Swades:: Refreshingly different!

4 min read · Posted on: Dec 20, 2004 · Print this page

Friday, our project manager sent a congratulatory mail describing everyone in our project to very Important ™ people. I suggested the subject line, it was ‘We Made it Happen!’ It will be an ego-boosting exercise to describe what was written about others or myself and hence I shall resist the temptation. It led me to think a few things about projects done using offshoring. I shall return to the topic a bit later.

Srini, one of the key members in our project was leaving, so we thought we would plan a night out and see ‘Swades’. In short, it is one Hindi movie I would be proud of showing off to the rest of the world. Every scene shines through with an ‘Ashutosh Gowariker’’ touch that those who watch Lagaan would be able to relate to. Unlike being an idealistic story about an NRI’s nostalgia, it brought out several complex and interconnected issues connected with it. Yet it had a simple and down to earth message. Shah Rukh Khan has been, thankfully, considerably mellowed down for this role and the lead actress Gayatri Joshi delivers a tad stoic yet commendable performance. It doesn’t end there. Every single person in the cast gives you a thoroughly impressive performance.

One cannot help but compare Swades to the social awareness movies of the past. But there is a silent, subtle and yet moving characteristic of the movie that makes it contemporary. The harsh Indian landscape never looked more beautiful when captured by the wide angled lenses of Mahesh Aney. It sometimes reminded you of the Vande Mataram videos by Bharatbala productions commemorating 50 years of independence. The shallow depth of focus in the living room scenes was very dramatic but annoying as well. A R Rehman’s music complements the film very well and is an aural treat.

Certain scenes and dialogues are very quite engaging and memorable. While certain others tend to be more like a sermon. Well, in conclusion, the movie does make its point. Unfortunately, it doesn’t climax in the epic proportions as Lagaan does, but it is a different movie isn’t it?

I’ve shifted to a new apartment in Ilford. The owner, Manjeet, is an interesting guy. He is a lawyer with a Punjabi accent peppered with British intonations. Today I will give a long and hard look to the empty kitchen stove because we have to know each other rather well in the future. This is how I intend to start my tryst with cooking. I expect it to look burnt, tattered and spilt over in the future but now its all clean and shiny. Ilford has a tremendous influx of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. As a result rows and rows of shops selling Indian merchandise. This comes as a mixed blessing, the downside being a lot of cultural inbreeded, which I strongly despise.

Ok time to talk about Offshoring. Everywhere one comes across this is new four-letter word that has about 6 extra letters. Now that I’ve seen an entire project end-to-end, I feel it’s a good time to sit down and analyse. Offshoring is like a reality show based pop band having a lot of talented people but doing mediocre stuff and making a big hit out of it. Offshoring is like a radio DJ who has a peppy and colourful audio personality but might be a complete shocker in appearance. But seriously, offshoring a trade-off between actual work and constant communication. I feel at the end of the day, software development is not like manufacturing. You cannot clearly delineate roles or exactly estimate processes. Offshoring needs to come out of its manufacturing world past in to this intellectual domain. Time has come that we (as in, Indian software industry as a whole) consider improving the offshoring techniques and infrastructure rather than assuming that all is well and run after the next big thing. We cannot afford to loose what has come to become our USP.

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Arun Ravindran

Arun is the author of "Django Design Patterns and Best Practices". Works as a Product Manager at Google. Avid open source enthusiast. Keen on Python. Loves to help people learn technology. Find out more about Arun on the about page.

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