Swades – A Review

Lagaan for the 21st Century – nice try..but..no

Cinematography? Excellent. I love the shot of of the outside of the Air India plane, with Shahrukh inside it. The scenery, a very nice shot of Delhi, for once, e.t.c Good stuff.

Music? It’s Rahman. Duh.

Parth – this is my blog – so I can say that for once SRK has actually put in a reasonable amount into his acting. More so than anything else of his that I have seen recently – last seen in Main Hoon Na – EWWWWWWW.

The woman, dammit I’ve forgotten her name, appears in lots of ads and side roles in movies or TV I think. She looks really good in this movie, and she can definitely act too.

This movie will be a failure, however – well the NRIs may like it, even of that I’m not sure. The one thing the bollywood audience despises is an attempt to show reality, and then show that there may actually be some hope to improve that reality. Bollywood is all about escaping your daily grind. You can’t go and tell that audience – hey let’s try and improve your life! Where are the naked dancing girls? Where are the villains which exist in comic books? Where is the dancing round the trees? Hello? Where are the subliminal messages telling us that socialism is good, capitalism is evil, poor people have golden hearts, and rich people are all superficial twats with loose morals, and have earned their money illegally?

Sorry none of that here. Just the idealistic story of an NRI/ABCD coming back, and trying to help his country. I have no objections to that. But it’s cheesy. And it drags at points. Some of the statements made throughout the movie are sensible, and commonly held views by all and sundry. But there are lots of parts I disagree with.
This NRI says that India has been left behind because of internal squabbling. I disagree. He says that India and America are two countries that are poles apart and that the thing holding India back is its traditions and its ancient, conservative ways. Firstly, I see a LOT more similarities between India and America than differences. I believe it is the failure of Indians to see those similarities that holds us back. Second, yes, tradition and conservative ways can be a hindrance, but as Japan will testify, some of those traditions can produce a World Power too.

Anyway, it’s slow and draggy, and its heart is in the right place. But that’s about it. You have your usual slew of village characters, and they all do a good supporting job, but this movie lectures a bit more than it should, and entertains a little less, despite some decent humour here and there. Audiences in India are attuned to detecting preaching in their movies – and they sumarrily reject it. So there u have it. Nice try, Ashutosh and Shahrukh. But no. Of course, I could be wrong and this movie may be a blazing hit, but I seriously doubt it. After all, I’m just one more voice from a 2.5-world country.

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