What is it about Shah Rukh Khan that inspires extreme emotions? What is it about him that gives his movies bumper openings? What is it about him that our women just can't have enough of? In other words, what is it about Shah Rukh Khan that makes even his most zealous detractors appreciate him once in a while?
Shah Rukh Khan (as Mohan Bhargava) is the Project Manager for Global Precipitation Measurement, a NASA project. He is young, successful, and somewhat brilliant - somewhat because he cannot mentally add two and two though he can do enough math to send satellites into space.
He has these pangs of guilt over not being able to take care of Kaveri Maa, the woman who brought him up. Off he heads to India with the intention of bringing her to America with him. But, the moment you see him set eyes on Geeta (Gayatri Joshi) you know things are going to pan out otherwise.
While in a small village called Charanpur, he learns of the ills that plague this country at the grass-root levels, and of the problems of casteism and other social evils. He learns of the severe poverty in the country, and of the lands that only yield enough when it rains. He learns of the people who have given up the battle for their rights and have compromised with their fate.
The movie is much more than about the homecoming of an NRI (or as Geeta puts it, a Non-Returning Indian). It is about his transformation, about the catharsis of emotions that floods his mind when he feels his insignificance in the face of a seemingly insurmountable mountain, and about his desire to bring about change. It is about those little drops of water making the ocean or the little grains of sand that make the land.
Swades is Ashutosh Gowarikar's first film after Lagaan. And before speculation becomes rife we should clear the air that this movie does not have a Lagaan hangover. Perhaps the backdrop is similar but saying that the whole movie is would imply that every Bollywood movie is the same because they are all made in Hindi, an argument as silly as this statement.
Though the director has not found the magic touch of his previous movie it is still more magical than any we have seen in recent times. Special mention must be made of the casting. The actors look the characters they are supposed to play, and Gayatri Joshi makes an impressive debut. May be a little too impressive. She might have to fight off being typecast.
A last word. It takes conviction in one's belief to make a movie like this, to swim against the tide so to say. Gowarikar does it magnificently while sending a message across - stand up and be counted or stand down and be counted out.
Saurav Chowdhuryon 15th Feb 2005, 12:27am | Permalink
A good movie.Good for SRK's acting, Gowariker's story and Gayatri's confident debut. Gayatri try to keep it up.
Arpan Panickeron 31st Jan 2005, 10:50am | Permalink
Reminded me of the comparison between a child's scribble and Picasso... Everyone who sees the scribble smiles indulgently at it and looks away... whereas Picasso's work gets a lot of attention with people trying to figure out just what it could mean... The catch is, both the scribble and the picasso are the same... Just the names AG and SRK got this movie all the attention and the critical acclaim...
Kudo's to Shahrukh for taking such bravo step to do a silent movie which stands on a normal subject. This is really damn patriotic movie which will really effect your inner soul. Must watch movie for all Indians. A great performance by the super-actor Shahrukh in a new fashion.
Excellent movie! If you are afraid that you might learn something good from the movie - please go and see Veer-Zaara instead! Kudos to Asuhosh for telling a tale of ONE man who dares to dream different. Comparing this to Lagaan is like comparing Jurrasic Park to Minority Report - leave that to the ignorant desi reviewers. Sorry Irfan - your role in Maqbool has just met its match with Mohan Bhargav in Swades.