the quotation:

Hesitating 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.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Gowariker tries to address the lack of scientific temperament and widespread ignorance among the rural folks through the energetic number "Ye Tara Wo Tara", where Mohan is seen encouraging the children to experience the fascinating world of stars through his telescope. In a symbolic manner, the song rejects the defunct divisions of caste and class and at the same time, through its protagonist, tries to instill in the audience an appreciation of curiosity and observation.

Casting and filming[edit]

Panorama of Menawali, the village in Maharashtra where Swades was shot

The role of Mohan was first offered to Hrithik Roshan, who refused after reading the script.[17] Gowariker then offered the role to Shahrukh Khan. Bhanu Athaiya, an Oscar winner for Gandhi, was the costume designer for the film.

Swades was the first Indian film to be shot inside the NASA headquarters and inside the NASA research center at the Launch Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.[18][19] The rainfall monitoring satellite known as the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) in the film is an actual NASA mission and was launched in 2014.[20][21][22] A major part of the film was shot in Menawali, Maharashtra.[23][24]


Critical reception[edit]

The film received overwhelmingly strong acclaim. Swades went on to become a cult classic and Khan's performance as Mohan Bhargava is considered one of his best to date.[25]

Subhash K. Jha of Indiatimes Movies gave the film 4.5 stars out of 5 and said, "Swades is a unique experiment with grassroots realism. It is so politically correct in its propagandist message that initially you wonder if the Government of India funded the director's dream."

Mayank Shekhar from MiD DAY gave it 4 stars, stating, "I cannot think of a better film for the longest that deserved a stronger recommendation for both touring cinemas of India's villages, and plush multiplexes of Mumbai or Manhattan." Jitesh Pillai of the Sunday Times of India gave the film 4 stars and said "After Lagaan, what? The answer's blowing in the wind. Swades. Here's the verdict: This is a gutsy and outstanding film. Welcome back to real, solid film-making." He added, "Swades is undoubtedly the No. 1 movie of the year."

Shradha Sukumaran of Mid-Day gave it 3.5 stars and said, "At the end of it, Swades is a far braver film than Lagaan. It could have hit the high note — if it hadn't tried so hard."

Avijit Ghosh wrote in The Telegraph, "With its gentle humour, the film acts as an entertaining vehicle for social change. And hopefully, it will do more for positive nationalism than the Union government's Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) ads ever will."[26]

The film was reported to be inspired by two episodes of the series titled Vaapsi on Zee TV’s Yule Love stories (1993–95).[7] The story of the lead role setting up a micro hydro electric project to generate electricity was reported to be inspired by the Kannada novel Chigurida Kanasu by K. Shivaram Karanth[8][9][10] and Bapu Kuti by Rajni Bakshi.[11]

Box office[edit]

Swades earned 152.5 million (US$2.1 million) net box office in India.[2] In the overseas market, the film made $2,790,000.[27] It had a lifetime worldwide gross of 342.6 million (US$4.8 million). The film topped the Chennai box office on its opening weekend.[28] The movie was declared a blockbuster domestically and an all-time blockbuster overseas, earning ₹34.26 crore worldwide on a budget of ₹21 crore.[citation needed] It is still regarded as one of the greatest movies of Indian Cinema.


The background score and soundtrack received universal critical acclaim, especially "Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera" and songs from the soundtrack remain popular. The song "Dekho Naa" is a modified version of the song "Kichchu Tha" from the film, Baba (2002).

Soundtrack album by
Released10 November 2004
RecordedPanchathan Record Inn
GenreFeature film soundtrack
ProducerA. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology
New (film)
Kisna: The Warrior Poet
Professional ratings
Review scores
Planet Bollywood9/10 stars link

All lyrics are written by Javed Akhtar; all music is composed by A. R. Rahman.

1."Yeh Taara Woh Taara"Udit Narayan, Master Vignesh, Baby Pooja7:13
2."Saanwariya Saanwariya"Alka Yagnik5:17
3."Yun Hi Chala Chala"Udit Narayan, Kailash Kher, Hariharan7:28
4."Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera[29]"A. R. Rahman6:28
5."Aahista Aahista"Udit Narayan, Sadhana Sargam6:35
6."Pal Pal Hai Bhaari"Madhushree, Vijay Prakash6:50
7."Dekho Na"Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan5:46
8."Pal Pal Hai Bhaari" (Flute)Naveen3:38
9."Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera" (Shehnai)Madhukar Dhumal4:00

On 27 March 2021, members of United States Navy Band sang Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera for Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the Ambassador of India to the United States and United States Navy Chief of Naval Operations at a special dinner event.[30] The video of the band members singing surfaced on Twitter and received praise and nostalgia from Shah Rukh Khan, A. R. Rahman and netizens alike.[31][32]

Tamil version[edit]

The Tamil soundtrack under the title Desam[33] was composed by A.R. Rahman. All Lyrics were written by Vaali. According to the Indian trade website Box Office India, with around 13,00,000 units sold, this film's soundtrack album was the eleventh highest-selling of the year.[34]

Title Singer(s) Length
"Thirukona Moolam" S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Master Vignesh, Baby Pooja 7:13
"Kaaviriya Kaaviriya" Madhushree, Alka Yagnik (humming) 5:17
"Unnai Kelai" T. L. Maharajan, Hariharan 7:28
"Unthan Desathin Kural" A. R. Rahman 6:28
"Thai Sonna" K.J. Yesudas, Madhushree 6:35
"Mazhai Mega Vanna" K. S. Chithra, Srinivas 6:50
"Kettenaa Naan" Mohammed Aslam, Sadhana Sargam 5:46
"Unthan Desathin Kural" (Shehnai) Madhukar T. Dhumal 4:00


National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards
Global Indian Film Awards
Zee Cine Awards
  • Best Female Debut - Gayatri Joshi[37]
  • Best Sound Re-recording - Hitendra Ghosh
  • Best Story - Ashutosh Gowariker
  • Best Director (Critics) - Ashutosh Gowariker
Star Screen Awards
Stardust Awards
Bollywood Movie Awards
  • Best Debut Female - Gayatri Joshi
Film Café Awards
  • Best Actor - Shahrukh Khan[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Box Office: Crash of the big 'uns". Filmfare. January 2001. Archived from the original on 1 March 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b Boxofficeindia.com. Web.archive.org (2013-10-14). Retrieved on 2015-03-30.
  3. ^ Boxofficeindia.com. Web.archive.org (2013-09-26). Retrieved on 2015-03-30.
  4. ^ "Meet Aravinda and Ravi, The Inspiration Behind Shahrukh Khan's Movie 'Swades'". indiatimes.com. 17 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Lost in Translation - Part 1/2". Filmfare. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  6. ^ Deepak Mahaan (4 August 2011). "Arts / Cinema : Intoxicated with second love!". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b https://www.bobbytalkscinema.com/recentpost/the-inspirations-behind-swades-1617
  8. ^ a b https://m.timesofindia.com/entertainment/kannada/movies/photo-features/top-ten-kannada-films-to-have-been-remade/photostory/27975966.cms
  9. ^ a b https://www.vogue.in/news/content/best-south-indian-movie-remakes-bollywood-movies-shah-rukh-khan-rani-mukerji-salman-khan
  10. ^ a b "Can't thank Ashutosh Gowariker enough for Swades: Shah Rukh Khan", Indian Express, 17 December 2016 – via PTI
  11. ^ a b https://moifightclub.com/2009/10/22/bet-you-didnt-know-the-real-story-behind-swades/
  12. ^ "Red Chillies Entertainments". www.redchillies.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  13. ^ "The Real Swadesis: Aravinda and Ravi". Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  14. ^ "Bilgaon Village: From Darkness to Light". AID Austin. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  15. ^ "The Bilgaon model". FRONTLINE (THE HINDU). Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  16. ^ Jha, Subhash K.; Service, Indo-Asian News (19 November 2015). "\'I\'m pleased with Hirani\'s Gandhigiri,\' says Gandhi\'s grandson". Sify.com. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  17. ^ "Ash, Hrithik ready to go back in time". The Times of India. 11 October 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  18. ^ "Swades". BBC. 2004. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  19. ^ "Radio Sargam Interview: Shah Rukh Khan!". Radio Sargam. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  20. ^ "Lights, Camera, Liftoff!". NASA. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  21. ^ "Global Precipitation Measurement". NASA. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  22. ^ "GPM Launch Information". NASA. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  23. ^ "Error". epaper.timesofindia.com.
  24. ^ "The village where Shah Rukh Khan's Swades was shot". 19 August 2009.
  25. ^ Verma, Sukanya. "10 Best Bollywood Movies of the Decade". Rediff.com. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  26. ^ "A film that dares". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 24 December 2004.
  27. ^ [1] Archived 6 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "Chennai Box Office - sify.com (1970)". www.sify.com. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017.
  29. ^ "Yeh Jo Desh Hai Tera Song Lyrics".
  30. ^ Taranjit Singh Sandhu [@SandhuTaranjitS] (27 March 2021). "'ये वो बंधन है जो कभी टूट नहीं सकता! This is a friendship bond that cannot be broken ever.' 🇮🇳🇺🇸 US Navy singing a popular Hindi tune @USNavyCNO 's dinner last night! t.co/hfzXsg0cAr" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021 – via Twitter.
  31. ^ A.R.Rahman #99Songs 😷 [@arrahman] (28 March 2021). "Swades rules for ever🌹@AshGowariker #sharukhkhan @Javedakhtarjadu t.co/DGgN5xRsEp" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021 – via Twitter.
  32. ^ Shah Rukh Khan [@iamsrk] (29 March 2021). "Thank u for sharing this sir. How lovely. Git all nostalgic about the time spent making this beautiful film and belief sung in the song. Thanx @AshGowariker @RonnieScrewvala @arrahman & everyone who made it possible. t.co/rFRKcHTDCg" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ Kamini Mathai (2009). A.R. Rahman: The Musical Storm. Penguin Books India. pp. 256–. ISBN 978-0-670-08371-8.
  34. ^ "Music Hits 2000–2009 (Figures in Units)". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 15 February 2008.
  35. ^ Suhasini, Lalitha (19 July 2005). "Destiny's child". The Indian Express. Pune Newsline. Archived from the original on 13 August 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
  36. ^ Pratiyogita Darpan (May 2005). Competition Science Vision. Pratiyogita Darpan. pp. 289–.
  37. ^ imbd, imbd (26 March 2005). "zee cine 2005". Imdb. Pune Newsline. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  38. ^ "Film Cafe: Winners". BBC Radio. Retrieved 28 July 2008.

External links[edit]