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Friday, March 11, 2005

Swades - Shah Rukh Khan's best ?

As a habit, I don't take other's opinions before seeing a movie - especially, if it is a movie that I want to see or if it contains my favorite stars. In the past, when I have listened to other's opinions, I have either felt miserable after seeing a very highly recommended movie or felt great after seeing a movie which was considered absolute rubbish by others. In some sense, it does make sense too - after all, how will anyone else know what I will like. Of course, if some calls some of the crap that Bollywood or Hollywood churn out as bad, then of course, there is no argument.

Curiously enough, I went against my habit and listened to other's opinions on Swades. Many of the people that I had talked to didn't have too good an opinion on it - too long, too preachy, why do they have to show the same thing again and again etc and etc. Also the box-office records were poor for the film and that just confirmed the belief that the movie was bad.

But when I watched the movie, I was in for a real pleasant surprise. The movie was not only good - it was excellent. The topic was good, the acting was good, the music was good, the romance was good. In fact, I could identify with the protagonist Mohan Bhargava to a large extent. I think Shah Rukh Khan might have given the performance of his life - the wide emotions that he displays especially when he feels the awakening inside him that something has to be done for India and that sitting in a corner and hoping that things will happen will actually not solve anything, are just too good. He is not his normal 'Kkkkkiiirrroooon' self here - he is quite mellow and gives a performance that befits the role of a NASA scientist without going overboard. I must also complement Ashutosh Gowarikar who, instead of jumping on the Lagaan bandwagon, decided to pursue a story that is so pertinent today, especially with the reverse brain drain happening.

There is a saying that a director's vision is successful if it can be proved that it has touched the heart of at least one viewer - well, it has mine for sure. Of course, the movie could have been made shorter by not preaching about India and how backward some sections of the country are. It does drag in such places - but if you overlook that and look at the concept in general, I think it is an honest effort and after seeing it, I am sure all of us (especially those staying abroad) will want to do something similar to Mohan Bhargava.

Ye jo des ha tera Swades hai tera ... tujhe hai pukara ...

Man ! - the lyrics by Javed Akhtar and the music score by Rahman are also haunting !

Check it out whenever you can !

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