Shah Rukh Khan starrer Swades is known for many things — its screenplay, the performances, the songs — but today we are here to talk about a sequence from the Ashutosh Gowariker directorial that blends together a classic AR Rahman piece with a palpable performance by King Khan. The best of both the worlds, as they say.
AR Rahman croons “Ye jo des hai tera,” as SRk’s character Mohan wrestles with his inner demons — should he stay in the US and pursue his American dream, or should he take the higher road of ideals and love and move back to his home country?
The sequence also marks a significant shift in the character of Mohan, who, after a brief stint in India and working with its people — wants to give back to his own. While Rahman’s voice mutes the moments of discussion which Mohan has with his colleague and his boss at NASA, it is Shah Rukh’s face that gives away the central tension of the plot. As a revamped version of Hamlet would put it — “To stay or to go back is the question.”
The scene has everything — picturesque landscapes of India, a moving piece of music by the Maestro of Madras and Shah Rukh in top-notch form.
The juxtaposition of America’s modernity with India’s diversity and earthy beauty works brilliantly here. In fact, this is one of those rare instances of cinema where its different departments move in perfect sync — each supporting the other. The sequence is also a great example of how sometimes you don’t need any dialogues to convey something important.
Swades is available for streaming on Netflix.