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Swami (Manoj Bajpai) is a simple, humble and compassionate man married to Radha (Juhi Chawla).
They live in a small home in a South Indian village. Though they are poor, the husband and wife
share the hardships and little joys of their lives together.
Swami has only one ambition in life, one desire -- to buy a rocking chair.
Slapped as a kid when he sat on one that didn't belong to him, he yearns to know the feeling of owning
one. From there onwards, the chair is used as symbolism, a metaphor for countless emotions,
Swami’s dreams and unfulfilled desires. As life moves on, the couple is blessed with a child.
Radha nurtures a dream of sending her son to America for a brighter future after watching images of
America on television. Soon, Swami gets a job in Mumbai and they move to the city of dreams.
The couple gets their son admitted to a good school. Everything seems to be going great for the
family. But fate has other plans and soon their happy existence is shattered. Before Radha’s dream of
sending her son to America is realized, she falls sick and is diagnosed with a fatal illness. While Swami
saves money for Radha’s operation, she instead buys the rocking chair for her husband from the
savings. Without the operation, she eventually dies. Now, Swami has just one aim: to fulfill Radha’s
wish and give his son the best of life.
Swami is a simple story about regular middle class folk and their simple dreams and desires.
Swami is everybody’s story – your story, my story, our parents’ story.
Swami is also the story of how a son respects and honors his father.
Swami also tells a story of how our aged parents should be taken care of.
Swami is also a story of how some parents even in their old age, without selfish motives, make way for their child to soar higher.
Swami is a lesson for today’s youngsters on how to treat parents. It’s also a lesson for parents on how not to play the ‘emotional blackmail’ card.
‘Swami’ rests on strong performances by Manoj Bajpai, Juhi Chawla and Siddharth. Manoj Bajpai , as the loving husband, doting father and
proud grandfather, passes the test of time. He does not let the simple values of the village life corrupt his mind in the city, nor does he let his
son lose his focus and principles. His desire to own a rocking chair, Juhi’s gesture of buying the same from the money saved for her operation,
and his daughter-in-law selling the worn-out piece of furniture tells its own story. The telling point is when the chair lands in his room in the
Ashram he has chosen to stay in order to let his son and his family go off to the US.
On the whole, ‘Swami’ may not have the usual trappings of a commercial
movie but it is rich in emotions. And that is its strong point.The movie has
emotional moments that will leave you with moist eyes.
Bajpai is brilliant as the small town man who moves to the city and goes
through the amazing journey of life with its ups and downs. He digs into his
character and enacts the part with utmost conviction.His sincere portrayal of
a regular middle class man will touch many hearts.
Juhi, on the other hand, is lovely; the epitome of caring lover, devoted wife
and dedicated mother. She knows just how hard to tug the heartstrings
without becoming exaggerated or seeming fake. Her smile and laughter are
still as infectious as ever. Juhi Chawla is a complete natural. She brings a
subtle mix of tenderness and charm into her character.
Child artiste Siddharth , who plays the couple's son, gives a commendable
performance, and is responsible for quite a few of the touching moments in
But good performances alone cannot save a film. . The characters, story and situations
are overtly sugary and simple, almost completely without any kind of dramatic conflict,
making the film drag on like a soap opera on happy pills.
The movie could have been a lot crisper. The background score matches the mood and
one scene is a little over-the-top; when Swami and his wife, go for admission for their son.
It’s hard to believe that a five-year-old can convince the principal to give him admission
when the dice is loaded heavily against them. Equally hard to believe is the principal’s
decision to admit Swami’s son.
In fact, the movie can easily trim 20 minutes in the second half.
All said and done, Swami is a good watch. Away from the grime and
gore, away from scenic locales of New Zealand and Switzerland, to the
more realistic surroundings of everyday life.
All in all, Swami is a genuine attempt at a sweet and simple story that has
its heart in the right place and although it may not cater to all and
sundry, there is a lesson about life in there for everyone.
Swami, like I said earlier is your story.
Director: Ganesh Acharya
Starring: Juhi Chawla, Manoj Bajpai, Mithun Chakraborty
|Welcome to Sajjanpur
Director: Ganesh Acharya
Starring: Amrita Rao, Shreyas Talpade, Divya Dutta
Shyam Benegal, the name that revolutionized Indian Cinema in the 70s, returns to the silver screen after over three years to bring us
a film that is simple, yet beautiful. WELCOME TO SAJJANPUR. Benegal normally enjoys the opportunity to bring hard-hitting
social commentary through the motion picture. However, with Welcome To Sajjanpur, we get to experience a film with colorful
characters in a revealing story, portraying the rarely-seen lighter side of Benegal.
We are introduced to players of this film through the eyes of Mahadev
(Shreyas Talpade), one of the few educated and literate residents of the
village of Sajjanpur.
An aspiring novelist, he earns his bread as the village letter writer/reader,
who sets up shop outside the Post Office. It is through this set-up that we
witness his interactions with various characters; characters that ask him to
write all sorts of things, from street plays to political songs, from chain letters
to love letters, to letters from an innocent wife to her estranged husband - all
of which have profound consequences. The highlights of this very
down-to-earth movie lie in Mahadev's interactions with the runny-nosed
Mausi (Ila Arun), who is brilliantly hilarious in her comedic worries; and every
scene between Mahadev and childhood sweetheart Kamala (Amrita Rao),
who is now married to her estranged husband.
It is the film's passionately written and developed
characters that makes this film truly enjoyable. Therefore,
it's no surprise that performances should be, and are,
extremely impactful. Shreyas Talapde,as the attentively
genuine village letter-writer struggles eith his feelings of
attraction to Kamla. He is the perfect centerpiece for this
colorful group of characters, all of whose performances are
enhanced ten-fold simply by Talpade's commanding screen
Despite Talpade's flawless character rendition, the film would not have succeeded at the level it has if it were not for the outstanding
supporting cast, led by the gorgeous Amrita Rao, who plays Kamla with much dignity and authentic village-girl innocence.
Ila Arun, as the runny-nosed Mausi is perfect and quite hilarious! Divya Dutta, as Mausi's daughter, Vindhya, the stubborn,
hard-headed modern girl is efficient. Ravi Kishan, as Ramkumar - the love-struck compounder, is effective. Yashpal Sharma, as
Ram Singh - the village's political goon, is unblemished. Ravi Jhankal, as Munni Bai - the village's eunuch, is another ace with his