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Swami: The saga unfolds

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
It's not often that one director offers to help another in this industry.But after watching choreographer-turned-director Ganesh Acharya's Swami, Rakeysh Mehra was so moved that he offered him assistance and kept his promise.

Manoj Bajpai, who plays the title role in Swami, feels inspired by it. "The film is different from anything I have done so far. It's a simple tale of a husband madly in love with his wife. Ganesh was inspired by his parents' love story."

Manoj adds, "When Rakeysh Mehra saw the film, he was so stunned that he didn't leave the theatre for over 40 minutes. When he came out, he said he was stunned with the emotions and simplicity of the film." Manoj says that ever since, the Rang De Basanti director has been very supportive of the film. "He helped us a lot in finding distributors and other things. Of course, he couldn't do much more than that as we had already decided the release date by then, but it is heartwarming to know that a director of his stature has helped us so much. He was in constant touch with Ganesh."

Besides Mehra, Akshay Kumar, Raj Kumar Sanoshi, Rakesh Roshan and Rajkumar Hirani have also given this film a thumbs-up. Rakeysh, who has worked with Acharya in Rang De Basanti, says, "I like Swami very much. It has been crafted very well and is a complete surprise. It's a simple story told very well. Personally, I think simple subjects are more difficult to handle." Mehra adds that before watching the film, he never knew the sensitive side to Ganesh. "I never really knew this side to his personality. It was completely new to me. I knew he was a very sensitive person when he choreographed Khalbali and Pathshala for me, but his directorial abilities were a revelation."

When asked about his helping hand to Ganesh, Mehra says, "Although my core competence is making films, I told Ganesh I was willing to help him with whatever he required." Manoj adds, "I have tried to incorporate a lot of my father's qualities for Swami. He was my only reference point. I picked on traits like innocence and sacrifice.
I have never seen him shouting at anybody. He was completely devoted to his wife and family and never had any dreams. The wishes of my mother and his six children were of only importance to him."

Manoj says his father was a lower middle-class farmer and life was quite a struggle. "Yet, I never saw a frown on his face or a ill will against anybody.The only thing he wanted from us was to complete our education. Today, all of us are graduates."

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