Shradha Sukumaran in Sunday Mid-Day: Gowariker captures the village idiosyncrasies curious children scrambling all over the caravan, a postman who shows off his English, an enterprising shack owner with tall dreams. The director’s message is more than clear; there’s no looking forward until we untie the baggage of sanskar’ and parampara’.
Mayank Shekhar in Mid-Day: This is another inspiring account of what self-empowered underdogs can accomplish through sheer zeal and phenomenal focus.
Komal Nahta in Film Information:
The film has an inherently dry story and the screenplay doesnt make matters any better or livelierThe drama fails to entertain as it becomes more like a documentary about the ills plaguing the nation. Further, the pace at which the film moves is so slow that the dry and drab drama also begins to drag ad nauseum.
The problems highlighted in the film are so macro that Mohans return to India appears to be a micro and mismatched solution to them. For, even after he returns, theres little he can do to change the face of India all by himselfWhats more, todays audience in the cities and towns couldnt care less about the problems plaguing the remote villages of India and they will, therefore, not be able to identify with the plot.
The film lacks identifiable emotions, exhilarating romance, enjoyable drama and mass-appealing comedy. In other words, the pillars on which a wholesome entertainer should rest, are either shaky or non-existent in the case of Swades.
Subhash Jha wrote for Indiatimes Movies: Swades is a unique experiment with grassroot realism. It is so politically correct in its propagandist message that initially you wonder if the government of India funded the director’s dreamThis neo-classic, conceived and designed as the Great Indian Journey into the heart and soul of poverty , is funded entirely by Gowariker’s over-weening idealism, his sincere desire to define his purpose and function as a creative artiste and his determination to alchemize his angry social conscience into a work that’s as simple lucid and lyrical as a tune sung in repose by that minstrel singer who sings not because he must but because he knows no other thing to do.
Taran Adarsh on IndiaFM:
SWADES disappoints big time. The story of SWADES would’ve been ideal for a documentary, but for a feature film with a running time of 3 hour plus and starring the country’s biggest star, it just doesn’t work To put it bluntly, SWADES is high on hype, low on substance and extremely low on entertainment. Ashutosh Gowariker has missed the bus this time!
For a majority of cinegoers, especially the hoi polloi, the film holds scant appeal. Gowariker’s intentions of depicting the problems of rural India may be noble, but it’s not too great an idea of entertainment, specifically for that viewer who is thirsting for entertainment and believes in sunshine/feel-good/escapist cinema. Besides, the length only acts as a deterrent.
Gaurav Sabnis: Swades is more of an exploration, a hike into unchartered country, both literally and figuratively. It will not keep you on the edge of your seat, and it won’t get your adrenaline flowing the way Lagaan did. yet it is a movie par excellenceWhat Ashutosh Gowariker has done is, taken inspiration from a real life story, and painted his own impression of it. An NRI returns home, and circumstances bring him face to face with the harsh realities of rural India. The movie is a story of how he reacts to those realities. So the two main components of this story are the realities, and the reactions.
Jitesh Pillai in The Times of India: Swades is undoubtedly the No 1 movie of the year. Art imitates life. Swades is compelling and a brave testimony to that. Instead of copping out, Gowariker takes the road less travelled. And that makes all the difference. No villains, no skin, no disco, no mustard fields. Gowariker has his heart in the right placeGo find yours! Gentle viewers, the revolution is near.
Tomorrow: The Message