Aarakshan - 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.
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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
- Violence: A fist fight
- Language: Clean
- Nudity & Sexual content: None
- Concept: Fighting the hollow educations system
- General Look and Feel: Dramatic
Aarakshan - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Website Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: A. A Nadiawla
- Producer: Firoz Nadiadwala
- Director: Prakash Jha
- Lead Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpai, Prateik Babbar
- Supporting Cast: Shabana Azmi, Tanvi Azmi, Hema Malini, Chetan Pandit, Mukesh Tiwari, Yashpal Sharma, Darshan Jariwala, Saurabh Shukhla, Vinay Apte, Anita Kanwar, S M Zaheer, Aanchal Munjal
- Story: Anjum Rajbali, Prakash Jha
- Screenplay: Prakash Jha, Anjum Rajbali
- Dialogues: Prakash Jha
- Cinematography: Sachin Krishn, Sachin Krishn
- Editor: Santosh Mandal
- Background Score: Wayne Sharpe
- Action Choreography: Prem Sharma
- Choreography: Jayesh Pradhan, Jayesh Pradhan
- Music Director: Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonca
- Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi
- Costume Designer: Priyanka Mundada
- Art Direction: Jayant Deshmukh, Jayant Deshmukh
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 165 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Docu-drama, Thriller
Aarakshan - Trailer
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