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Dilip shared how the audience was waiting for a film from Ashutosh Gowarikar post the successful ‘Lagaan’.”After ‘Lagaan’s heroics, everyone was curios to know what would Ashutosh Gowariker make next. He announced the film as Desh which was later titled ‘Swades’. Gowariker works a lot on his scripts and locations. I remember production designer Late Nitin Chandrakant Desai telling me in an interview, “We are searching locations around Nashik. We need a village suitable for the subject of Swades. Eventually, he went to Wai in Satara district where they found a suitable spot,” He recalled
Not many may know that Ashutosh had offered the film to Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan was not the first choice for the film. “On 2nd of January 2004, mahurat of Swades happened in the presence of Aamir Khan. Gowariker had first offered Swades to Hrithik Roshan who had said no citing that it was not his kind of film. Later, Shah Rukh accepted the role and it gave a break from his on-screen image of romantic Raj/Rahul that started with ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge’ and three years after ‘Swades’, ‘Chak De! India’ was released,” shared Dilip.
Speaking about the female lady Gayatri Joshi and how the first press conference of the film, which was planned at the Gateway Of India (Mumbai) was shifted to a Hotel. Dilip told, “Nobody knew that ‘Swades’ heroine Gayatri Joshi was a model. The first look of Swades was to be revealed at Gateway of India, Mumbai. But it rained that day so the press conference was moved to Oberoi Sheraton. They didn’t bring Gayatri Joshi in front of the media till the film was released. Two days after the film’s release, photos of Gayatri Joshi dancing at a party went viral. Her interviews happened after that. It is Gayatri Joshi’s only film. Kaveri Amma from the film remained in people’s memories. The caravan in the ‘Yun Hi Chala Chal’ song was Ashutosh and Shah Rukh’s idea. The film was completed in two schedules. The news of Shah Rukh coming back to Mumbai from Satara for a couple of days used to do the rounds once in a while.”
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Dilip relayed. “The gossips about the camps in Yash Raj Films and Dharma Productions being upset with Shah Rukh Khan for doing a simple, sober role in Swades were doing rounds at that time. There was a buzz initially that Swades would be a flop. Swades didn’t get initial success because the film’s subject was altogether different and a realistic film. Swades became successful eventually and is considered as Shah Rukh’s classic cinema along with Chak De! India.”
Thakur cleared the air on Aamir Khan’s association with the film. “Swades was never offered to Aamir Khan, he helped Gowariker with a scene set in the village. Marathi actress Prajakta Mali has a scene of a few seconds in Swades.,” He told.
Dilip shared some more interesting titbits about the film how the film was the first one to be shot at NASA and more. Thakur shared, “Swades was the first Hindi film to be shot at NASA. Gowariker always used to say that films made about rural life have always been impressive in India. The music of Swades was appreciated. The patriotic songs are played even today on Republic Day and Independence Day. Ashutosh Gowariker’s specialty in filmmaking is total paperwork. The film was lengthy. I couldn’t attend the press show of Swades because on the same day, actor Laxmikant Berde passed away.”