10 January 2005

Its not often that i write reviews for movies, much less for hindi
movies. However once a while a movie comes out of that cauldron called
hindi movies that makes you sit up and take notice of the fact that in
such days where designer jeans, DKNY campuses and london shown as
rampur exist, movies that still keep themselves close to reality can
be made. Swades is one such movie.

I will not go into the nitty-gritty details of the story here.Just
that shahrukh khan comes over to india from america with a plan to take
his foster mother back with him. He is persuaded to stay back for a few
days and in those few days he undergoes a transformation. He also
manages to find his lady love in the process ! Any avid watcher of
hindi movies can predict what would be the ending.

However what sets this movie apart from the other rigmarole are these:

1. After a long time shahrukh khan tries his hand at acting.In
general in almost all his movies we see him hemming and hawing his
way with a head that seems to be stuck on a spring and always
bobbing. He aquits himself well throught the movie. In fact right in
the opening scenes his body language makes it easy for you to
understand that everything is not right with him.He lives his

2. You could ask that when all the villagers are wearing clothes
that seem village like why is the heroine wearing brightly colored
sarees ? Well then you are made aware of the fact that she was
educated in the city.Thankfully the director has not made her wear
jeans !

3. The heroine, a new find Gayathri Joshi does pretty well almost
throught the movie except when she has to emote. Somehow you dont
feel the emotion in her ! She needs to improve in that department.

4. We live in the days when we see ladies around us wanting to marry
guys settled abroad, why even their parents seem keen to do so.
Kudos to the director for sketching a strong character which refuses
to follow the current line, and instead is prepared to give up her
love for what she believes in. You are made aware of the character's
beliefs right at the start when she rejects a proposal that forces
her to stop working.

5. Some of the dialouges are simple and yet convey a strong meaning.
Like when khan is about to leave his village he apologises to his
new found friend that he is not able to take him along with him
currently. The reply his friend gives is pretty intresting.Or when
his project manager says "Are you aware what you are loosing ?" To
which khan replies "I am aware what i am gaining!".Also listen to the
heroiens explanation of what a government is.

6. The director has made an attempt to highlight some of the issues
that plague us even today, education and the caste system.

7. The songs merge in effortlessly with the situations and most
importantly you are not transported into dreamland with thousands of
extras gyrating away in outlandish costumes. The mozart of madras,
A.R.Rahman does not disappoint in this count. However you are left
with a feeling that he could have left the synthesizer alone for this
movie and tried with natural instruments.There are a few metallic drones
in the songs that give away the synthesizer.

8. The background score is good is many parts and inappropriate in many.
The great Illayaraja once said that silence is the most effective
background score that can be given. Rahman seems to be learning that.

9. Almost all the supporting characters have come out with good
performances particularly the postman and the cook !

10. For the technically inclined you could ask questions like : Does
microsoft excel exist for apple notebooks ? { notice a scene when
shahrukh khan uses it ! } or is there enough inflow into the
water-tank to guarentee constant outflow of water to run the generator ?
These kind of questions are immaterial !

Finally if you are looking for pure entertainment do not venture
anywhere near this movie. This movie is pretty slow paced and needs
to watched with a lot of patience.

Thank you Mr.Asuthosh for venturing out to give us a movie like
this. Your movie may have failed at the box office. But dont worry.
You can make a movie that is set entirely in new york, or a movie that
depicts karva chauth, or whatever and get back what you have lost
financially by making swades.But it is for this film that you will be
talked about for a long time to come !

It is upon us to encourage film makers like these which will change the
way people look upon our movie industry, from an purely entertainment
oriented one to that which can also make movies of substance.

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:16 AM


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