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Take a bow, Ashotosh, Shahrukh and ARR
bn080920 December 2004
30 minutes after I had viewed the film on Sat, I was not sure about how I felt about this film. 48 hours hence, I vividly remember most of the scenes and can lucidly state that is truly 'haunting'.

Swades is not colorful; Shahrukh doesn't appear in a GAP or POLO SPORT; there are no introductory shots; there are no romantic scenes and no fields with yellow Tulip flowers; It may be a tad slow and lengthy; But Swades hits you where your heart hurts the most; patriotic and root feelings of an individual with good intentions overcoming societal obstacle. It's brilliant, heartfelt and touching. The 'We, People' film really makes us feel like it's our film. We see in the film what we see everyday, the places as they are. It's very much contemporary and it's our story.

Compared to Veer-Zaara, it's light years ahead. Comparisons with Lagaan are bound to be there, but in some ways it's even better than Lagaan. Primarily, for the authenticity and real-life feel unlike Lagaan which was a finely crafted fairly-tale. Lagaan is all about emerging victorious and fighting against the odds. You enjoy it when you see it. Swades is about the conscience trauma of an Indian, urging him to comeback and do something for his country. It haunts you for long enough after the cinema has ended.

There's a prejudice that the film is about bringing electricity to a small village. It's not. And the most poignant scene in the film, where we see a boy selling water for 25 paisa, hits you hard. Seeing the harsh reality and we'll find it difficult to suppress our tears. It's an answer to the generation of materialistic 'we', who never shy from proclaiming our great culture and tradition, but do nothing for our country.

The asset of the film is Shahrukh Khan, looking ordinary and real but in an extra-ordinary performance. His most real since 'Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa' and his career's best. ARR music is soulful and original. The theme song 'Yeh Jo Des Hai Mera' haunts both in terms of its visuals and wordings.

But above all, it's the good intention and the attention to detail, of director Ashutosh Gowarikar that makes wonders for this truly experimental and moving cinema.

I can and will definitely view this movie once more, to celebrate it feel and spirit. I can't predict its box office outcome, as the masses love fantasies and escapist cinema. But it's definitely a treat for those who want to see moving and believable films on a large scale. Also if we don't embrace different cinema like this or even 'the torturous but different Musafir' for that matter, we'll continue to get more 'Sarson ka Saag', 'Karva Chauths', 'Maahi Ve' filled designer romance fables from the Chopra-Johar clan!

Regardless of the box office outcome, take a bow Ashutosh, Shahrukh and ARR!
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Truly made from the heart
ajitmahadevan5 January 2005
Ashutosh Gowariker, has really made this movie straight from the heart. It has none of the ridiculous clichés one is typically used to seeing when one sees a story about an India returning home. He has captured something which perhaps no other Indian movie has - that love for ones country can be strong without making an excessively big deal about it.

It is a long movie. But I think the rather leisurely pace of the movie is required because it gives enough time for the protagonist, Mohan Bhargava, to come to India (with his mineral water and caravan) and start to fall in love with its beauty as well as understand its incongruities which frustrate us all as well. I thought there were three moments in the movie that captured it all

1. The feeling he gets when he starts to land in India. All of us feel it. I do even today. It's called coming home. 2. The mineral water - that is a classic. In fact it is a character of its own throughout the movie and plays its own part! 2. The boy serving water at 25paise to the train passengers and Mohan Bhargava's reaction

I am saddened that Indians both in India and around the world have not liked this movie. It will be remembered as an epic. 2.
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An Excellent Movie with an excellent backdrop
purnendu11 January 2005
A worth watching Movie by Ashutosh Gowariker.

Leaves a impression on mind after you have seen the movie.

Though there are technical faults in the storyline yet those can be left aside on the backdrop of a heart-touching theme. A theme for the people who are leaving their countries / states in search of a better life without realising the fact that they can create a better living environment at home itself.

An insight on the problems of India whose underdeveloped part is somehow or other responsible for itself for the underdevelopment. The social jinx in the rural India which should have been broken long before are now hampering the progress of the villages.

The movie is another Gem after Lagaan in the collection of Ashutosh and Indian Cinema as a whole.

Great Job by Shahrukh. Exquisite appearance by Gayatri. Grand Show by Ashutosh.

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nothing short of a standing ovation ! A marvellous Indian cinematic experience ...
infinityToHeaven18 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Action, Thrillers, Drama, Romance, Comedy, "Crossovers", "Art Cinema" & finally Bollywood cinema. Nothing comes closer to the feeling of watching a good cinema these days & ironic is the fact that seldom there is a genre created for "Good Cinema".

Here comes Swades - Ashutosh Gowariker, post Lagaan,. with an optimism unparalleled with his vision & passion., always aiming at the roots of

traditional movie making. This time, he brings home one of the most humble yet convincing attempts in Indian cinema., with a script just short of a patriotic saga, characters reflecting India TODAY. Set in modern day India but taking a village backdrop, Swades is a film that tackles the issues that every educated upper class, specially the NRIs face today - a sense of belonging, Patriotism & having a realistic image of our country. Depicting through a NASA scientist (NRI) & taken the journey through the annals of an Indian village, a quest for finding his childhood nanny becomes an infinite journey that perhaps everyone of us go through metamorphically ...

in finding an Indian amongst us.

Mohan, (SRK) a successful NRI working in Nasa, realises the bitter truth of loneliness, often seen in today's growing spearation of Indians abroad. He wants to go home, nostalgic in search of his missing childhood & all he can remember last is, he is ashamed of losing contact with his nanny, who he holds with great reverence. (Parents die in an accident when he's young & his nanny has always taken good care of him). In a quest to find her & bring her back to US.,Mohan sets to Delhi in great pursuit & in the interim traces her residence in a distant UP town. What follows later is a series of interestingly woven characters that slowly builds upon a template for the fictional yet realistic characters of this village. The postmaster, a dhaba cook who dreams of opening a "highway dhaba" in US., the playful innocent kids., the beautiful urban educated girl (Gita)., now taking care of his nanny, who has given up everything to teach the children of the village & transform her ideals, the panchayat goons & rajas., the 'weather forecaster', the uneducated rest & of course, the wise nanny.

The next few reels bring us close to humanitarian essentials, questioning the very existence of the Panchayat System in the village, debating the needs of an education System, need for working in unision., & the utter poverty, cultural (dis)beliefs of people. Whats so convincing in this script is how the songs are used as an instrinsic part of the storytelling. Never before I have seen a Hindi movie wherein if songs were removed the movie is annulled !! Yet another reason how visionary ar rahman can be when it comes to sharing the intellect of his directors, not to mention the first class lyrics by javed akhtar. Some of the background tracks are an absolute delight (the funky starting sequence, the funny dhoti scene, the slow moving boat scene, train scene are some of the elements which cannot be fathomed by any other music director in India (or perhaps in the world).

100 minutes pass by & here comes the intermission. The audience stays in silence., no word comes from anybody, see each others faces & probably are asking themselves - "Damn its been more than one & half hour & I just didn't realised it!!!"

-Just one more reason which convinces you, "Good scripts never tell you how long they are ... coz you're IN it!"

Now., Mohan is trying to convince his nanny to come to US & its already getting late as his leave period is getting over. In the interim there's a subtle but very interesting chemistry between Mohan & Gita building up. Not to worry.., this is not those typical filmi kinda romances but shot in subtle nice sequences. Another note which can goto all the Directors, Music Video Directors - You don't need a woman to sport a bikini to look good.., neither you need Aishwairya Rai or Yana Gupta to champion the cause of an "Item No". The very meaning of beauty lies in our own traditional Saree & you will only realise when you see Gita's character & visuals in this movie. PERFECT.

The Plot thickens & now we see the transformation is not only in the villager's to start believing in Mohan's ideals ., in supporting his ideas... but the audience which by now is beginning to be ashamed of .... what we always have taken into granted - Our Patriotism. For instance, the scene where Mohan goes to a local crowded train. Sees a boy selling water for 25p on the pavement & for the first time drinks water in India (Mohan keeps a stack of mineral water at his dispose) is is crafted brilliantly. (not to forget the background score again). There are more than one reasons why this movie is perhaps different from other "patriotic" movies., coz it doesn't try to TEACH you anything. The subtlety, the ironic truth & the bitter, realistic characters makes it all so very close to humanity - you don't need Shah Rukh Khan to tell you this.

You will feel it shamelessly.

Few more days stay & now Mohan is beginning to question the very reason why he has come here, he begins to realise that what is happening is not correct & its a shame that he has not done anything so far to make a transformation.

Will Mohan finally take his nanny/Geeta to US? Does he make any attempt to make a transformation in the village? Well., whats the message the Director wants to convey ..

These are somethings I want YOU to see & appreciate. The brilliant dialogues of "India Vs US" ., "Parampara & culture .. " is just an eye opener to all of us who only tend to take things into granted.,

The performances - I don't quite agree with most people when they say SRK steals the show all the way., I feel Ashutosh steals the show given that he has produced, directed, written & done screenplay for this. Also go due credits to ar rahman, akhtar & all the characters in the film. Mohan's role is author backed & could have possibly been done by Amir, Ajay Devgan or even Anil Kapoor with equal if not a better flair.But yes, whats convincing is that Ashotosh ropes in SRK for this & gets ... what probably is the most honest, *natural* SRK performance ever. For the first time I've seen SRK making a successful attempt to be as convincing as Amir or Kamal Hassan & I would say for once., A star has become an ACTOR!

Yes SRK is definitely different in this film & I'm glad !!! I hope he makes more such films to prove that he is definitely a better actor.

Breaking quite a few clichés of a "run of the mill" bollywood flick, this 3 hour tale raises a few embarrassing questions., which I'm sure every viewer will beg to ask in the transition ..

  • Why are'nt such movies never made in India?

  • How come Shah Rukh has acted so convincingly in a role contrast to his traditional romantic flick?

  • Am I the only one questioning my patriotism right now ?? (well ... err let me see ...)

We blame the Bollywood not knowing that we are a part of encouraging it's cinema ... we only crib about how bad movies are made & we make movies like K3G all time biggest hits. In a country where creativity is the last word in Bollywood, I salute the humblest & honest filmmaker of all - Mr Ashutosh Gowariker to have made this movie cutting all the clichés'

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coming of age
sabsinha19 December 2004
Thank god for swades. Its been ever so often that as Indians we have lamblasted the mushy, one track nonsensical movies that were being churned out by bollywood and yearned for something slightly honest and celebral. And now it seems that the moment has arrived. Swades has finally reached the next level of Indian movie-making with the help of ashutosh, srk and rahman where the execution, the concept and the treatment of the film is at least (i can safely assume) close to world standards. There is no point comparing lagaan (the directors 1st movie) to this movie as his earlier venture was purely fiction with no semblance of realism in it. However this movie has so many ingredients of being a pathbreaker for Indian cinema that its almost scary. The feelings and expectations of an nri set aside, it tells the story of middle and upper class India losing touch with the harsh realities of the sufferings of the less fortunate ones all around us (and the fact that we can do very little to change the ongoing scenario is even more glaring and painful). Besides this the movie also deals with the desires and priorities of humans inspite of the trials and tribulations of daily living.

The maturity of the script, the actors and the score makes it a journey of epic proportions without it looking epic at all. The normalcy of the movie is something which might (and hopefully will) change the way cinema is seen and made in India in the future. One can only hope.
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Different treatment of Patriotism,
misijafz17 December 2004
Definitely a thoughtful movie. Thanks to Gowariker, gives an insight to the rural parts of India, their lifestyle, concise outlook… Different treatment of Patriotism, AG is quick to know the pulse of his viewers,

SRK has done a brilliant job. I'd read, a leading director who commented on him, that he comes in a package with best designers, director, music, best locations on shoot etc. etc…, I strongly recommend him to watch this movie, and would like to know what he could say to this. It was good and a big change to see SRK dancing with children. Star SRK has transformed into character, good!!!. AG has carried simplicity in every angle of the film.

Another good thing is the casting, Ashutosh deserve a big applause for this, all faces were apt for the character. Visuals, music, cinematography in short the whole crew a big applause, you guys had done a wonderful job.

Truly anticipate seeing such movies .
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Sincere effort with flashes of brilliance
pathaniav23 December 2004
This is definitely worth watching. The direction is restrained, SRK has acted really well after a long time, and there is a naive yet charming idealism underpinning the movie. It could have been a tad shorter, crisper editing would have helped. BO-wise it is a risky movie - unapologetic in its depiction of poverty and almost childlike in its appeal to NRIs and India's middle class to acknowledge poverty and try to do something about it. Gowarikar's heart is in the right place - the shots with the family unable to pay land rents, and the waterboy were graceful and poignant. My hunch is that regardless of BO fate, this is an important movie and will be referred to for year to come.
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One of the best films of the year.
kkd47019 December 2004
Saw it last night with a packed cinema and I must say Ashutosh Gowariker has done it again. Nice storyline, little slow but he knows how to make a thoughtful film. Really made me think about being an NRI.

Great songs, with A.R Rahman Music of course. The actress Gayatri Joshi played her part very well and she looks very beautiful. Definitely a new star. Shah Rukh Khan well is Shah Rukh Khan, one of the best actors of our times and he can play pretty much any part.

Best film of the year. Watch it and it will make you think.

Its not a masala movie.Intelligent and Thought Provoking. 10/10
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anirudh_0923 December 2004
Swades is not just a movie,it is a realization . Each n every people of our country must watch this movie . It is the best movie I have ever seen ( thinking of Mr Satyajit Ray movies also , I have seen all the movies of him ) . It is so down to earth that u don't even think that u are watching a movie . We must realize that we have to do something for this country....

Shahrukh Khan has done one of his best jobs in his lifetime....by selecting the movie as well as performance wise.....all the characters of the movie has done a brilliant job .

Plz watch this beautiful movie at least once .
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Well Done but..
goldbergvariations17 December 2004
This is one of the most thought provoking movies to come out of Bollywood in recent times. I loved the characters of pretty much everyone in the movie but felt that all the good work was little bit undone by the length. Yes, Lagaan was long too but then it had a cricket match running and that was enough to maintain the intensity. However, it has to be said that AR Rehman's background score especially during the scenes when Shahrukh Khan travels by train and boat is nothing short of brilliant.

The movie also fell a little short in that it failed to address all the ideas about India that it raised. However, I am giving it high ratings because the script is good and fresh and the director has done his job passionately.

Its good to see Gowariker doing movies close to his heart and not falling for the "mass-hit" formula which many other promising directors have done.

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One of the Greatest masterpieces of the last Two Decades of Hindi Cinema..
prhudedavar_773 January 2014
This movie is without doubt ...one of the greatest Hindi movies ever made.This movies combines with superb direction and amazing performances from all the artists.And Sharukh khan..........he comes up with the outstanding performance and proves that...he is an amazing actor....i feel he is not utilized properly by other directors except few for his talent......hope he does more movies like this.Gayatri was beautiful and perfect and no one could have done better than her.The music and background theme is awesome and hits perfectly to the scenes.I watch this movie at least twice in a year.Truly masterpiece from Auhotosh ans Srk.As few jerks say its boring...i promise it does not bore even for a min....i recommend this Gem of movie to all who love movie which is entertaining as well as thought provoking....and truly inspiring.......watch it least once in lifetime.........Swades :)
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SRKs best ever performance
bonnemere23 June 2005
Bollywood seems to be producing great films again. After a long wait ever since the days of Sholay, Kabhi Kabhi, Trishul, 1942- A love story and of course Lagaan, we are treated to a modern day masterpiece. This film was derided by influential sections of the Indian press who were biased to SRKs other release at the time, Veer Zara, but then still emerged triumphant ! SRks best performance ever...even better than Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na or the Yash Chopra/KAran Johars sweeteners. For a debut performance, Gayatri Joshi gives a very composed performance. Memeorable Scenes: SRK: YOu Indians can't take criticism Kaveriammma: YOU INdians ? SRK: Sorry, us Indians Watch it again and again, too good.
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Govarikar scores a perfect 10
vgadgil14 July 2005
After a long, long time I saw a Hindi movie which has no villains, but still illustrates vividly the miseries of life, which has no feuding families but still manages to bring out the realities of love, marriage, and adjustments. There are no corrupt politicians but rather heads of the village, with real issues and real ego; but still clearly human; the real people. There are no events for shock values but still the storyline is gripping. Perhaps it is not for teens and young people in twenties, who would rather be in a dream world idolizing a person with super powers. The movie is as realistic as any of my Desi colleagues I meet everyday at work here away from my Swades. Such a simple story but so well presented. After having to watch stupid Hindi TV soaps every evening where women are either screaming or slapping each other and less said about the male roles the better, it was a real nice change to spend yesterday evening watching this beautiful movie with the whole family. I really like movies that leave me in a happy state of mind. This was definitely the one; a rare one; a jewel.
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A Better Bollywood
wordsmith_574 October 2009
We have been savoring Bollywood films for the past couple of months and we are definitely enjoying the cultural experience. Swades by far has touched me the most, as it not only combines that happy musical abandonment I have come to enjoy about India films, but this one reaches a new level. Swades manages to include the new aspects of India culture, becoming educated and proving abilities (NASA, no less), but superimposing how parts of India don't even have electricity yet.

It makes me appreciate my lifestyle here in America, yet the culture and traditions that India possesses is something to be a bit wishful for. As the actor playing Mohan said in the movie, America does have its own culture--somehow it doesn't run as deep as what I viewed in the movie.

Enlightening, edifying, and definitely educational. I look forward to sampling more thought-provoking films from India.
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9 years after release still enjoying every bit of the movie
aphaniphani30 October 2013
Some movies in you life are precious, and this is one among them. I am a movie lover and watch every possible movie released. Swades holds a prima-facie among the limited movie collection i have.

I still remember the day when i stood outside the Audio shop in the city next to my village where i traveled over 100km just to get the first copy of the audio cassette, and guess what i grabbed the first cassette that day. Since that day my love for this movie is out of bounds, and still going strong.

Believe i am not a fan of Mr.Shahrukh Khan, but after this movie i really fell in love the way he enacted the play. I never missed the release of this movie and watched it the first day.

The Aftermath ,9 years later, today, i have completed my medicine degree,this movie made me change my mind to stay with my home place, My beloved parents, friends and everyone in my village. I wanted to pursue my masters in US but i am now a changed mind with pursuing the degree in here in my home land , India.

Thanks Mr. Ashutosh for creating this epic master piece. I would be grateful for the rest of my life for this movie you have crafted.

The characters simply have life and they are close to hearts, be it Mohan "NRI" Bhargava or "Gitli" Geeta or the Post Man "Nivaranji" who admires the Email as something out of the world invention, the American dream pursuing "MelaRam". Every one is astounding in performance, that makes this movie a special one that you would never want to forget for the rest of your life.

For all my NRI cousins and friends, do watch this movie and come back buddies, there is more to pursue in here. regards
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An Individual Can Make A Difference And Have Fun In The Process
museumofdave8 April 2013
I gave this a high rating realizing that it isn't Citizen Kane, nor is it Lawrence of Arabia, but it moved me to tears more than once, and made me laugh frequently, and it tackled important issues and held out the possibility of solutions, something Hollywood films used to do routinely.

Too many Hollywood films in this era are made for kids in search of quick thrills, and that's fine, except the menu lacks balance. A constant diet of guns, explosions and emotional violence certainly doesn't model well as a reflection of the nation, does it? It is refreshing to find a beautifully acted story of a man who feels the magnetic pull of the homeland and struggles with giving up all his hard-earned wealth and glory to commit himself to others--what a novel idea! Name a major recent film that suggests such a thing! Very real third-world problems are graphically delineated, but as in other Bollywood films, there is always time for song and dance, and it's fun to take a break.

I do not claim greatness for this film, but I was highly entertained every minute and admired the craft it took to marry the music, images and story. We used to make films about heroes and creators and except for the recent Lincoln, they remain far and few. Swades reminds me a good deal of Frank Capra films from the 1930's, but with more color, and certainly a good deal more dance.
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Swades: India Empowered.
Opiniated13 October 2005
Swades is my idea of India Empowered. The movie creates a magic, which makes you believe, so what if only for a swift second, that you can help change the face of India too.

In Swades, you don't see Sharukh Khan as Sharukh Khan, but as Mohan Bhargava, a feat difficult to achieve even by the most seasoned actors. Mohan comes back to take his now old governess Kaveri Amma to the US. Here he meets Gita (Gayatri Joshi) a Delhi-educated school teacher in the tiny village 200kms from Delhi. Not only does Mohan fall in love with the beautiful and graceful Gayatri Joshi, but also begins on his journey of knowing rural India.

Mohan's moment of realization comes, when he sees the poor peasant so stuck in the Indian caste system, that he can barely feed his family. Traditionally a weaver, the advent of the power looms had left this man jobless, forcing him to take up agriculture on leased land. Shunned by the community who believes that a weaver cannot be anything but a weaver, he fails to irrigate his land, as he was provided with no water by the villagers. This leaves him in heavy debts and a state of misery and helplessness. Mohans journey home is the one of realization. The omnipresent NRI-symbol, the Bisleri bottle finally gives way to a glass of water in a earthen vessel for a meagre 25 paise being sold by a young child at the Ajite Railway station.

Swades touches rampant problems of rural India, child marriage, caste-ism, lack of education. It also voices the concern about an increasing number of NRI's taking their old to the US to serve them, cook and clean at home. There is an other point the movie touched, which nobody before has ever dared to - Mohan begs to differ as the elders at a village gathering say that India is the greatest country in the world because we have 'values and ideals'. Mohan urges them to stop hiding behind a farce of big words and to see things the way they are. Mohan uses his skill to build a tiny hydro electric power project which brings light to his village. This is when the movie reaches its peak point. "One man Mohan Bhargava - can make a difference. Can you?" it asks, right in your face. And you wouldn't believe what you find yourself saying - yes I can! This is the magic of the movie I was speaking about.

Mohan goes back to the USA against his own wishes. Memories of India, his village, his love haunt him. Mohans end decision is what I leave for you to watch in the movie....

Sharukh Khan's performance as Mohan Bhargava is very believable. I suspect there's more to his character than merely the work of a skilled actor. His performance has soul in it. Some part of Sharukh Khan is a Mohan Bhargava, some part of him believes in the same idea of India Empowered.

Gayatri Joshi's made a great debut in this movie. She is a beautiful and versatile actress. Finally we got to see a non-buxom Indian actress on screen which comes as a relief. When she ties Mohan's dhoti (traditional male garb) looking into his eyes unhesitatingly, there's a subtle message hidden speaking odes about female empowerment. There is this great chemistry between Sharukh and Gayatri, where she plays the dominant teacher, and he the meek student with a crush on her.

The supporting roles were performed to perfection. And music by A.R. Rehman adds beauty to the movie. A.R. Rahman, I believe is the greatest music composer we have, his music works like magic.
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An extroardinary touching movie for every human being
melo_gh30 December 2004
I am not an Indian, but I watched this movie and compared to many Indian movies that I have seen, this time I didn't check my watch to see when is the three hours going to finish! I don't want to state that it was the best Hindi movie I have seen in my life, but it is truly one of the best of Shah Rukh Khan's work and Bollywood. Most of the Indian movies are a bubble full of happiness and dreams that everyone wishes in their heart, but Swades is nothing compared to these. I am a big fan of Indian movies and Shah Rukh Khan. Before watching this movie, I heard comments from different Indian people about it. Some liked it a lot, but some said that go watch Veer-Zaraa; that's a better movie. I saw both of them. Veer-Zaraa (which I liked a lot) was a typical Bollywood movie, but SWADES was a reality. I believe it was India's voice to its own people. If I as a non-Indian have seen this movie, then all Indians should watch this movie and appreciate the message in this film.
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The eternal dilemma of an 'NRI' whether to continue with the good life in the US or come back to his land.
infinitelyprolonged23 December 2004
It's a bane of any director who makes a really good movie early on in his career that each of his subsequent creations are fated to be compared with the famous one, and Ashutosh Gowariker did have a tough act to follow. But let's talk of Swades without the shadow of Lagaan looming over it. And boy does it impress! The first plus point of Swades is that Shah Rukh Khan acts. He actually appears happy here that he has managed to bag one rare movie where the director has made some use of his acting skills. There are just two-three short instances where he returns to his typical habit of making funny faces, and that's pretty tolerable. Otherwise he does a really good job of the role. I hope he gets a Filmfare for this, not for Veer Zaara.

Gayatri Joshi is good too. Better than Gracy Singh. Sorry, we were not supposed to have comparisons. Her dialogue delivery is awkward at places, but otherwise a really nice job in a first movie. Of course having a strong role helped.

The rest of the actors put up a very competent show too. The lady who plays Shah Rukh's nanny (who I later came to know is named Kishori Balal) keeps away from the typical melodrama seen so often in our movies. In fact there's very little 'filmi' in the movie. Things are very realistic, not exactly real-life, but closer to it. Gowariker makes full use of NASA and we probably have the first rocket-launch in a Hindi movie here. The children are not the obnoxious kind that we typically see in present-day Hindi movies. The village is very authentic. Compare it with Karan Johar's glossy Chandni Chowk in K3G. The situations and people's reactions in those situations are authentic. The songs gel in very nicely with the story and you enjoy them thoroughly. The title-song which is the last song in the movie could be a tear-jerker for NRIs, quite like Chitthi aayi hai from Naam in the 80s. The story (and for a rare occasion in recent Hindi movies we do have one here) is good. The movie has a proper flow, and I don't know if there's a technical term for it. So technically and screenplay-wise Swades is very good. One more point to Ashutosh Gowariker.

But Swades is not perfect. Far from it actually. One obvious flaw is that the sermonizing gets to you after a point. The movie is close to three-and-a-half hours long and you feel it. And despite having its heart in the right place, the movie starts working against the message it is trying to convey if people get so bored that they start leaving the hall. In fact the songs are so good that at times you wish that a song would come by to relieve you of the rubbing in that the audience is being subjected to. And that is why I feel it's very difficult for this movie to be a big hit. But I would love to be proved wrong. It's the kind of movie that Gowariker couldn't have made with a big star in the lead or couldn't have sold to distributors if he didn't have Lagaan on his resume. There are some other issues like run-of-the-mill cinematography but I think they aren't really important here. What we have here is competent enough.

On the whole I would say that the plus points far outweigh the negatives. It's no classic (and I consider Lagaan a classic) but probably the best Hindi movie that we've had this year. I say probably only because I am not in the mood to recall the names of other movies released this year. So please go and see the movie, and if possible in a hall. Movies like these should do well. Movies like these should be tax-free. Movies like these should be made more often.
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Wonderful & Thought Provoking!
vytor20 December 2004
I loved the film and its a welcome change from the unrealistic and annoyingly happy Hindi films that most people in India make these days. Thank GOD for people like Mr. Gowarikar who aren't afraid to "think outside of the box." As a female movie-goer, I have been looking forward to watching this film since I first saw those trailers on SONY. You first see Mr. Khan on a train, then a bus, then a boat, then on the back of a scooter trying to get somewhere. I was so entralled that I just wanted to see the movie to find out just where on Earth was he trying to get to? I just HAD to go SEE it.

This film shows you a very realistic and human approach to the conflicts going on inside of a person who is trapped and trying to find the difference between living one's life for oneself and the urge to make a difference in the lives of others, to be a beacon of guiding light. I loved it! I loved it more than Lagaan. Take that you no-nothing critics! I went to see the film with my sister who is visiting and it has been probably a good 4 years since the two of us have done anything together. Life is what happens when you're busy working! On our car ride back home we discussed the film as we usually do no matter who is with us. To get an idea of what someone else might have picked up on and others might have missed. Both of us loved the fact that he went back to NASA to finish up his work before going back to India. It shows Mohan's sincerity to both countries. If that part in the film had been cut-out, both of us would've been extremely angry with the director. That would've shown immense hypocrisy on the part of the film-maker because that would've meant that he doesn't care whether or not he leaves one country hanging just so that he can follow his new-found purpose & direction in life.

You can never end one section of your life like that because people come to depend on you and you should respect them for it. If there is a sudden need for me to go do something, I'd never leave my employer hanging, even if it was for the people that I love because nobody deserves that. One should tie up all loose ends before starting something fresh and new. It is the responsible thing to to and this film makes the character even more realistic and true to being an NRI by doing so. Because we NRIs not only have a responsibility to the country that gave us birth; we also have a responsibility to the country that gave us support, recognition and shelter. Be it the US, UK, etc.
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saurabh-sharma6916 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
woo oh this movie was a slap on the person like me i am 22 and all set to run away from the conditions of our nation and want to pursue education abroad and i still stick to it but blaming others for the condition of our nation and not accepting the truth that we are a part of it just will take our nation towards a steep downfall we have to stand and respect our nation every one should accept this specially we the youngsters at least take a responsibility don't run away from conditions. if any change is needed we should provide it, we should not see and feel bad only for few minutes or even days and then ignore it we should make the change and thank you for making this movie it has changed me. i will do something for serving my nation thank you sir for making this movie
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Its finding about Leadership, kindness and facing the reality on face .
akshay-337-9562218 August 2013
I am not at all big fan of Indian Movies despite being Indian Myself I hate them I abuse them, then my friends abuse me (: But this film is different than other ones. first this movie will answer all the questions all the Indians always have. The main Character (Mohan) played brilliantly by Shahrukh Khan represents the feeling every Indian has whenever we see some poor disgraced human being.

you feel pity for them like Mohan In this film does like in the scene of that water-boy on train station that scene was filmed very very beautifully that it will bring tears in your eyes. The movie will teach you about being kind to others, Solving your own problems without depending on your Government. speaking about the music and background score of the movie A.R.Rehman has done exceptionally well which helps you to form a bond with the characters as every character has got its own theme. finally this film will take you to a point where you will be forced to think that we always keep on crying about our country being corrupt and our leaders will do nothing about it But what are you doing for your own country. There are very few contents in Bollywood movies to learn from but Swades is full of them .
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A rare master-piece
eh5963-297-96735423 March 2012
People who have only heard of Swades may think the film is a simple story of a man connecting to his roots. It is, but in that simplicity comes a whole lot of baggage. Swades tackles tons of issues in those 3 and a half hours. More importantly, Swades does not bore and keeps the viewers interested in the going-ons (Most of the time). It seems like the viewer is with the protagonist during his journey.

Mohan is a successful scientist working for NASA in America. He has completed the first phase of a big project he has been working on for NASA. However, there has been something bothering him the past few months. He feels he has abandoned his nanny back in India and wants to bring her back. From then starts Mohan's journey, or awakening one can call it...

One viewing of Swades is not enough, in my opinion. The film is too poetic and full of symbolism. There are so many things to note in the movie. SRK's water bottle with him all the time. Him finally drinking water. The whole scene with the movie being screened. A lot of symbolism in the movie which some hard-hitting statements being made. the film tackles issues such as poverty, electricity, government regulations, traditions and various things affecting India. The scene when the villagers compare U.S. and India is surely to raise eye-brows.

The film is a tad bit too long, and that is one of the few flaws in it. Honestly, I don't have any other problem with that.

Music plays a great part in the movie. The songs come at the right time and are brilliant. Lyrics are amazing by Javed Akhter. Technical aspects are first rate! The dialouges are fresh and move you. The story, screenplay is excellent.

Ashutoush Gowariker directs the movie with utter brilliance. It takes guts to make a movie like that and he deserves full marks for direction.

The characters in the movie all act terrifically. Gayatri makes a good debut.

Swades is carried on the shoulders of Shah Rukh Khan and he gives a performance that leaves you spellbound, speechless, just amazed! It's an act that only superb actors like SRK can pull off. Note the scene when the child is selling water by the train - Wow! His character change, his realization - a convincing act all the way.

Overall, one has to give it up to 4 people. A.R Rahman, Ronnie Screwala, Shah Rukh Khan and of course, Ashutoush Gowariker. Thank You for making this master piece.
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A very rich movie!
vrnq12 February 2006
I did not give it a 10 because I expect Ashutosh Gowariker to do even better in the near future!This is a very good movie in my opinion. I must have seen it three times already since 08/05 and I have always appreciated a lot. First, I liked the songs, then the story and the last time, I really enjoyed everything! This is the story of Mohan, a NRI, top scientist who works for NASA and who is feeling homesick. He is longing for his native India, so... he goes back on a trip. And he takes us along. That gives us an opportunity to visit India( or part of it);to appreciate the beautiful sceneries and to meet very charming and friendly villagers: The People! Mohan is played by the handsome Shah Rukh Khan, funny, witty and adorable as always.The rest of the cast is awesome. The songs are very catchy and well acted as often in Bollywood. Although they are in Hindi, they stay in you very easily. I am sure that this movie will appeal to all the NRIs who have left India, but also to all the viewers who enjoy Bollywood cinema. Finally, anyone who wants to see great entertainment will be happy with this movie and might end up buying the soundtrack CD (like me!). It's worth it! yeh jo des hai tera, swades hai tera...Come on, sing along!
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Bulls eye!
skartik_7911 October 2005
Swades - we the people says it all. It is probably one of the most sincere and un cynical movies of recent times, and same holds true with Shah rukh, who delivers an endearing and perhaps his most subdued, underplayed yet a bravura performance.

It starts with the NAsa engineer, who gets the longing to go back to India to meet his Nanny, and feels guilty that he had never got a chance to repay the love and warmth he received from her when he was a child.

Come India, he comes to the ground realities of India, the village, even though the country has come of age is 'shining' not much has changed in the heartlands or the villages where you see illiteracy,strange dogmas, inequalities, chauvinism etc.

Shah rukh sees it as a call to put his education and knowledge to use, and he knows his home needs him more than anywhere else.

the movie is simple, straight and sincere, runs on the lines of a documentary. Sure it is not glamorized but it delivers, excellent story telling skills.

It is bound to touch your heart, and definitely relate able for the NRI's who think about going to India.

The icing on the cake is not only the wonderful performances by the support cast, but the natural and non preachy characterizations of the entire cast.

Shah rukh is likable, even with his usual and lovable antics, he is more serious, and clearly dominates the proceedings.

Rahman's music is a big plus, with Yunhi Chala and Yeh Jo Des hai being the pick. Rahman has a panache for delivering great music for topical movies.

A movie with substance.
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