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Swades: The homecoming
17th Dec 2004  23.30 IST
By Nitika Desai  


Ashutosh Gowarikar's movie Swades invokes the feeling of love for one's country by telling the story of an India-born NASA scientist who returns to his country to find his roots.

Starring Shah Rukh Khan , newcomer Gayatri Joshi , Kishori Ballal, Makrand Deshpande and a good number of other actors, Swades takes a viewer through the heartland of rural India, revealing its beauty and the diversity of its people.




But, despite the noble intention that underscores the theme of Swades, and despite the presence of a superstar who, for the first time, comes forth as an actor rather than a star, Ashutosh Gowarikar 's film turns out to be a preachy discourse rather than an entertaining and thought provoking film.

The trouble with Swades is that the same point is driven home so many times from different ways that the movie becomes an exposition on morality and the need for the 'educated, modern and privileged' to do their bit for those still living in complete ignorance at the grassroot level in Indian villages.

Highlighting the contradictions of modern India, the movie tells the tale of a NASA project manager who comes to India to find his nanny. His nostalgic trip soon turns for him into the discovery of the colors and contradictions of rural India.

Swades shows the gradual transition in this ambitious, NASA-returned Indian from an indifferent yuppie to a man who begins to genuinely feel for the simple people in villages and eventually leads them into making a dam that would provide electricity to their village.

It is Shahrukh's 'smaller-than-his-usual-self' acting that makes the film worth watching. For the first time he has genuinely got under the skin of his character and not overplayed it, as he normally does.

Gayatri Joshi is certainly commendable, considering that this is her first film. Kishori Ballal is delightful and Makrand Deshpande's presence is too marginal.





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