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Director : Music : Lyrics : Starring :
Nitin Arora, Sony Chandy
Juhi Chawla, Mithun Chakraborty, Manoj Bajpai, Amey Pandya
By Martin D'Souza, Bollywood Trade News Network
Stories told from the heart always make a point. Movies made with honest intentions always stand out. SWAMI is one such movie.
SWAMI is everybody’s story – your story, my story, our parents’ story. Moving from the village to the city of dreams. That’s what Swami (Manoj Bajpai) and Radha (Juhi Chawla) do. SWAMI is also the story of how a son respects and honours his father. SWAMI also tells a story of how our aged parents should be taken care of. SWAMI is also a story of how some parents even in their old age, without selfish motives, make way for their child to soar higher. SWAMI is a lesson for today’s youngsters on how to treat parents. It’s also a lesson for parents on how not to play the ‘emotional blackmail’ card.
Manoj Bajpai is moulded into the character with precision and the actor follows the director’s cue to the ‘T’. As the loving husband, doting father and proud grandfather, Manoj passes the test of time. He does not let the simple values of the village life corrupt his mind in the city, nor does he let his son, played by debutant Maninder, lose his focus and principles. His desire to own a rocking chair, Juhi’s gesture of buying the same from the money saved for her operation, and his daughter-in-law selling the worn-out piece of furniture tells its own story. The telling point is when the chair lands in his room in the Ashram he has chosen to stay in order to let his son and his family go off to the US. His Radha is there by his side in the twilight of his life. To put it plainly, Manoj Bajpai should get a standing ovation for his portrayal of SWAMI.
Juhi Chawla, like old wine, has matured as an actress. She complements Manoj, scene-for-scene. But the surprise of the pack is Maninder. This boy has talent. He may have not been launched with much fanfare in a typical commercial blockbuster, but he has made his mark playing the son, matching the attitude of his father. Like father, like son. Watch Manoj and Maninder, and you will know what I say. The ‘fresh face of the year award’, should be his for the taking.
The director makes it a point to keep the pace of the movie constant. There are no gimmicks thrown in. But for the garden scenes where the oldies meet, which could have been tightly edited, the movie could have been a lot crisper. The background score matches the mood and one scene is a little over-the-top; when Swami and his wife, go for admission for their son. It’s hard to believe that a five-year-old can convince the principal to give him admission when the dice is loaded heavily against them. Equally hard to believe is the principal’s decision to admit Swami’s son.
All said and done, SWAMI is a good watch. Away from the grime and gore, away from scenic locales of New Zealand and Switzerland, to the more realistic surroundings of everyday life.