Aarakshan - Review

wogma rating: Watch when on TV (?)
quick review:

Aarakshan is, what I call, a bell-curve film. Starts shabbily, reaches a peak around mid-way and ends more shabbily than it started. And yes, the issue is not "quote system", we are talking about our hollow education system here. Only that, that too gets a superfluous treatment.

Reviews

41228 views

Click on the tabs below for wogma review, external reviews, user reviews, and twitter verdict

Wogma Review

The "huh!?" expression I've carried ever since the film ended is now expanded into a full question - If just the title of a film can cause an outrage big enough for the film to be banned in some areas of the country, what will happen if the film actually ends up being about the issue it is named after? We'll have to wait for another film to find out.

Unless, of course, half of Aarakshan was reshot to make it "not" about reservations. After a half-an-hour full of songs, the characters are introduced and the base story is established. And then you hear the perfectly logical and valid sides of the quota-system debate amongst students and teachers, between authorities in education and media, husband and wife, father and daughter. And you are completely sucked into the drama. Only to be let loose very soon, to make sense of a confusion that the writer/director seem to have gone through - confusion about which story to tell.

Aarakshan (with a different name) could have been a touching tale of a principled crusader, Dr. Prabhakar Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) who just refuses to be put down. His fight is not as much against the government's policy about reservation but against the businessmen who have made education a profitable transaction. And that concept alone has enough weight to make a movie by itself. I mean, I could have very easily let go of the title and readjusted my frame of mind to accept the story of the lovable, ideal teacher, Prabhakar. But, Aarakshan is too black and white to convince me.

Sure, Prabhakar is not all good, and you see that through his daughter's eyes. But his righteousness is too overwhelming to let us see this not-so-white side. The other characters caving in to his goodness doesn't help either. His nemesis, Mithilesh (Manoj Bajpai) is outright black and makes you want to slap him, alright.

The other characters have their shades of gray but they don't have enough screen time to let us appreciate them. Yep, including Deepak (Saif Ali Khan) and Poorbi (Deepika Padukone). And this is worse considering that the movie is two hours and forty-five minutes long.

And even though, the performances by Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, and Manoj Bajpai are enough to pull you through the saga, each of them has a caveat. Manoj Bajpai loses control in the climax without any build-up towards his breakdown. Saif Ali Khan has all of two scenes to make his point. And this is something Amitabh Bachchan can do half asleep. And I cannot stop admiring how the man, with his stature in the industry, can still portray the common man with drooped, burdened shoulders. If only, there was one film that would make us feel, "this" is why he does films.

If only, this film had what it said it had. I was looking forward to a deeper understanding of the issue, I got songs. I was told an amazing cast will put up the two sides of the issue out on the big screen, they just came in and went out (just like the issues) with no flow and justifications. I was promised a film that will shake up the sleeping common man into action, but I got a solution that was no better than what the villains of the film were upto. And all of this was accompanied with loud background music which took away the little that the dialogues were building up to.

"Quiet Easily Done" the film says repeatedly whenever Math students want to say, "quod erat demonstrandu"referring to the acronym q.e.d. Aarakshan demonstrates how centuries of wrong done to certain castes can be quite easily undone. And maybe they are right. Most complex problems in life do have simple solutions. All we, the gullible audience, need to do is get together as a mass and protest. And yes, make that one call to the highest authority we can reach to solve our problem for us. Simple. Yep, that's the laughable solution Aarakshan gives us. Now, whose number do we dial to ask the politicians to call off the ban publicity stunt that the Aarakshan team just pulled.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A fist fight
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: Fighting the hollow educations system
  • General Look and Feel: Dramatic

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 2.5
  • Lead Actors: 3.5
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 3
  • Screenplay: 0
  • Music Director: 1
  • Lyrics: 3

Aarakshan - Movie Details

Aarakshan - Trailer

If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube

Comments (15)

Click here for new comment

meetu:

@Kapil oh yeah! Mausam is certainly something i'm looking forward to. Have always enjoyed Pankaj Kapur's work. Fingers crossed.

Btw, I read somewhere that Prakash Jha refused to have a special screening of Aarakshan for politicians. Made me smile!

Bollywood movie reviews:

Waiting to watch Aarakshan. Good concept. I love the trailer. Thanks for the details of the movie.

meetu:

@moviebhakt apparently not!

Rahul:

Really looking forward to this movie.

Rahul:

Taran Adarsh's review of Aarakshan - http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movies/review/14307/index.html

guddu:

This time your conclusion remark went straight above your review, i guess the movie really tested your patience to a such extent that your still having the hangover on our shoulders. As usual your review is very subjective and clear Meetu . I think the caste conscious will really be agitated now as the makers used their social prejudice to gain publicity to such a meaningless film .

meetu:

@Rahul Now, what can I say? :)

@lost_in_confusion I want to like every movie I watch. What to do?

@guddu "went straight above your review" meaning?

meetu:

@lost_in_confusion Why not my cup of tea? I wanted to watch it, but I believe there were 4 releases that week and I had gotten my wisdom tooth extracted, so was in - let's just call it - PAIN. I do intend to review it when it comes on TV.

@TimELiebe Actually, it isn't about taking a side, the only bit in the film I liked was the part where the two sides were making their points.

About addressing stars...ha ha ha ha! I had this huge problem when I started reviewing. How can i just call Amitabh Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan...if nothing else, at least add a "ji", i thought. But, now I'm just used to it, I guess. They are human beings, no? :P

Rahul:

Sigh ... one more movie that I won't have to bother about hunting on the torrents. And before I get chastised, no Bollywood movie releases where I live. :)

guddu:

I was talking about the conclusion remark that critics usually add after completng their reviews just as a tagline . This time I felt you wrote it above your review"
The huh!? expression I've carried ever since the film ended is now expanded into a full question - If just the title of a film can cause an outrage big enough for the film to be banned in some areas of the country, what will happen if the film actually ends up being about the issue it is named after? We'll have to wait for another film to find out.
Unless, of cours". I think this should have been written at the end , it went sort of displaced.

guddu:

Tim i wasn't talking about racially overloaded terms controversy which made your western friends so exciting . The movie is more of an institutional racism but it never showcased the plight of SC/ST people in modern India for which the movie went banned in most of the states. I feel pity for those Politicians who became the victim of this kind of shameless marketing strategy .

meetu:

@TimeLiebe Prabhakar Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) is saying everyone is entitled to "proper" education - not the education that lets you score well but leaves you clueless about the concepts.
The rich can get it with facilities, the poor should have an avenue where they can educated themselves from within their means. And in that, the teachers should recognize they are in a noble profession and shouldn't make a business out of education.

(the link is still not working)

@vivek that's awesome!!

@Shashank I totally sympathize with your situation. What the movie was against and is true in real life too is - that the teachers manipulate in such a manner that children have to go to coaching classes. Either they are school teachers and don't teach "properly" in schools or they teach only in coaching classes because that is more lucrative.

@kapil ow! that's too bad that you had to watch the movie forcibly. Also I'm willing to bet the people who banned this movie haven't watched it at all!

meetu:

@guddu wow! you will not believe how much time I spent in considering whether that should be the first para or the last!!

@Aarak oh well, one can hope, no? but i disagree with the bit about multiplex cinema vs hardhitting films. I dont;t hink the multiplex audience is averse to films that make a point. I think the makesrs just got this one all wrong.

@Rema like! And agree.

deepu:

Aarakshan is a fabulous movie.this movie show the importance of reservation .we will request each and every body to see the movie in watch-hindi-movies

deepu:

Aarakshan is a fabulous movie.this movie show the importance of reservation .we will request each and every body to see the movie in watch-hindi-movies

Leave a new comment