Watched “Swades” once again. The movie released in 2004 but its magic is intact and will be in near future. Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, Swades has Shah Rukh Khan as leading actor in the character of “Mohan Bhargava”. Movie is about an NRI who works in US and comes to India to take her mother-like “Kaveri Amma”.
I guess since many of us who are following Bollywood more passionately than average movie going audience, I suppose most of us have watched the movie. Hence, I will not go into the story of the movie, rather I will share some thoughts or you can term qualities of the movie.
Swades comes across as a honest movie and as honest attempt from the team. Its not just a movie, which is made for 3 hours of entertainment or a reason to pass time. It’s a phenomenon. It highlights the problem which a resident Indian and a non-resident Indian goes through, through the eyes of a non-resident. When one finishes watching the movie, there is a message and the message for all was loud and clear. Before discussing about what one takes with him/her after the movie, I would like to share some thoughts which I observed about the impeccable direction. The following are some finer points, which many of the makers would have over-looked or erred or ignored but not Ashutosh Gowarikar –
1. SRK travelling to New Delhi at the start shows him travelling in an Air India Aircraft. The seat belonged to Business Class and it is exactly same as Air India, Business Class actual seat in its aircraft. Reason – I have travelled in an AI, Business Class.
2. SRK using an old and rusty calculator at his friend Rahul’s store. Any director would have used a new calculator which costs 450 Rs. But natural, as the director wanted and he gave natural look to all.
3. The movie is shot at a remote village near Mahabaleshwar area of Maharashtra state. People shown in the movie are actually the residents of the village. They were converted into virtual actors for the movie. The locations, houses, huts and surroundings are “actual and real” and its not a “Set”.
4. Considering the movie was shot in Maharashtra, the vehicle (Caravan) which SRK uses has Delhi’s name plate, because the movie has Charanpur in Uttar Pradesh and SRK starts his journey from Delhi.
5. SRK is using his 4 shirts and 4 pants in all of the scenes shot in India. He uses his 4 pair of dresses repeatedly in the movie. How easy it is for an actor to order a new pair of dress? Instead, the makers sticked to the concept of perfection, as an NRI Mohan was not carrying much of dresses with him when he goes to Charanpur.
6. Kaveri Amma is shown as giving bath to a newly born baby. For all, who have not watched how a baby is given bath in rural areas, just watch that act of Kaveri Amma. I know it because my childhood was spent in almost as same as village as Charanpur.
7. The books which Gita (Gayatri Joshi) purchased in a store, are actually subjects of any Primary School in Maharashtra.
8. And now the most important part. Any director would have chosen any concept about Mohan Bhargava’s (SRK) professional life. But here the director chose Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Project under NASA in USA. Just for the record, NASA would be actually launching the GPM Project in 2014 and it has exactly the same objectives as shown in the movie. For that purpose, NASA actually provided the makers with this information and they were allowed to shoot in the NASA headquarters.
Those were some finer points about the movie. The above goes to show the minuteness with which the makers have given due consideration to every concept and scene.
Now I would to share some important message which the movie tries to give or highlights some of the problems which the country is facing. Following are some of such issues which movie touches –
1. Children leaving their parents or grandparents on chance and they have to take shelter of old age home.
2. Women not being considered as able as men.
3. Girls are do have as much privileges with respect to education, compared to boys.
4. Child marriage is still a practice in many villages of India.
5. Castism is solidly intact. In fact it had never been considered as problem. Peoples rights depend on where you are born, rather than what you do.
6. Illiteracy is a stumbling block even in today’s time. Though there have been many programs to improve educational system, it has been limited only to few places.
7. Farmers being exploited by landlords for violating the provisions of contract, which are never favorable to a farmer to start with.
8. Middle-men eating more than 60% of the money. Products which are grown/made/produced/manufactured in remote areas has always been prey of middle-men in India. The actual makers or service providers getting far less than their due.
9. Lack of basic infrastructure, electricity in particular in far places of India. In some parts of India, the load-shedding is such that people get electricity for as less as 6 hours!
10. Faulty Government machinery. Actual programs not benefiting common man. Any benefit or program starts from top and before it reaches bottom, it is absorbed in middle. In other words – Corruption.
Those were some points or message I took out from this movie. The strongest message I have kept at last. ”Apni Chaukhat Ka Diya aur Giving Light To Neighbors House”
When we always say that over 70% of Indian population lives in rural areas, this movie should actually win all kinds of accolades, awards and rewards. But it’s unfortunate that such an effort was never appreciated and was never given the popularity it deserved.
I had always maintained that “Swades” is not just a movie, it’s a phenomenon and hence is above ratings.