He gave us Lagaan. Ashutosh Gowarikar is now taking the acid test with Swades. He has maintained a low profile throughout while this SRK starrer keeps gathering high-end curiosity. At the audio release function of the movie, the ace director in an exclusive interview, throws us an interesting spin on the core theme of his film, brain drain in India.
Ashutosh, what made you decide on this subject?
Most of us accept situations and problems the way they are. My protagonist Mohan Bhargav belongs to the same tribe. He later realizes that acceptance may not be the ideal solution to the problems. He attempts to start a change, to make a difference. In a way, Swades is the story of every man.
How did you decide to cast Shahrukh Khan?
My character Mohan Bhargav is a very restless person. I saw that streak in Shahrukh. Besides, I have worked with him in a serial Circus and two other films. We have been friends for some time now. Once I had the script ready, I went up to him and narrated the scale and feel of Swades. And Shahrukh was game.
Swades is an elusive, uncommon word. Can you share the thought behind using it?
The term Swades was commonly used in the pre-independence era. It had slowly started losing mention. Since it talks about patriotism in an old-world fashion I liked it for my film.
You have once again teamed with A R Rahman. What is music that Swades offers?
The songs germinate from the script. In Swades too, the songs are an extension of the situation. The tune and lyrics followed next.
The film deals with brain drain as its subject. What is your take on it?
See, I have a slightly different take on brain drain. Primarily, I have nothing against people who go abroad to study and earn money. But what I am trying to say is that somewhere we need to pause and think about the country too. We should look back. We need to give back to the nation.
Ashutosh, the picturization gives us a deja-vu feel of Lagaan? What do you think?
[Smiles] I have not tried to recreate Lagaan if that is your point. I have come out of the Lagaan time-wrap long back but I guess people haven't. If they still see a Bhuj in Swades, I don't think I can do much.
Where has Swades been shot?
I have shot it in Bahai. It falls between Maharashtra and Panchgani. A three-and-a-half start-to-finish schedule didn't allow me the luxury of location changes. Hence I was looking for versatility in the location and Bahia gave me just that.