'Swades' bags universal acclaim


12/21/2004 12:00:00 AM
In super star Shah Rukh Khan's  words, Swades  is a wakeup call to the 'desis' abroad, to realize that it's payback time to the country that nurtured them.  "It's a very contemporary film about an NRI in quest of his roots. It's a film that needed to be made," he adds. Shah Rukh's  voice appears to have reached a large section of the audience and media that is lapping up the celebrated director Ashutosh Gowariker's  recently released 'Swades'.

The New York-based NRI, Aseem Chhabra, a special correspondent with India Abroad, writes, "Swades is a movie, a piece of entertainment, an artistically made, commercial venture...It is handsomely shot with heartfelt performances and charming songs in the tradition of Gowariker's last project" Being an NRI, he identified with the film, and added, "Swades spoke to me!"

Swades was distributed in the Mumbai circuit by the film's co-producer, UTV. The Distribution team actually visited all theatres across the circuit to personally select the ones befitting the film's stature and ensuring to the greatest extent that no two theatres were close to each other. Top critics from mainstream publications have heaped encomiums unlimited on the mega opus making it the most acclaimed film of 2004.

Giving it a four-star rating (out of five), writes Mayank Shekhar of Mid-Day, "For the lead protagonist Khan (brilliant), let's just say, in an entire career that spans a string of no-brainer, schmaltzy cinema hot off the shelves of Bollywood's money-making masala stores, this is the by far, the most significant film he's done yet.I cannot think of a better film for the longest that deserved a stronger recommendation for both touring cinemas of India's villages, and plush multiplexes of Mumbai or Manhattan."

Assigning it four stars again, Jitesh Pillai of The Times of India, Mumbai's largest morning daily, says, "Swades is undoubtedly the No.1 movie of the year."

Veteran critic and author Deepa Gahlot of Afternoon states, "Once again, after Lagaan, Ashutosh Gowariker attempts a film that does not fall under any current trend or set formula. Swades: We The People has that quality rare for commercial cinema -it has a point of view, a straightforward message and a format as realistic as possible within the constraints imposed on mainstream films."

For the first time, UTV has undertaken massive outdoor publicity for the film even beyond the Mumbai city, which is not done traditionally. While Swades is being hailed by all sections of the Indian media, the overseas media has not fallen short in extolling this emotional and thought-provoking film. Reviews by the media in the UK and US are glowing, and where most mainstream Bollywood feature films get released only through four chains in the UK (Odeon, Cine UK, UCI and Vue), UTV's Overseas Distribution department took the film to five chains including National Amusement. It has been released across 35 sites through 56 prints.

As the days go by, the positive words pouring in for this unconventionally astounding film are only on the rise.