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The Beauty of a thought
May 31, 2005 03:58 PM 3669 Views
(Updated Oct 26, 2005 02:55 AM)





“Be the change you want to see in the world”

  • Quote by Mahatma Gandhi

Its not a rare occasion today, to hear that our country is going nowhere, that we can never be a great nation, that there’s no hope for India…And every single time I heard this, I used to wonder, who Are these people who claim that India is going nowhere?? Its people who are idle enough for a drawing-room discussion in their cosy home, in the comforts of their granted good fortune. They criticise the government, the unemployment, the whole infrastructure, the politics, the politicians, the education, the corruption, anything and everything under the sun that is worth criticizing!

There are people who’ve told me that their dream is to leave India, and make fortune in a better place. I don’t blame them for wanting what’s best for their future, but where does that leave our country? Entangled amongst the various endless debates, those heated arguments, those frivolous promises, India’s left to the hands of those argumentative yet aloof individuals who know how to blame the system, not realising they are also an essential part of the system….

All this may seem like monotonous ranting, but these thoughts derive from something where I last expected my intellectual thoughts to come from…a Bollywood Movie. In the time of the sugary-sweet, candy-floss, lovey-dovey, escapist cinema, here comes an eye opener which takes the viewers into the depths of reality, which is really so evident, that we tend to look beyond it. Swades stands out to be a message to all, conveying the story from a common man’s eyes and pointing out those loop-holes in society that are often talked about, but seldom solved.

Characters and Plot

The story has been told and re-told many times on MS and by critics and reviewers all across the net. So I wont repeat it all in detail, but would like to sum it up in a few words. In short, the story is about Mohan Bhargav (Shahrukh Khan), a successful NASA employee and NRI, returning to his country on a mini-mission of finding his nanny Kaveriamma (Kishori Ballal), and in this trip he gets to visit the real depths India. In this village he encounters Geeta (Gayatri Joshi), a strong willed and determined schoolteacher. Along with her, he also encounters the issues in the village, which he had never considered more deeply than this. The story proceeds as Mohan tries to use his intellect in trying to solve some of those issues in this village.

When looking at the story in retrospect, it’s a simple story of simple people. Common everyday issues and ideas, which are just taken for granted most of the times, are addressed here. The plot develops as Mohan familiarises himself more with the common issues and realises that there’s more need for action than idle talk. Mohan’s realisation and the moment of epiphany are highlighted when he actually encounters the most deprived and desperate condition of an honest farmer, which is bestowed upon him due to the discriminations and stiff rules that society sets for individuals. Deeply affected by this, Mohan resolves to actually do something about the trivial issues, which are so common that people have gotten used to living in them. Whether its electricity or education, people don’t realise the lack of it until they are faced with immediate problems because of its shortage. The climax comes when Mohan follows through with his idea of setting up a hydro electricity plant, using the resources at-hand in order to enable a constant supply of electricity in the village.

The Maker and The Crew

After an unbelievably successful venture like Lagaan, there are bound to be expectations from the next project of the maker! Ashutosh Gwarikar once again produces a unique story and brings up some thought-provoking issues. The way he handles the sensitive issues is brilliant and really gives an insight to the intellect of the man himself. There aren’t many times that the ideas presented in a movie actually make you realise the realities of life watching an adaptation of life. It’s not easy to escape from escapist cinema, and it surely must not feel good to defy feel-good cinema so bluntly. In spite of that, if someone has the courage to present a story and ideas like this, it is definitely commendable. On top of that, if the ideas are displayed so beautifully that they leave such an impact, there’s even more reason to compliment the maker. Some scenes in this movie really touch your heart enough to either break out a smile or bring tears to your eyes. Some of the scenes which registered the most impact are on my mind are:

- The child selling water on the railway platform- there aren’t any dialogues at all in this scene, but silence speaks louder than any words could ever do. Heart-wrenching sequence!

-The poor farmer explaining his problems to Mohan- One thing that really struck me about this scene, is the subtlety with which the culture of our country is presented. The farmer is poor and cannot afford to even pay his rent, but still when a guest enters his home, he feels honoured to be able to offer him at least a simple meal. Brilliant…

All scenes when Mohan returns to the US and realises he really belongs to his own country.

Like the direction and the story, other departments of the film are also up to the mark or above it. A special mention of the cinematography which is plain awesome in the way rural India is visually presented!

The Actors

Shahrukh Khan- Never more has this actor looked more like the character and less like the star! After almost a decade of watching his films, this is one of the Very few times when I forgot I was watching THE Shahrukh Khan and solely watching Mohan, the character. This certainly goes in the list of best performances ever!

Gayatri Joshi- For a debutante performance, playing the character of Geeta with so much conviction and confidence is really commendable! She looks fresh and presents the determined Geeta’s character beautifully. There is some scope for improvement of refining her expressions, but other than that…fine work!

Kishori Ballal- The role of Kaveriamma was tailor made for this lady! I cant picture anyone else doing it at all. She was adorable!

Amongst the supporting cast, I would like to mention Daya Shankar Pandey as Mela Ram (he was Hilarious!!),the kid Chiku played by Smit Sheth ( very cute!) and Rajesh Vivek as Nivaran. The rest of the cast lends able support too.

Continued in the comments section...

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