The film’s director, Ashutosh Gowariker, talks about the movie in various interviews.
Screen: The story stems from our basic self-absorption, our disregard and dismay over situations surrounding us Its about how easily we accept all the wrong doings About how we always wait for someone else to clean up the system.
Rediff: I believe individuals can make a difference. The film’s protagonist Mohan Bhargava has lived in the US for 12 years. When he revisits India, his journey reaches him to a (fictional) village, Charanpur. It is governed by the panchayat, which attempts to solve the problems of the village but is orthodox in its approachMohan is confronted with several social ailments: caste system, illiteracy, child labour. He decides to be proactive and better the lives of the villagers.
RadioSargam: There are lots of issues that face our people. But no one takes an initiative to resolve them. All of us wait for the other person to do it, but nobody becomes the person. In Swades, Shah Rukh plays that other person, who tries doing his bit to help out people of his village.
From an interview with Subhash Jha of IANS (via the Bollywood Blog):
I wouldn’t like to see the ideas in “Swades” as propagandist. But it definitely projects nationalism. It begins as a story of an individual’s growing consciousness and then gets more societal.
The poverty that I discovered isn’t restricted to rural India. Even at the traffic signal in the city when a child comes with outstretched hands, it’s an image that affects your conscience if you allow it to. We should stop believing that a change in the social order is someone else’s problem.
The era of looking back in anger at social problems is over. We need to look back emotionally. That’s the need of the hour. That’s what “Swades” does. There’s mass scale migration from the villages to cities and from cities to abroad. We say that’s because there’re no job opportunities. But these opportunities need to be created.
In “Swades” I wanted all of us to revisit old-world values. So no… I’m not preaching. I’m reminding you of what we’ve lost. I want the audiences’ conscience to be pricked.
Every time I leave the theatre after a movie, there’re questions in my mind. I don’t want questions any longer. Let’s have some solutions. Each one of us is an expert on the problems faced by our country. But where are the solutions? To me the country’s main issue should be education. And it should be pushed as hard as possible.
TECH TALK On Watching Swades+T