Swadesh-My India


The Movie Swades

Swades, the movie, is an Indian film released in 2004. It was produced, written and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker and it has a famous Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan playing the lead role.


The plot of the film centres on the central character of Mohan Bhargava. Mohan is a non-resident Indian working with NASA and holding a highly rewarding and esteemed position. Having spent 12 years in the USA studying and working, he makes up his mind to take a leave from work and find his nanny back in India with whom Mohan had lost contact completely. Mohan meets several interesting people back in the village of Charanpur where his nanny now lives: the postmaster of the village who takes keen interest in wrestling and is curious about the internet and e-mails, the ex-freedom fighter and teacher at the village school who is the sole spokesman of reason among the conservative village elders, a so-called ‘low caste’ cook who dreams of running a dhaba in USA with the help of Mohan who could get him a visa.


Mohan eventually mingles himself with the life of the community and becomes endearing to the village people. However, he also has to encounter the darker realities of village life such as caste discrimination, illiteracy and child marriage as well as a general apathy to the need of education and positive change. Mohan tries his best to make the village elders come to his point of view and successfully dissuades them from shifting the school further away from the village. In this process, he earns love and respect from Gita who lives with his nanny and runs the local school.


Mohan is deeply touched and moved at the plight of Haridas who had borrowed their land on hire for farming. Mohan realises that the villagers had kept resisting Haridas’s attempts to change occupation to farming and that he has nothing to feed his family. Following this episode, Mohan leaves Haridas’s home giving some cash in his hands and becomes cognizant of the misery afflicting his country’s villages. He decides to do something for them and bring some improvement in their lives.


With some help from the villagers, Mohan makes use of a permanent spring in a near hill to construct a reservoir beneath it and spends his money on buying other equipments to set up a hydro-electric power plant. This plant is built successfully and the whole village becomes self-sufficient in terms of electricity. Mohan returns to USA only to finish his project and resign. His increasing sense of conscientiousness to his country and remorse for being unable to do much till then compel him to return to India.


Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swades