An emotionally choked Shah Rukh Khan as Mohan Bhargava from the 2004 cult film Swades said a hard-hitting monologue and it is still fresh in our memories 12 years after the release of the movie. He said, “Main nahi manta hamara desh duniya ka sabse mahaan desh hai … lekin yeh zaroor manta hoon … ki hum mein kabliyat hai, taqat hai, apne desh ko mahaan banane ki.” I do not think India is the greatest country in the world but I do believe that we (Indians) have the potential, the power to make our nation the most excellent. Does this speech make Shah Rukh Khan an Anti-national? NO! The popularity of the film Swades and its character played by Shah Rukh Khan is proof the country understands that criticising national shortcoming doesn’t make anyone anti-national.

Swades or Swades: We The People, a path-breaking movie helmed by director Ashutosh Gowariker completes 12 years since it released on December 17, 2004. The film saw Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in a different avatar, doing away with romantic hero characters. Shah Rukh essayed the role of Mohan Bhargava, an NRI working at NASA in the United States. Swades depicted his soul-searching journey, returning to his roots and acknowledging his duties as an Indian. While SRK was hailed for his excellent acting chops, there is one particular sequence in the movie which proved Shah Rukh to be an ultimate acting genius.

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In the famous monologue from Swades, Shah Rukh Khan as Mohan is asked whether he agrees with the fact that India is the greatest country in the world. Much to the shock, he answers in a negative. The movie depicts the age-old caste system and religious beliefs creating a divide in the society. The protagonist highlights the shortcomings which are the evil root of all the problems – poverty, hunger, unemployment, and more. Swades is not just another social cause movie but serves the purpose of unifying the country as one. The memorable performances, the dialogues and just about everything makes it an iconic film.

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Shah Rukh Khan who has been targeted in past few years over the issue of anti-national has given a memorable performance in Swades. Ever since he made the intolerance remark, the actor has been targeted by fringe-minded radicals. Apart from questioning Shah Rukh Khan’s patriotism, his movies have also faced the wrath of the extremists. A humble request to all these self-claimed nationalists and country lover of the highest order, do not question others beliefs and patriotism because we all are as much proud Indian as anyone could be.