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Friday, 25 April 2014

Swades: On We the People, Emotionally capturing your audience and Sharukh Khan The Actor

One Worth Watching

Swades-We the People

Stardom is an inherent part and issue of Hindi cinema. 

The Bollywood audience love their larger then life heroes, and as such a lot of focus is placed on the glamor of it's stars especially its lead 'actors' or heroes (to be more polite). For a star, acting isn't a prerequisite. Instead they can have a good looking face and raw charisma to carry themselves through. 

I can't even bother to go into length about how much the whole stardom worship idea bothers me. 'Actors' as they seem to think of themselves coast on their hyped up and built stardom to make movies and expect their in built audience and the gullible masses to eat up everything they put out. 

I'm not saying they don't entertain, but why can't they be honest and entertain in film while putting forth some effort in their part of the job even if it's an effort at bad acting. 

Why I'm saying this is because of one such star who I will talk about today. 

Shah Rukh Khan. 

While the so called King Khan does indeed do his best to do different projects (unlike some supposed actors *cough Salman Khan cough*) and still keep his audiences satisfied. He has in the past years simply played through the motions being disturbingly himself (Chennai Express) or simply stereotypically ignorant (Ra One) in front of the camera. 

Personally I'm not a big fan of his.

But all biased aside, I cannot deny the man is a good if not great actor. Give Shah Rukh Khan a good scrip and character like any actor deserves and he will no doubt provide an exceptional performance. Even in the worst of films he can come out shining, and not just because of that staggering screen presence he has. That in truth is the hallmark of a real actor. 

When people ask me/or are to ask me; Why I think of Shah Rukh Khan as a terrific actor then I point them to films ranging from Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa to Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. I speak of his subtle command of character in Chak De India! and his somewhat misguided yet worthy homage to Dustin Hoffman in the form of Rizwan from My Name is Khan. 

But above all I tell them about his work of brilliance that is Swades. 

Shah Rukh Khan proves well and beyond that he is the superstar and maybe even actor of his generation with this performance. The best of both worlds, in the way he conveys the loneliness the creeps within Mohan Bhargav and the method by which his experiences back home wrench yet enrich his heart and soul. 

Swades is a staggering picture that looks at the country with patriotic sensibilities that are neither spiteful nor rose tinted. It questions many of our customs and values, yet reminds us that above all else it is our culture that makes us such strong willed, spirited and above all else good people. 

As a film both writer M G Sathya and director Ashutosh Gowariker understand the core issues that plague the country and especially those from villages. They present this in a manner which is neither heavy handed nor melodramatic, in fact hitting a sweet spot Hindi films rarely claim. 

Even today I tear up at the climatic scene as Mohan decides to leave behind the village in order to resume his normal life back in America. It never feels forced or emotionally manipulative, but rather etches the lesson the film and it's makers are teaching. 

It may speak of India, but watching this will definitely awaken the patriot within you and that too without a sense of falseness to it, especially for those miles away and estranged from their mother land.

There's a reason why this is one of my 100 favorite films and it's a simple one; It touches your heart and soul, It just resonates like nothing else. This is why I love cinema, It has the power and conviction to teach you a lot if your willing to experience it.

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia   

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