(Last Updated on : 19-04-2014)
The Indian film, 'Swadesh', is a film by Ashutosh Gowariker that stars Shahrukh Khan and Gayatri Joshi. Music in the film is given by A. R. Rahman and lyrics are penned down by Javed Akhtar. This is a tribute to the people of the country by the director. The film is also released in Tamil language with the title 'Desam'. Swades happens to be the first Indian film to be actually shot inside the NASA research center at the Launch Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center of NASA in Florida. To add to the authenticity of his film, Gowariker actually wanted to shoot the scene in the NASA space center rather than on a set. Shahrukh Khan works on a rainfall monitoring satellite known as the Global Precipitation Measurement i.e. GPM in the film, which is lifted into an orbit aboard a Space Shuttle. GPM is an actual NASA mission, currently scheduled to launch in 2007. The tale of the film 'Swadesh' is inspired by the story of Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi, the NRI couple. They returned to India and developed the pedal power generator to light remote, off-the-grid village schools.
Synopsis of the Indian movie 'Swadesh'
The story of 'Swadesh' is very inspiring as it tells the story of a true Indian. Mohan Bhargava played by Shahrukh Khan is the Project Manager for NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement Satellite Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and a Non-Resident Indian or NRI. On the death anniversary of his parents', he decides to take a small vacation to visit his home country and that is India. He eventually visits his childhood ayah i.e. nanny or amah named Kaveriamma played by Kishori Ballal. He wants to bring her to the United States to live with him. Upon reaching India, he visits an ashram to look for Kaveriamma but discovers that she was taken to a village called Charanpur by a young woman. He tries to go the Charanpur but he doesn't know the way. Consequently he meets a young woman played by Gayatri Joshi in a bookstore who gives him directions to Charanpur. After arriving he finds Kaveriamma, and discovers that the woman in the bookstore is his childhood friend, Gita, who took Kaveriamma to the village. Gita is a teacher in the local school and lives in the village with her younger brother and Kaveriamma. Mohan soon takes to the little village and its people. The village environment is very good but during his stay he witnesses discrimination based on caste, profession, and also gender. He tries to convince people in the village to allow the low-caste boys and girls to finish their education. After initial reluctance, all villagers agree to Mohan's decision and saying.
The film progresses to show how Mohan pleases himself to the local people. However, one night, Gita confronts him and accuses him of coming to Charanpur only to take away Kaveriamma from her, so that he could have someone to cook and clean for him back home in the United States. Mohan denies the latter, and says that he wants to take Kaveriamma to the US so that she could live a comfortable life. Kaveriamma overhears this conversation between Mohan and Gita, and decides to let Mohan know of the ground realities in his homeland. He is sent on a trip by Kaveriamma to visit a farmer in a far away village who is living on a property owned by Gita and has not paid the rent. Upon reaching his home, Mohan discovers that the farmer was once a weaver who, due to unfavorable conditions, decided to give up his profession and become a farmer. This decision was rejected by the village elders who did not believe a weaver should change his profession. He soon fell onto hard times, complicated by the fact that he was denied water to irrigate his crops by the other villagers during the drought period and was generally shunned. Mohan takes a look at the emaciated man, his equally miserable family and his pitiable condition and cannot bring himself to ask for the rent. Instead, he himself gives the man some money, and leaves the place with considerable sorrow in his heart.
Mohan is enormously disturbed by this visit and decides to become more deeply involved in helping those around him. Till now he is unaware of the facts that these things are happening here. In a get-together at the local school, the village elders ask Mohan about America, its technological advancements and its society. In the course of the conversation, one of the elders says that whatever be the nature of America and its progress, India has its history and its culture that is far superior to anything in the world. This bothers Mohan, who asks the villagers about how long they were going to harp about past laurels and ignore the realities of present. He tries to shake the village folk out of their shock by telling them that they have been accepting their socio-economic status quo for far too long, and that it's time to make a change. The elders, taken aback at his sudden hostility, argue with him, but Mohan simply says that all he knows is that a poor man somewhere is starving because a caste-ridden society won't allow him to change his profession. At a night of celebration during Ram leela which is a festival that marks the return of Lord Ram from exile and just at that time the electricity goes out in the village. This action is very much usual in that village. The village people think nothing of it, but Mohan is disgusted with their attitude. He comes up to them and asks the sarpanch or leader to give him a hundred men. When asked why, he says that there's a perennial spring on the hill near the village, and that he wants to utilize the spring to generate electricity, thus making the village self-sufficient. He plans to build a reservoir to collect the water and bring it downhill via pipes to a turbine, which would then generate electricity. After some dilemma in their mind the village elders grant his request and Mohan begins working, continuing his NASA project side-by-side. The film shows the progress of both of Mohan's projects intertwined with his growing feelings for Gita, which she reciprocates.
Finally, the big day arrives and the entire village gathers around to see the fruits of their labor. Mohan asks his assistant to open the valve, and water starts to impinge onto the turbine rotors. As the voltmeter approaches 230V which is the Standard AC voltage in India, people wait with controlled breath. But inexplicably, after 210V, the voltage starts going down and the turbine starts slowing, much to the disappointment of everyone. Mohan runs up to the reservoir to see if all valves are properly open. After seeing that they are, he removes his shirt and jumps into the reservoir, and comes out with a lump of weeds that were blocking the entrance to the outgoing pipe. With the obstruction out of its way, water again starts flowing freely in the pipe, and the turbine whirls faster and faster. Again, everyone watches, and this time, the voltmeter hits 230V, making the light bulb that has been placed in a hut at the bottom of the hill glow, much to the joy of the old lady in the hut, as well as every villager present. However, their joy is short-lived because Mohan announces that he has to go back to America. Kaveriamma declines to go with him which is an eventuality that Mohan has guessed by now. The most hurt by his decision is Gita, who too refuses to move to America. Oh his last day, everyone bids him a tearful adieu except Gita, who's not present. She is waiting for him some distance away from the village. She breaks down and gives him a small gift to remember his village and his country. They share an emotional goodbye and Mohan leaves in his RV to Delhi and from then onto the US.
In the US, his NASA project manager and colleagues are waiting for him to come back and take over the project i.e. the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite. The film then shows Mohan's NASA project progressing rapidly, but interspersed within the NASA scenes are flashbacks of his stay in India. He cannot seem to forget the incidents in India. He gets more pensive by the day and any reference to India seems to make him nostalgic. Visions of Gita, Kaveriamma, the village and its people haunt him constantly. He confides in his friends or colleagues that he is thinking of going back to India but his friend thinks that he is being foolishly romantic. Finally, Mohan's project is completed and his satellite gets launched. Immediately afterward, he tenders his resignation, much to the dismay of his friend and boss. The film has a happy ending where Mohan has been seen back in his village in India. He is quite happy and shown playing a friendly wrestling round with the local postmaster. Mohan is back to his girlfriend also whom he never could forget. Mohan is surrounded by all the people in the village where he shares his stories of America with the village people.
Cast and Crew of the film 'Swadesh
The star cast of the Indian film 'Swadesh' includes Shahrukh Kahn and Gayatri Joshi in pivotal roles supported with Markand Deshpande. The movie is directed, written and produced by Ashutosh Gowariker. A. R. Rahman gives the music in the film whereas cinematography is done by Mahesh Aney.
Awards for 'Swadesh'
The movie is real award winner as it has won many awards and also hearts of millions of people. The movie has got filmfare awards as best actor and also best background score. It was also nominated for many awards such as best director, best film, best lyricist, best music director, best playback singer female and best playback singer male. In Global Indian Film Awards the film got best actor and best newcomer award. The movie got national award for best male playback singer. Ashutosh Gowariker got national special jury award while Mahesh Anay got national film award for cinematographer. The movie was also nominated for three more national awards such as best director, best film and best story. Gayatri Joshi got Zee Cine award as best female debut, she also got Star Screen award and Bollywood movie award as most promising newcomer in the female category. Shahrukh khan got best actor award in film café awards. He also got Rupa Cinegoers awards for jury best actor.