December 17th, 2004



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A successful Indian scientist returns to an Indian village to take his nanny to America with him and in the process rediscovers his roots.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 8.2/10 (10,958 voted)

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Balal

Set in modern day India, Swades is a film that tackles the issues that development throws up on a grass root level. It is to this India, which is colorful, heterogeneous and complex that Mohan Bhargava (Shah Rukh Khan), a bright young scientist working as a project manager in NASA, returns to on a quest to find his childhood nanny. The film uses the contrast between the highly developed world of NASA, which has been at the forefront of advances in space research, and this world back home in India, which is at the crossroads of development. Mohan's simple quest becomes the journey that every one of us goes through in search of that metaphysical and elusive place called "home".

Writers: M.G. Sathya, Ashutosh Gowariker

Shah Rukh Khan - Mohan Bhargav
Gayatri Joshi - Gita
Kishori Balal - Kaveri amma
Smith Seth - Chiku (as Master Smith Seth)
Lekh Tandon -
Rajesh Vivek - Nivaran Dayal Shrivastav
Daya Shankar Pandey - Mela Ram
Farrukh Jaffar - Fatima Bi
Vishnudutt Gaur -
Raja Awasthi -
Vishwa S. Badola -
Bhim Vakani -
Rahul Vohra - Vinod (as Rahul Vora)
Rajesh Balwani -
Bachan Pachehra -

Taglines: We, the people


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 17 December 2004

Filming Locations: Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

Opening Weekend: $424,804 (USA) (19 December 2004) (74 Screens)

Gross: $1,223,240 (USA) (6 February 2005)

Technical Specs

Runtime: India:  | USA:

Did You Know?

Ashutosh Gowariker originally wanted Hrithik Roshan to play the lead role but he declined. The role then went to Shah Rukh Khan.

Revealing mistakes: Mohan Bhargav, the project manager for Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) at NASA, works towards launch preparations of the man-made GPM satellite. However, in the launch sequence towards the end of the movie, the lift-off footage shown is that of a Space Shuttle, such as the Discovery, which is meant to take humans to space.

Fatima Bi: Apne hi paani me mil jaana barf ka muqqadar hota hai.

User Review

Take a bow, Ashotosh, Shahrukh and ARR

Rating: 10/10

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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