Set in modern day India, SWADES tackles the issue facing the citizens of this nation at grassroots level. The India of SWADES is colorful, heterogeneous and complex and it is to this environment that Mohan Bhargava [Shah Rukh Khan], a bright young scientist working as project manager in NASA, returns to, on a quest to find his childhood nanny.What begins as a simple mission prompted by nostalgia and affection turns into a journey to the heartland of rural India, both literally and metaphorically. Mohan finds his nanny, Kaveriamma [Kishori Ballal], the symbol of motherhood, in a village called Charanpur with an admirable young woman Gita [Gayatri Joshi] and her younger brother Chikku [Master Smit Sheth]. Mohan begins to interact with the Panchayat, which has at the helm the dogmatic but the just village chief. Along the way he encounters the quirky but endearing Mela Ram [Dayashanker Pandey], who sees Mohan as his ticket to the chain of restaurants he will start on the American freeways. Mohan befriends the local postmaster Nivaran [Rajesh Vivek], stuck to his old-fashioned ways, and the village children, whose future is inextricably linked with that of the country. Soon, Mohan finally realizes that it is his scientific temperament as well as his understanding of societal complexities that can drive the villagers to participate in a movement to better their lives.
Of East Indian origin, Mohan Bhargav is one of the millions of Non-residential Indians settled in the United States of America. Mohan is employed with N.A.S.A., and has been assigned to the task of measuring precipitation, which he accepts. He gets a little homesick, and reminisces about his life in India, his late parents, and his nanny, Kaveriamma. He impulsively decides to travel to India, and see how his nanny is doing. He finds out that his nanny has re-located, and after several inquiries he finds out that she lives in Charanpur - a place famous for the actual markings of the footsteps of Lord Ram and Devi Maa Sita when they were on their 14-year exile from Ayodhya. Mohan does locate Kaveriamma, who is overjoyed to see him. She introduces him to a young woman by the name of Gita, and Mohan gets attracted to her. This attraction gets him involved in the many problems facing Charanpur, and he decides to lend a hand to ease them. But will a young educated man like Mohan be accepted by the villagers, and will be considered competent enough to adjust to their way of life?
A man searching for clues to his past pays a visit to the place where he was born in this drama laced with romance and music from India. Mohan Bhargava left the small village in India where he was born and raised to travel to the United States, where he worked as part of the American space program. But after the death of his parents, Mohan becomes nostalgic for his home and takes a leave of absence in order to visit Kaveri, a woman who helped to raise him as a boy. While searching for Kaveri, Mohan becomes reacquainted with Gita, one of his friends from his school days who has stayed behind to serve the community as a teacher. Gita thinks little of Mohan\'s desire to bring Kaveri back to the United States with him, but she also finds herself struck by the charm and intelligence of the adult Mohan, and the two develop a strong infatuation. But many in the community have little regard for Mohan\'s accomplishments in the United States until he steps forward to help his old neighbors by revamping the village\'s antiquated electrical system.