|Swades: We, the People|
|Directed by||Ashutosh Gowariker|
|Produced by||Ashutosh Gowariker
|Written by||Ashutosh Gowariker
|Screenplay by||Ashutosh Gowariker
|Story by||Ashutosh Gowariker
M. G. Sathya
Based on K. Shivaram Karanth
|Starring||Shah Rukh Khan
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Edited by||Ballu Saluja|
|Distributed by||UTV Motion Pictures|
|17 December 2004|
|Budget||₹210 million (equivalent to ₹400 million or US$6.1 million in 2015)|
|Box office||₹342 million (equivalent to ₹660 million or US$10 million in 2015)|
Swades: We, the People (Hindi: स्वदेश, pronounced [sʋəˈd̪eːʃ], 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 film. The film received widespread critical acclaim and a cult following from Indian and other South Asian audiences around the world. It is widely regarded as one of the best Bollywood films of the decade and was later dubbed and released in Tamil under the title Desam.
Mohan Bhargava (Shah Rukh Khan) is a non-resident Indian working as a project manager at NASA. He had been a student at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school. After the death of his parents and 12 years in the US, he decides to return to his hometown, Delhi, in India to find his nanny, Kaveri Amma (Kishori Ballal), with whom he has lost touch. After visiting the old-age home where Kaveri Amma resided, he finds out through her friend that Kaveri Amma was taken to a village Charanpur.
While there, he meets interesting people; there is the village postmaster, eager to know more about e-mail and the Internet, while also having a keen hobby of wrestling; the ex-freedom fighter who teaches history at the local school and is a lone voice of reason amongst the village elders; there is a cook who harbors ambitions of opening a dhaba on a US freeway and sees in Mohan an opportunity to get a visa.
While Mohan soon adapts to life in the village and endears himself to its people, he develops a cat-and-mouse romance with his childhood acquaintance Gita (Gayatri Joshi), who brought Kaveri Amma from the old-age home to be with her and her brother, Chiku (Master Smit Sheth). Gradually he encounters some of the harsher aspects of the village; among them are poverty, caste discrimination, child marriage, illiteracy, child labor, a general disregard for education, and apathy to change. He tries in his own way to bring about some change, even succeeding to the point of dissuading the village elders from moving the local school to smaller and far-away premises. In doing this, he earns the respect of Gita, who runs the local school.
One day Kaveri Amma sends him to a village called Kodi to collect dues from a farmer named Haridas who has rented Gita's land. Along the way, Mohan realizes that the problems he had seen in the village mirror those faced by almost all other villages in the country. Haridas, the farmer who owes rent, has no money to feed his own family, mainly because the villagers would not support his attempts at a change of occupation from weaving to farming. Mohan returns empty handed but is full of a new sensitivity and perspective towards the harsh realities of rural India. This journey to Kodi and back proves to be the turning point in Mohan's life, and he comes back with a resolve to improve the quality of life of the villagers.
He enlists the support of a few hundred men and guides them through the building of a reservoir beneath a perennial spring on a nearby hill. Buying turbines and other equipment with his own money, he sets up a small hydro-electric power plant that would solve the problem of irregular electricity and make the village self-sufficient.
By then, it is time for him to leave as his project at NASA is nearing its final stage. Kaveri Amma, whom he had intended to take along with him, refuses to come citing the difficulty of adapting to a new culture at such a late stage in her life. Gita, whom he had fallen in love with and who had fallen in love with him, also refuses to come with him, wanting to remain in the country and continue running the school that her parents had founded. He returns alone but feels a growing sense of responsibility towards his country and guilt for not being able to do much for the welfare of its people. He finishes his project at NASA before resigning and returning to India. The movie ends with Mohan and the postmaster wrestling for fun. Mohan wins.
- 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
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. 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.
Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson, Tushar Gandhi noted the theme of Gandhism in the film. 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:
|“||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.||”|
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
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. The rainfall monitoring satellite known as the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) in the film is an actual NASA mission and was launched in 2014.
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."
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 listed in Top 250 ranking #239, and Khan's performance as Mohan Bhargava is considered one of his best by many.
Avijit Ghosh wrote in The Telegraph, Kolkata, "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. Few recent Bollywood films have songs so beautifully integrated with the script. If only debutante Gayatri Joshi could emote, many scenes could have had so much more spark. Acting out a village school teacher with a mind of her own needed a new millennium Nutan, not a pretty, slimline dummy. Swades is naive. But it is also decent, chaste and brave. Only the boldest of filmmakers can make a mainstream movie where the climax is not about saving the country from terrorists or uniting desperate lovers but getting electricity to a north Indian village."
|Soundtrack album by A.R.Rahman|
|Recorded||Panchathan Record Inn|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
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.
|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|
|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|
- Best Actor - Shahrukh Khan
- Best Background Score - A.R. Rahman
- Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer - Master Vignesh
- Best Female Debut - Gayatri Joshi 
- Zee Cine Award Best Sound Re-recording - Hitendra Ghosh
- Zee Cine Award Best Story - Ashutosh Gowariker
- Zee Cine Award Best Director Critics - Ashutosh Gowariker
- Best Debut Female - Gayatri Joshi
- Film Café Awards
- Rupa Cinegoers Awards for Jury Best Actor
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