Tuesday, March 8, 2011

45 and counting...

Around 45 and still counting..no I’m not counting Sachin’s ODI centuries..neither am I keeping a track of Brad Pitt’s age..and definitely not watching Megan Fox’s weight..
I must have seen the movie SWADES some 45 times..and I’m not alone..as Wikipedia says it has a cult following in India and South Asia..
The time this movie released I must have been in class 12 or so..
When I first asked a few friends how the movie was their reply was “preachy and boring”
Truly what is one man’s meat is the other man’s poison ..and when I watched this movie..it turned out to be more than meat for me..It left me with an amazingly awe inspiring feeling..
Philosophical,patriotic,brooding,musical and definitely romantic
The “dehati(rustic)” in me was aroused...the beauty lied in the extreme simplicity of the script .. even though the movie was a bit long(194 minutes)
Ashutosh Gowarikar churned a fantastic screenplay...and I am sure all connoisseurs and people in their right minds will agree with me...
The brilliant and sensitive acting by Shah Rukh Khan in this movie just corroborates the fact that Khan knows the art of emoting...Gayatri Joshi plays her part with utter finesse...though she could have been better at emoting..
Her character as Geeta was very special because it was one of the rare occasions in which Bollywood took some pride in showing the lead female having a great deal of brain..that could be a good reason why it didn’t create a commercial success..after all there weren't “item numbers in dishabille state”

Geeta has a mind of her own..highly opiniated ..and crunches numbers with as ease as probably Shakuntala Devi that leaves the NASA scientist SRK woooed ..though having completed her education from DU..she believes she is doing her best for the country by working at the grassroot level by educating children..There is a scene where she snubs a marriage alliance because she wants to work after her marriage .
I personally think the National Literacy Mission or National Commission for Women should take up this scene as an ad campaign after all SRK is a household name..

Bhanu Athaiya(who won the Oscar for best costume design for Gandhi) has used great hues and dressed the characters in colours that gel so perfectly well with the plot.. who so ever thought sarees and salwar suits are a passé?
Geeta in her sarees and salwar suits is a sight to behold....and Mohan with his suave self epitomises the man any father would want his daughter to marry..The two character always agree to disagree..
There are good number of instances when they debate on what each of them is doing for the good of society...like when Mohan says how “you Indians keep defending yourself by using culture and tradition as shields” and when Gita says yes to Mohan’s marriage proposal but disagrees to settle in USA ..she even calls him “Non Returning Indian (NRI)”

Kaveri Amma’s role played Kishori Bala is stuffs most of our grandparents are made of..
Compassionate,wise but still obfuscated by “gen next”
I mean I was dumbstruck when A.R rahman won Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire.
It definitely wasn’t his magnum opus.Every movie is made of dialogues and scenes and background score
The jury should have listened to the background score of swades and also the songs.
Alas Rahman didn’t even win a desi filmfare for his work in Swades..He lost to none other than Copy Cat Anu Malik..
The soulful use of Shehnai in the title theme of Swades...and the simple humming that lends divinity to this track...Aaahh..
The lyrics by Javed Akhtar of the song “yun hi chala chal rahi”..my favourite lines being
“Har sapna sach lage, jo prem agan jale
Jo raah tu chale apne mann ki
Har pal ki seep se moti hi tu chune
Jo sada tu sune apne mann ki”..i wont translate these lines..theyll lose their essence..
Romantic undercurrents going in the movie..be it when Mohan is mesmerised by Geeta’s intelligence or when Geeta gives side glances at Mohan when the villagers are watching Zeenat Aman’s song “chura liya hai tumne jo dilko”
When Mohan heaves a sigh of relief when Geeta rejects her marriage alliance with someone else..
When Mohan is lost in awe of Geeta as she teaches him to tie the Dhoti..

or when he peeps by her window when she’s correcting papers..
Geeta confesses her love for Mohan when he’s busy working on hydroelectric project..
And the best of it when Mohan sweeps Geeta of her feet in her own classroom..

Coming to the strong social message the movie sends..

Ask not countrymen what the country can do for you..ask what you can do for the country.
For most of us who like to boast about our NRI relatives..
Mohan is appalled by the state of the country side ..but slowly in a matter of days gives up mineral water and his caravan..starts sleeping on the charpoy and bathes by the well..
Comes to know about the great divide between the haves and the have-nots..illiteracy.
The most poignant scene being the one in which the small boy is trying to sell water.

Mohan is shaken to see how villagers have become complacent with life in dark..when ironically one of them utters out “Ravana burning looks so splendid in the dark”
He starts on his mission of producing hydroelectric power.This is inspired by the true story of Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi, the NRI couple who returned to India and developed the pedal power generator to light remote, off-the-grid village schools...and he does it.
I remember my Mech Prof. Asking us about the turbine principle behind Swades? So there were others too appreciating the movie I thought.
When Mohan is called back to NASA folks in the village of charanpur are saddened .They don’t want him to go back ..One of them remarks “Its like apni hi chaukhat ka diya giving light to neighbour’s house”
At last Mohan goes back to NASA but isn’t happy there..he decides to come back to his SWADES..
And continue research at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
He’s thoroughly discouraged by his colleagues who say he’s being “foolishly romantic”
And when he submits his resignation to his boss ;his boss exclaims how he “could be going places”if he stayed with NASA
To which Mohan replies “I am going places” with a sparkle in his eyes...

I finish this blog with Swades being played in the background of my laptop.....still counting..


Kushal said...

heheheh Sneha...At 21 am quite behind :-( (JEALOUS!!)

Anonymous said...

:) nicely written. I liked 'ye tara, wo tara', there was something very simple about the song, its picturization. that scene in which villagers view the sky with the telescope and when he confronts the elderly of the village saying 'jab bhi hum race me pichhadne lagte hai to sanskriti ka sahara lene lagte hai'. To think of it, a very bold line of thought that not many films have dared to portray. Other cultures are just as good, just to appreciate it and not be smug about our own goes out great deal

funky-philosopher said...

swades is a msterpiece!! the only SRK movie, besides chak de, which beautifully postrays the story of the characters... the issues... i've seen swades only once... but its one of d most impact-making movies i ever came across...! well written post, backed wid substantial evidence :) (i agree wid d fact dat movies having brainy girls dont really tick :P )
refreshing post, inspiring movie, soul-stirring music!!

nidhi said...

welcm back sneha !! shrill the blogger ... loved it !! the muv was neways ma all tym fav bt yes u put this into words so beautifulyy ..rightly touched upon a sensitive issue!! ppl boastin of patriotism bt still cravin to go abroad n settle there !! 1nce again ..wel done :))

sophoannotating said...

Haa!! 45*3=135-3=132hrs. if u wud have done what u felt 4 the rest 132 hrs u wud have changed the lives of thousands around u with all that is in u. nice post btw :)

triloki nagpal said...

Nice post Shrill - made me re-live the beautiful movie...

him said...

sneha....we were in 12th when this movie released....:)
i stll remember all u had said then and all u r saying now is nothing less than what u had meant then. :)

( we just thot it was srk ..u know after kal ho na hao...who was doing the magic for you...but when i saw the movie myself....oh i loved it!!)

i truly believe in " ask not what country can do for you but what you can do for your country"

/-\nupriya /I/ayak said...

Niice...compelled me to watch d classic 1nce again!!!

barku said...

truly a great movie,i guess whenever we try to make a patriotic movie the best we can show is engaging in a fight with the neighboring country but i believe this one is of the best patriotics of all time . no matter what this is the best one i have ever come across .i would esp like to point out the smaller characters in the movie which give it an essence of a complete natural beings of the the village . the characters are fantastic esp the postman and his break away line when he says "hum bhi thodi angrezi jaantey hai WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?"or be it the weather man who by lookin at the sky determines the climate for the rest of the day only to realize later on that sharukh too was doin the same thing at NASA.or be it the rasoiya who dreams of opening a dhabba in the us at freeways only to realize later on that "apne ghar ka chirag and giving light to neighbors house " FANTASTIC MOVIE.

Atul Prasad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Atul Prasad said...

Good one Sneha...

The movie is indeed a masterpiece and your blog awesomely describes the elements of the movie.
The movie is thoughtful and I would like to mention Javed Akhtar for his thoughtful lyrics:
"Mann se Ravan jo nikaale Ram uske mann mein hai"!!!
"Har sapna sach lage, jo prem agan jale, jo raah tu chale apne mann ki.."
"Jo Kisaan Hal Sambhaale, Dharti Sona Hi Ugaaye
Jo Gowaala Gaiya Paale, Dudh Ki Nadi Bahaaye
Jo Lohaar Loha Dhhaale, Har Auzaar Dhhal Jaaye
Mitti Jo Kumbhaar Uthhaale, Mitti Pyaala Ban Jaaye
Sab Ye Roop Hai Mehnat Ke, Kuchh Karne Ki Chaahat Ke
Kissi Ka Kissi Se Koyi Bair Nahin
Sab Ke Ek Hi Sapne Hain, Socho Toh Sab Apne Hain
Koyi Bhi Kissi Se Yahaan Ghair Nahin
Seedhi Baat Hai Samjho Yaara"

the list is endless...

And guess what?? Swades' background score has been my ringtone for over a year now :)

Anonymous said...

are there more like you

Manish Kumar said...

Nice post Sneha ! I have seen it on TV . I also love yun hi chala chal & ye tara wo tara. Still both these songs remain etched to the memory.

Ritwik said...

Watched it almost as many times as you i guess.. and yes totally a cult following and it should be.. it deserves much more.. its the one of the only two movies from bollywood, in recent times ie, which u can watch over and over without ever getting tired of it. the other one obvly being "dil chahta hain".. changed the way films in India were made.. again a cult following..