Swades

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Swades: We, the People
Swades movie poster.png
Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker
Produced by Ashutosh Gowariker
Ronnie Screwvala
Written by Ashutosh Gowariker
(dialogue)
Screenplay by Ashutosh Gowariker
Sameer Sharma
Lalit Marathe
Amin Hajee
Charlotte Whitby-Coles
Yashodeep Nigudkar
Ayan Mukherjee
Story by Ashutosh Gowariker
M. G. Sathya
Starring Shah Rukh Khan
Gayatri Joshi
Kishori Balal
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Mahesh Aney
Edited by Ballu Saluja
Production
company
Distributed by UTV Motion Pictures
Release dates
17 December 2004
Running time
195 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 210 million (US$3.1 million)[1]
Box office 342 million (US$5.1 million)[2][3]

Swades: We, the People (pronounced [sʋəˈd̪eːʃ], English: Own Country) is a 2004 Indian drama film written, produced and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. It stars Shah Rukh Khan and Gayatri Joshi in her first and only film. The film received widespread critical acclaim and a cult following from Indian and other South Asian audiences around the world.[4][5] It is widely regarded as one of the best Bollywood films of the decade[6] and was later dubbed and released in Tamil under the title Desam.[7]

Plot[edit]

Mohan Bhargava (Shah Rukh Khan) works as a project manager at NASA in the United States. He keeps worrying about Kaveri amma (Kishori Ballal), a maid at his home in Uttar Pradesh who looked after him during his childhood days. After his parents’ death, Kaveri amma left to an old age home and lost contact with Mohan. Mohan now wishes to go to India and bring back Kaveri amma with him. He requests for a couple of weeks off and leaves to India. He goes to the old age home in Delhi but learns that Kaveri amma has left to a village called Charanpur a few years back. Now Mohan decides to reach Charanpur.

Mohan, a rich guy by birth and has got used to a sophisticated lifestyle in the US, decides to rent a caravan to reach the village fearing that he might not get the required facilities in Charanpur. Reaching Charanpur, he meets Kaveri amma and gets to know that it was Gita (Gayatri Joshi), Mohan’s childhood friend who had brought Kaveri amma following her parents’ death to stay along with her. Gita runs a school in Charanpur and works hard in improving the living conditions of the villagers through education which is divided largely by caste and religious beliefs. Gita does not like Mohan’s arrival as she thinks that he will take Kaveri amma along with him leaving her and her brother Chikku alone. Kaveri amma tells Mohan that she needs to get married Gita first and that is her big 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. Now Kaveri amma asks Mohan to visit a nearby village Kodi and collect money from Haridas who owes it to Gita. Mohan visits Kodi and feels pity seeing the poor condition of Haridas where he is unable to even have a three course meal every day. Haridas tells that he cannot change his profession as it is not permitted in the village. Mohan understands the pathetic situation and realizes still many villages in India are the same like Kodi. He returns back to Charanpur with a heavy heart and decides to do some favour for the welfare of Charanpur.

Mohan extends his vacation by three more weeks. He gets to know that power interruption is 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 fund and he sets the power generation unit which becomes a success and the village gets sufficient power from the new generating facility.

But Mohan is repeatedly called by the NASA officials as the project is critical and he has to leave to the US now. Kaveri amma tells that she prefers to stay in Charanpur as it will be difficult for her to accommodate a new country at this age. Also Gita tells that she will not settle down in another country and she prefers to stay in India with Mohan. Mohan now leaves to the US with a heavy heart as he has to complete the project over there. Even at the US, he keeps remembering the incidents in India and wants to get back. After the successful completion of his project, he resigns his job in NASA and comes back to India with plans of joining Vikram Sarabhai Space Center. The movie ends showing Mohan and Gita staying in Charanpur following their wedding.

Cast[edit]

  • Shahrukh Khan as Mohan Bhargava
  • Gayatri Joshi as Gita
  • Kishori Ballal as Kaveri Amma
  • Rajesh Vivek as Nivaaran
  • Makrand Deshpande as Fakir
  • Lekh Tandon as Dadaji
  • Daya Shankar Pandey as Melaram
  • Bachan Pachehra as Haridas
  • Vishnudutt Gaur as Vishnudutt
  • Farrukh Jaffar as Panch Fatima Bi
  • Visshwa Badola as Panch Munishwar
  • Bhim Vakani as Panch Narayan
  • Dilip Ambekar as Panch Hariya
  • Raja Awasthi as Panch Gungadin
  • Rahul Vohra as Vinod
  • Rajesh Balwani as Rahul
  • Peter Rawley as John Stockton
  • Master Smit Sheth as Chiku

Production[edit]

Motivation[edit]

Swades is inspired by the story of Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi, the NRI couple who returned to India and developed the pedal power generator to light remote, off-the-grid village schools.[8][9][10] Gowarikar 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.

A controversy aroused saying Swades was a remake of Kannada film Chigurida Kanasu, based on a novel of the same name by K. Shivaram Karanth. The claim was repudiated by the writer M.G. Sathya.[11]

Themes[edit]

Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson, Tushar Gandhi noted the theme of Gandhism in the film. He found it unfortunate that the movie was not box office success[12] The name of the main character portrayed by Shahrukh Khan is Mohan, which was Mahatma Gandhi's birth name (Mohandas or "Mohan"). Swades opens with the following quotation from Gandhi:

Gowariker tries to address the lack of a 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.[13] Then Shahrukh Khan got this offer from Ashutosh Gowariker.

Swades was the first Indian film to be shot inside the NASA research center at the Launch Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.[14][15] The rainfall monitoring satellite known as the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) in the film is an actual NASA mission and was launched in 2014.[16][17][18]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received overwhelmingly strong critical acclaim from critics. Most of the critics felt that Shahrukh Khan's performance in Swades was his best till date. Subhash K Jha of Indiatimes Movies gave 4.5 stars out of 5 and said "Swades is a unique experiment with grassroot 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 4 stars and called it 'bravo!' and added "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 4 stars and said "After Lagaan, what? The answer's blowing in the wind. Swades. Here's the verdict: This is a gusty 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 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."[19]

Swades went on to become a cult classic and currently holds a rating of 8.5 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Database , and Khan's performance as Mohan Bhargava is considered one of his best by many.[6]

Box office[edit]

Swades earned 152.5 million (US$2.3 million) nett in India.[2] In the overseas market, the film made $2,790,000.[20] It had a lifetime worldwide gross of 342.6 million (US$5.1 million).

Soundtrack[edit]

Swades
Swades 2004 SoHaM.jpg
Soundtrack album by A.R.Rahman
Released 2004
Recorded Panchathan Record Inn
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Label T-Series
Producer A.R. Rahman
A.R.Rahman chronology
Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa
(2004)
Swades
(2004)
Kisna: The Warrior Poet
(2004)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Planet Bollywood 9/10 stars link

A. R. Rahman's soundtrack was acclaimed by critics and audiences. His background score won him the Filmfare Award. However, he lost the Filmfare award for Best Music Director to Anu Malik. Udit Narayan won the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the track "Yeh Tara Woh Tara". All lyrics written by Javed Akhtar, all music composed by A. R. Rahman.

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1. "Yeh Taara Woh Taara"   Udit Narayan, Master Vignesh, Baby Pooja 7:13
2. "Saanwariya Saanwariya"   Alka Yagnik 5:17
3. "Yun Hi Chala Chala"   Udit Narayan, Kailash Kher, Hariharan 7:28
4. "Aahista Aahista"   Udit Narayan, Sadhana Sargam 6:49
5. "Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera"   A. R. Rahman 6:28
6. "Pal Pal Hai Bhaari"   Madhushree, Vijay Prakash 6:50
7. "Dekho Na"   Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan 5:46
8. "Pal Pal Hai Bhaari" (Flute) Naveen 3:38
9. "Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera" (Shehnai) Madhukar T. Dhumal ( musician ), 4:00

Tamil version[edit]

The Tamil soundtrack under the title Desam[21] was also composed by A.R. Rahman. Lyrics were written by Vairamuthu and Vaali.

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
Kettenaa Naan Mohammed Aslam, Sadhana Sargam 6:49
Unthan Desathin Kural A.R. Rahman 6:28
Mazhai Mega Vanna Chithra, Srinivas 6:50
Thai Sonna K.J. Yesudas, madhushree 5:46
Unthan Desathin Kural (Shehnai) Madhukar T. Dhumal 4:00

Awards[edit]

National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards
Global Indian Film Awards
Zee Cine Awards
Star Screen Awards
Stardust Awards
Bollywood Movie Awards
Film Café Awards

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Swades - Starring Shahrukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Ballal, Dayashanker Pandey, Rajesh Vivek. Swades's box office, news, reviews, video, pictures, and music soundtrack. Ibosnetwork.com. Retrieved on 2015-03-30.
  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. ^ "Lost in Translation - Part 1/2". Filmfare. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Deepak Mahaan (4 August 2011). "Arts / Cinema : Intoxicated with second love!". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Verma, Sukanya. "10 Best Bollywood Movies of the Decade". Rediff.com. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Hindu : Entertainment : Will `Swades' repeat the `Lagaan' magic ?". The Hindu. 2004-12-10. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  8. ^ "The Real Swadesis: Aravinda and Ravi". NRIPULSE.COM. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  9. ^ "Bilgaon Village: From Darkness to Light". AID Austin. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  10. ^ "The Bilgaon model". FRONTLINE (THE HINDU). Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  11. ^ Christopher, Kavvya (3 June 2005). "Something borrowed". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  12. ^ Jha, Subhash K.; Service, Indo-Asian News (2015-11-19). "\`I\`m pleased with Hirani\`s Gandhigiri,\` says Gandhi\`s grandson". Sify.com. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  13. ^ "Ash, Hrithik ready to go back in time". The Times of India. 11 October 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2008. 
  14. ^ "Swades". BBC. 2004. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  15. ^ "Radio Sargam Interview: Shah Rukh Khan!". Radio Sargam. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  16. ^ "Lights, Camera, Liftoff!". NASA. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  17. ^ "Global Precipitation Measurement". NASA. Retrieved 28 July 2008. 
  18. ^ "GPM Launch Information". NASA. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  19. ^ "A film that dares". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 24 December 2004. 
  20. ^ [1] Archived 6 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Kamini Mathai (2009). A.R. Rahman: The Musical Storm. Penguin Books India. pp. 256–. ISBN 978-0-670-08371-8. 
  22. ^ Suhasini, Lalitha (19 July 2005). "Destiny's child". The Indian Express. Pune Newsline. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  23. ^ Pratiyogita Darpan (May 2005). Competition Science Vision. Pratiyogita Darpan. pp. 289–. 
  24. ^ imbd, imbd (March 26, 2005). "zee cine 2005". Imdb. Pune Newsline. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  25. ^ "Film Cafe: Winners". BBC Radio. Retrieved 28 July 2008. 

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]