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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Swades: My comments

I have been wanting to make a post on this movie called Swades for a long time. But I have always been distracted by the topics of interest and never seemed to have any time or mood. But now, here's my chance. It's one of my favourite movies. For the synopsis of the movie, go to this site.

Many of the sites that offer a review of Swades have either made it sound mundane or very great. Eventhough it's a documentary-movie, I think Swades is a consciousness-raiser for all those who live overseas without any knowledge of what is India like at the level of the grassroots. Be it the Indians or foreigners. In the case of the Indians, their ancestors have migrated to US, UK or other overseas countries in search of a better living. So most of the Indians brought up there know nothing about their roots in India. Not even what kind of a country is India. Some do take the effort to know about their distant 'motherland'. But not all of them. Not to mention the number of foreigners, who totally misunderstand or have a gross misconception/generalization about Indians and India.

At the same time, I'm not suggesting that this movie will reach everyone of this supposedly targetted audience and touch their hearts. Bollywood is quite famous in US and Shah Rukh Khan is quite a well-known personality among a lot of Malays here in Singapore and Malaysia, as far as I know. Therefore, such a movie will definetely have an impact, regardless of its scale, on these ignorant people, with it's touching scenes and repeatedly conveyed messages. I know a handful of my other ethnic friends who have watched the movie and have good comments about it. Ignoring the fact that its such a long movie, of course.

I myself was not aware of these issues in India as I didn't stay there long enough. I came to Singapore when I was 9. I've lived here in Singapore for 10 years and I know about the Japanese Occupation and Malaysia-Singapore merger. But not so much about Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, why they celebrate Republic Day, the caste discrimination and so on. I did find out more about them after I was exposed to this movie. So afterall, there is no mystery why the Indian reviewers of this movie find it so cliched. Because I don't find it cliched at all. For me and for others like me, this movie is or must have been an eye-opener.

Other than all these comments I have, the movie is not so boring from my point of view. In fact, I've watched this movie for three times now, sitting through the whole movie. I love all the songs and their meanings. The songs are better in Hindi compared to in Tamil. Khan's acting was really good. His dialogue deliveries were good. A.R. Rahman has left his permanent mark once again in my heart and all others'.

So it proves that its all in the eyes and mind of the beholder. While I find this movie not-so-boring and not-so-cliched, most of them do find it that way. I can't help them. Neither can I help myself feeling that way:P

1 comments:

Thilak said...

Except for SRK's acting, the movie was pretty decent. It was preachy and you could sense Gowarikar's compiling skills with sentiment-evoking tools like ex-weaver-turned-farmer, platform-water-boy and child marriage. SRK's transformation is something I could identify with, but it's more of a 'temporary-feeling'. Like I went to my village, I felt sad to see few kids who played all day without a half-decent meal and there are no schools in my village, children need to travel miles through marshy roads to the nearby town for getting education. Infact we had a school many years ago, but there used to be only three teachers (and none of them looked like the lady in the movie, they know to teach basic stuff I guess). Now I feel that passion to change things but when I came back to Chennai, the age-old selfishness just crept in and I didn't feel like going back to help them. I guess thats where you can demarcate between movies and reality. But I acknowledge the rarity portrayed. Not many NASA scientists come back to the country let alone help the people around. BTW In the very beginning SRK reminded me of my poor (ppt) presentations in college.

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