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Swades: We, the People
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Reviews & Ratings for
Swades More at IMDbPro »Swades: We, the People (original title)

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182 out of 194 people found the following review useful:

Take a bow, Ashotosh, Shahrukh and ARR

10/10
Author: bn0809 from Bangalore
20 December 2004

30 minutes after I had viewed the film on Sat, I was not sure about how I felt about this film. 48 hours hence, I vividly remember most of the scenes and can lucidly state that is truly 'haunting'.

Swades is not colorful; Shahrukh doesn't appear in a GAP or POLO SPORT; there are no introductory shots; there are no romantic scenes and no fields with yellow Tulip flowers; It may be a tad slow and lengthy; But Swades hits you where your heart hurts the most; patriotic and root feelings of an individual with good intentions overcoming societal obstacle. It's brilliant, heartfelt and touching. The 'We, People' film really makes us feel like it's our film. We see in the film what we see everyday, the places as they are. It's very much contemporary and it's our story.

Compared to Veer-Zaara, it's light years ahead. Comparisons with Lagaan are bound to be there, but in some ways it's even better than Lagaan. Primarily, for the authenticity and real-life feel unlike Lagaan which was a finely crafted fairly-tale. Lagaan is all about emerging victorious and fighting against the odds. You enjoy it when you see it. Swades is about the conscience trauma of an Indian, urging him to comeback and do something for his country. It haunts you for long enough after the cinema has ended.

There's a prejudice that the film is about bringing electricity to a small village. It's not. And the most poignant scene in the film, where we see a boy selling water for 25 paisa, hits you hard. Seeing the harsh reality and we'll find it difficult to suppress our tears. It's an answer to the generation of materialistic 'we', who never shy from proclaiming our great culture and tradition, but do nothing for our country.

The asset of the film is Shahrukh Khan, looking ordinary and real but in an extra-ordinary performance. His most real since 'Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa' and his career's best. ARR music is soulful and original. The theme song 'Yeh Jo Des Hai Mera' haunts both in terms of its visuals and wordings.

But above all, it's the good intention and the attention to detail, of director Ashutosh Gowarikar that makes wonders for this truly experimental and moving cinema.

I can and will definitely view this movie once more, to celebrate it feel and spirit. I can't predict its box office outcome, as the masses love fantasies and escapist cinema. But it's definitely a treat for those who want to see moving and believable films on a large scale. Also if we don't embrace different cinema like this or even 'the torturous but different Musafir' for that matter, we'll continue to get more 'Sarson ka Saag', 'Karva Chauths', 'Maahi Ve' filled designer romance fables from the Chopra-Johar clan!

Regardless of the box office outcome, take a bow Ashutosh, Shahrukh and ARR!

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79 out of 85 people found the following review useful:

Truly made from the heart

Author: Ajit Mahadevan from India
5 January 2005

Ashutosh Gowariker, has really made this movie straight from the heart. It has none of the ridiculous clichés one is typically used to seeing when one sees a story about an India returning home. He has captured something which perhaps no other Indian movie has - that love for ones country can be strong without making an excessively big deal about it.

It is a long movie. But I think the rather leisurely pace of the movie is required because it gives enough time for the protagonist, Mohan Bhargava, to come to India (with his mineral water and caravan) and start to fall in love with its beauty as well as understand its incongruities which frustrate us all as well. I thought there were three moments in the movie that captured it all

1. The feeling he gets when he starts to land in India. All of us feel it. I do even today. It's called coming home. 2. The mineral water - that is a classic. In fact it is a character of its own throughout the movie and plays its own part! 2. The boy serving water at 25paise to the train passengers and Mohan Bhargava's reaction

I am saddened that Indians both in India and around the world have not liked this movie. It will be remembered as an epic. 2.

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88 out of 103 people found the following review useful:

coming of age

10/10
Author: sabsinha from Kolkata, India
19 December 2004

Thank god for swades. Its been ever so often that as Indians we have lamblasted the mushy, one track nonsensical movies that were being churned out by bollywood and yearned for something slightly honest and celebral. And now it seems that the moment has arrived. Swades has finally reached the next level of Indian movie-making with the help of ashutosh, srk and rahman where the execution, the concept and the treatment of the film is at least (i can safely assume) close to world standards. There is no point comparing lagaan (the directors 1st movie) to this movie as his earlier venture was purely fiction with no semblance of realism in it. However this movie has so many ingredients of being a pathbreaker for Indian cinema that its almost scary. The feelings and expectations of an nri set aside, it tells the story of middle and upper class India losing touch with the harsh realities of the sufferings of the less fortunate ones all around us (and the fact that we can do very little to change the ongoing scenario is even more glaring and painful). Besides this the movie also deals with the desires and priorities of humans inspite of the trials and tribulations of daily living.

The maturity of the script, the actors and the score makes it a journey of epic proportions without it looking epic at all. The normalcy of the movie is something which might (and hopefully will) change the way cinema is seen and made in India in the future. One can only hope.

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77 out of 92 people found the following review useful:

One of the best films of the year.

10/10
Author: kkd470 from UK
19 December 2004

Saw it last night with a packed cinema and I must say Ashutosh Gowariker has done it again. Nice storyline, little slow but he knows how to make a thoughtful film. Really made me think about being an NRI.

Great songs, with A.R Rahman Music of course. The actress Gayatri Joshi played her part very well and she looks very beautiful. Definitely a new star. Shah Rukh Khan well is Shah Rukh Khan, one of the best actors of our times and he can play pretty much any part.

Best film of the year. Watch it and it will make you think.

Its not a masala movie.Intelligent and Thought Provoking. 10/10

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79 out of 96 people found the following review useful:

realization

10/10
Author: aniruddha mukherjee from India
23 December 2004

Swades is not just a movie,it is a realization . Each n every people of our country must watch this movie . It is the best movie I have ever seen ( thinking of Mr Satyajit Ray movies also , I have seen all the movies of him ) . It is so down to earth that u don't even think that u are watching a movie . We must realize that we have to do something for this country....

Shahrukh Khan has done one of his best jobs in his lifetime....by selecting the movie as well as performance wise.....all the characters of the movie has done a brilliant job .

Plz watch this beautiful movie at least once .

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63 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

An Excellent Movie with an excellent backdrop

10/10
Author: purnendu from India
11 January 2005

A worth watching Movie by Ashutosh Gowariker.

Leaves a impression on mind after you have seen the movie.

Though there are technical faults in the storyline yet those can be left aside on the backdrop of a heart-touching theme. A theme for the people who are leaving their countries / states in search of a better life without realising the fact that they can create a better living environment at home itself.

An insight on the problems of India whose underdeveloped part is somehow or other responsible for itself for the underdevelopment. The social jinx in the rural India which should have been broken long before are now hampering the progress of the villages.

The movie is another Gem after Lagaan in the collection of Ashutosh and Indian Cinema as a whole.

Great Job by Shahrukh. Exquisite appearance by Gayatri. Grand Show by Ashutosh.

Purnendu

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57 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

Deftly covers a wide spectrum of themes - an excellent achievement

10/10
Author: eyes_on_the_judas from London, UK
17 December 2004

As an Indian born in another country I felt myself agreeing with Sharukh's character at times, and this empathy led me to enjoy this movie thoroughly. Despite the odd gratuitous song (popcorn break for me) with rather over-the-top lyrics this movie covered a tremendous amount of ground, from dealing with one's identity to the delicate trade-off between material ambitions and spiritual fulfillment, as well as the importance and drawbacks to preserving an ancient culture. I feel these themes were handled deftly by the director, but don't expect a Lagaan - this movie shines for different reasons, however, I can expect stubborn fans of the "traditional" Indian movie formats to be a little put off. The film certainly has a more modern flair fused with traditional elements - which to me, was a refreshing change.

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56 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

nothing short of a standing ovation ! A marvellous Indian cinematic experience ...

10/10
Author: infinityToHeaven from United States
18 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Action, Thrillers, Drama, Romance, Comedy, "Crossovers", "Art Cinema" & finally Bollywood cinema. Nothing comes closer to the feeling of watching a good cinema these days & ironic is the fact that seldom there is a genre created for "Good Cinema".

Here comes Swades - Ashutosh Gowariker, post Lagaan,. with an optimism unparalleled with his vision & passion., always aiming at the roots of

traditional movie making. This time, he brings home one of the most humble yet convincing attempts in Indian cinema., with a script just short of a patriotic saga, characters reflecting India TODAY. Set in modern day India but taking a village backdrop, Swades is a film that tackles the issues that every educated upper class, specially the NRIs face today - a sense of belonging, Patriotism & having a realistic image of our country. Depicting through a NASA scientist (NRI) & taken the journey through the annals of an Indian village, a quest for finding his childhood nanny becomes an infinite journey that perhaps everyone of us go through metamorphically ...

in finding an Indian amongst us.

Mohan, (SRK) a successful NRI working in Nasa, realises the bitter truth of loneliness, often seen in today's growing spearation of Indians abroad. He wants to go home, nostalgic in search of his missing childhood & all he can remember last is, he is ashamed of losing contact with his nanny, who he holds with great reverence. (Parents die in an accident when he's young & his nanny has always taken good care of him). In a quest to find her & bring her back to US.,Mohan sets to Delhi in great pursuit & in the interim traces her residence in a distant UP town. What follows later is a series of interestingly woven characters that slowly builds upon a template for the fictional yet realistic characters of this village. The postmaster, a dhaba cook who dreams of opening a "highway dhaba" in US., the playful innocent kids., the beautiful urban educated girl (Gita)., now taking care of his nanny, who has given up everything to teach the children of the village & transform her ideals, the panchayat goons & rajas., the 'weather forecaster', the uneducated rest & of course, the wise nanny.

The next few reels bring us close to humanitarian essentials, questioning the very existence of the Panchayat System in the village, debating the needs of an education System, need for working in unision., & the utter poverty, cultural (dis)beliefs of people. Whats so convincing in this script is how the songs are used as an instrinsic part of the storytelling. Never before I have seen a Hindi movie wherein if songs were removed the movie is annulled !! Yet another reason how visionary ar rahman can be when it comes to sharing the intellect of his directors, not to mention the first class lyrics by javed akhtar. Some of the background tracks are an absolute delight (the funky starting sequence, the funny dhoti scene, the slow moving boat scene, train scene are some of the elements which cannot be fathomed by any other music director in India (or perhaps in the world).

100 minutes pass by & here comes the intermission. The audience stays in silence., no word comes from anybody, see each others faces & probably are asking themselves - "Damn its been more than one & half hour & I just didn't realised it!!!"

-Just one more reason which convinces you, "Good scripts never tell you how long they are ... coz you're IN it!"

Now., Mohan is trying to convince his nanny to come to US & its already getting late as his leave period is getting over. In the interim there's a subtle but very interesting chemistry between Mohan & Gita building up. Not to worry.., this is not those typical filmi kinda romances but shot in subtle nice sequences. Another note which can goto all the Directors, Music Video Directors - You don't need a woman to sport a bikini to look good.., neither you need Aishwairya Rai or Yana Gupta to champion the cause of an "Item No". The very meaning of beauty lies in our own traditional Saree & you will only realise when you see Gita's character & visuals in this movie. PERFECT.

The Plot thickens & now we see the transformation is not only in the villager's to start believing in Mohan's ideals ., in supporting his ideas... but the audience which by now is beginning to be ashamed of .... what we always have taken into granted - Our Patriotism. For instance, the scene where Mohan goes to a local crowded train. Sees a boy selling water for 25p on the pavement & for the first time drinks water in India (Mohan keeps a stack of mineral water at his dispose) is is crafted brilliantly. (not to forget the background score again). There are more than one reasons why this movie is perhaps different from other "patriotic" movies., coz it doesn't try to TEACH you anything. The subtlety, the ironic truth & the bitter, realistic characters makes it all so very close to humanity - you don't need Shah Rukh Khan to tell you this.

You will feel it shamelessly.

Few more days stay & now Mohan is beginning to question the very reason why he has come here, he begins to realise that what is happening is not correct & its a shame that he has not done anything so far to make a transformation.

Will Mohan finally take his nanny/Geeta to US? Does he make any attempt to make a transformation in the village? Well., whats the message the Director wants to convey ..

These are somethings I want YOU to see & appreciate. The brilliant dialogues of "India Vs US" ., "Parampara & culture .. " is just an eye opener to all of us who only tend to take things into granted.,

The performances - I don't quite agree with most people when they say SRK steals the show all the way., I feel Ashutosh steals the show given that he has produced, directed, written & done screenplay for this. Also go due credits to ar rahman, akhtar & all the characters in the film. Mohan's role is author backed & could have possibly been done by Amir, Ajay Devgan or even Anil Kapoor with equal if not a better flair.But yes, whats convincing is that Ashotosh ropes in SRK for this & gets ... what probably is the most honest, *natural* SRK performance ever. For the first time I've seen SRK making a successful attempt to be as convincing as Amir or Kamal Hassan & I would say for once., A star has become an ACTOR!

Yes SRK is definitely different in this film & I'm glad !!! I hope he makes more such films to prove that he is definitely a better actor.

Breaking quite a few clichés of a "run of the mill" bollywood flick, this 3 hour tale raises a few embarrassing questions., which I'm sure every viewer will beg to ask in the transition ..

- Why are'nt such movies never made in India?

- How come Shah Rukh has acted so convincingly in a role contrast to his traditional romantic flick?

- Am I the only one questioning my patriotism right now ?? (well ... err let me see ...)

We blame the Bollywood not knowing that we are a part of encouraging it's cinema ... we only crib about how bad movies are made & we make movies like K3G all time biggest hits. In a country where creativity is the last word in Bollywood, I salute the humblest & honest filmmaker of all - Mr Ashutosh Gowariker to have made this movie cutting all the clichés'

A GREAT FILM MAKER is born ... LETS CELEBRATE.

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55 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

Different treatment of Patriotism,

Author: misijafz from United Arab Emirates
17 December 2004

Definitely a thoughtful movie. Thanks to Gowariker, gives an insight to the rural parts of India, their lifestyle, concise outlook… Different treatment of Patriotism, AG is quick to know the pulse of his viewers,

SRK has done a brilliant job. I'd read, a leading director who commented on him, that he comes in a package with best designers, director, music, best locations on shoot etc. etc…, I strongly recommend him to watch this movie, and would like to know what he could say to this. It was good and a big change to see SRK dancing with children. Star SRK has transformed into character, good!!!. AG has carried simplicity in every angle of the film.

Another good thing is the casting, Ashutosh deserve a big applause for this, all faces were apt for the character. Visuals, music, cinematography in short the whole crew a big applause, you guys had done a wonderful job.

Truly anticipate seeing such movies .

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62 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Well Done but..

9/10
Author: prashanth from Chennai, India
17 December 2004

This is one of the most thought provoking movies to come out of Bollywood in recent times. I loved the characters of pretty much everyone in the movie but felt that all the good work was little bit undone by the length. Yes, Lagaan was long too but then it had a cricket match running and that was enough to maintain the intensity. However, it has to be said that AR Rehman's background score especially during the scenes when Shahrukh Khan travels by train and boat is nothing short of brilliant.

The movie also fell a little short in that it failed to address all the ideas about India that it raised. However, I am giving it high ratings because the script is good and fresh and the director has done his job passionately.

Its good to see Gowariker doing movies close to his heart and not falling for the "mass-hit" formula which many other promising directors have done.

Prashanth

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