Swades is a 2004 Indian film written, produced and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. The film stars Shah Rukh Khan and Gayatri Joshi in her debut film.
Mohan Bhargava is a Non-Resident Indian Project Manager working for NASA. He had studied in University of Pennsylvania. After finishing the phase 1 of a special satellite project he decides to get a two week’s holiday and return to India in search of his childhood nanny, an adorable Kaveri Amma whom he lost touch with for years.
Once Mohan reaches Charanpur, the village where Kaveri Amma lives, he immediately falls in love with Geeta, a schoolteacher whom he met at a friend’s bookshop earlier. Geeta lives with Kaveri Amma. Mohan comes to know that Geeta was his childhood friend whom he used to play with. So he starts helping her school and the village. He becomes a popular figure in the village. Everybody respects him but the village elders don’t like him mingling with low caste people.
Mohan learns the harsh realities of Indian village life. He sees how poverty, caste discrimination, child marriage, illiteracy, child labor, and disregard for education take the village backward. He decides to help the villagers as much as he can.
Having understood the difficulties the village faces without electricity, Mohan embarks on a task to provide electricity to the village using a stream that flows from a mountain. He finds 100 men and builds a tank to collect water from the stream. Then he buys the equipment needed for a hydro-electric power plant.
He is successful in his endeavor and is able to provide the whole village electricity. This results in Geeta also falling in love with Mohan as she realizes the real value of Mohan. But she refuses to go to America with him.
Mohan goes to America and completes the phase two of the satellite project and quits his prestigious job as a Project Manager at NASA. He returns to Charanpur and decides to work for the betterment of the village with Geeta.
The story tells us how the educated should sacrifice for the betterment of local people. A lot of people in the South Asian region leave their own countries and settle down in the West as they get better pay and modern facilities and forget their motherlands.
The film encourages those expatriates to return to motherlands and render their valuable service to the local people. This is no easy task. They have to sacrifice a lot.
I know one young teacher called Aruna Chaminda from the Down South of Sri Lanka who built a hydro-electrical water plant in a rural village and provided electricity to the neighborhood. But his school authorities did not like him getting attention and transferred him to a faraway village to stop him helping the community. This is what you get for your commitment.
But we should not get disheartened. We should do what we can do for the betterment of our motherlands. I can be happy that I did a lot to my village and as a result a lot of youth and children were benefited.