This is a story of an Indian man called Mohan Bhargava (played by Shahrukh Khan) who has made it good in the USA, as a scientist working on a geophysical project for NASA. He has also been granted citizenship in the USA. On the way home with a friend, after addressing a press conference of the research findings of his group, he confesses his longing for his roots in the land of his birth. Especially does he miss his erstwhile nurse whom he calls Kaveriamma, who took very good care of him, even better than his parents, who had died earlier in a car crash. He is advised to take a holiday to India and return to the USA with her in tow.
He leaves at once for India, but finds that Kaveriamma has returned to her native village. He makes his way there, in a borrowed caravan and is welcomed by Kaveriamma with open arms. She is, at the time, guardian to a young girl of marriageable age called Gita (played by newcomer Gayatri Joshi) and her brother. The children have been orphaned and the girl works as a teacher in the local school. Mohan gets quickly accepted by the tightly knit village community, not only because of his budding romance with Gita, but also for his open and outgoing nature. He gets to go to the village panchayat (meeting of the village heads with the common folk) and makes a very positive impression, while also raising eyebrows, because of ignoring caste restrictions and intermingling with all and sundry while initiating the development of basic infrastructure, such as an electricity generator and better schooling for the children in the village. By this time, his increasing involvement in the village affairs, has resulted in his extending his intended period of stay by several weeks. His boss requires that he return immediately and reluctantly, he does so. But the call of his country is too much for him and he returns to the village to work for its upliftment.
The performances of the actors, especially the lead role played by SRK lends strong credibility to the film, despite its relatively thin storyline. Those of us who live abroad can truly identify with his dilemma. It is truly an agonizing choice that we face, of returning to help further the welfare of our loved ones at home, or to stay on in the land of milk and honey and cater to our professional ambitions. One derives vicarious satisfaction from Mohan's return to his roots and attending to the well-being of his own kind, and giving them the benefit of his broad based technical knowhow, derived from years of training abroad.
As mentioned earlier, the role of Mohan is well tailored to King Khan's personality. Hé comes out as a sensitive, gentle, softspoken person with a great sense of humour and motivated by strong ideals and deep perceptions. In the service rendered by him to the villagers, he finds a sense of identity, he did not have before. Watching the movie, especially as an NRI; one shares in the suspense and the excitement of the discovery of this identity, and also in its fulfillment. This would hold, even though our own decision, if placed in the same situation, would be quite different.
All in all, this is a movie one does not easily forget. A must see, especially for NRIs.