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Swades movie review

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Cast Shahrukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Raja Awasthi, Vishwa S. Badola    more...
Director Ashutosh Gowariker
Drama / General.

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The Swades Movie Review

By Nitika Desai
Rating: 3/5

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 in which people live in poor conditions, practice their traditions, follow age-old customs and are ignorant and gullible. But still, these people carry a heart of gold and a desire for self-change and better tomorrow.

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.

Coming from a filmmaker whose previous flick was nominated in the Oscars (for Best Foreign Film), Swades is a bit disappointing. The problem is not with movie's theme, but the way it has been approached and presented. Many times the characters in the movie are made to verbally say the things that might have made more impact if shown subtly with visuals.

However, it is Shahrukh's 'smaller-than-his-usual-self' acting that makes the film watchable. 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.

What mars Swades is its continuous preachy tone that only trivializes that noble message that the movie aimed at giving. The three-hour-plus movie, punctuated with melodious songs by A.R. Rahman, is worth watching once only. You will guaranteed be bored the second time.

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