wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

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.

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Director: Prakash Jha
Running time: 165 minutes
Genres: Docu-drama, Thriller
More Movie Info

Aarakshan - Preview

I heard of Aarakshan very recently. It's very difficult not to get me excited about a political drama. And with a title like Aarakshan, a topic so close to home, I instantly began looking forward to the film.

The next thing I found out was the interesting mix in the cast I imagined a strong and determined Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan fighting it out against a nasty Manoj Pajpai with a Deepika Padukone thrown in to normalize the gender equation. But the trailer is a pleasant surprise -

On a topic like 'reservations' in the education system, you have Saif Ali Khan playing on a side against Amtiabh Bachchan. Or at least that's what it looks like. The Deepika Padukone angle of course, is a little too Mohabbatein-esque with Amitabh Bachchan playing her dad and the principal of the school/college in which her love interest, Saif Ali Khan is creating trouble. I sure hope she has a meatier character that'll have something more to do than being sandwiched between the men of her life.

In the past few years, we have had a range of films that are trying to point out the common man's frustration with the education system. "Reservations based on caste" is easily the topic that has caused most grief - on both sides. Imagine the frustration of the person who has worked so hard to get that 93% find himself beside a person who has scored 39%. And this in a world where the limited seats are further reduced because of the 39%. I'd imagine the other side of the argument is that it is now time to correct all the injustice that the reserved castes have suffered for centuries. A debate that Aarakshan seems to be trying to do justice to.

What about illegally obtained "caste certificates" then? The topic would be reduced to mere babble if this issue is not addressed, which makes the topic even more difficult to handle within the confines of a 2.5-to-3-hour film. And yet Prakash Jha has tried. And it looks like he has tried to make a balanced argument.

He has an awesome cast to support him. They are stars but not treated as such. Look at Amitabh Bachcan's character being yelled at by all and sundry, not to mention he is called a "zero"!

Yes, it is obvious that I'm waiting for August 12th when Aarakshan will present both sides of a debate in which I know what side I'm on. Hope it doesn't get too filmy on me. I don't think a movie like this warrants songs, but here they are, composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy-
milliblog - "Short and lively soundtrack from the dependable trio."
music aloud - "6.5/10"
Bollyspice - "3/5"
Hindustan Times - "The only worthwhile listens are Kaun Si Dor... and Saans Albeli.... The others will disappear from your memory as easily as they entered it."
Bollywood Hungama - "2/5"
HappySing - "Prakash Jha, who got four different composers to create four songs in Raajneeti has once again got it right, in fact better this time."
Planet Radiocity - "2/5"

- meeta, a part of the audience

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

47 reviewers(?) - 7 yays 22 so-so 18 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...two different films pre and post interval quite surprisingly which brings down the whole spirit of the project.... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...It requires great courage to cast Saif Ali Khan in the role, but he comes across as very persuasive. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Divya Solgama, Gomolo.in : ...His whole persona is superb and the dramatic scenes between him and Saif, him and Manoj and others are outstanding.... full review

Thumbs up, by Kaveree Bamzai, india today : ...This is not a movie, it's a slogan. And like all powerful ones, it is stirring. Which means you have to forgive the long speeches, the terrible dances, as well as the dialogue written to the sound of silent applause and sudden thunder... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...The sequences showing Prabhakar Anand teaching maths in a tabela with ample support from his daughter (Deepika Padukone), and two students from different social stratas (Saif Ali Khan and Prateik) convey the warmth of an idealism that we lost in our cinema since the days of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's "Satyakam".... full review

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, SmasHits.com : ...Music and cinematography are good too. Kudos to Sachin Krishn for capturing every sequence brilliantly! ... full review

Thumbs up, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...A good flick from Prakash Jha.... full review

So-So, by Anna Vetticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...tries to pack in too much into one film, beyond a point it lacks focus since it seems torn between reservations and the overall flaws in our education system... full review

So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...I was frankly surprised by my engaged response to Aarakshan. I wished it had been better (in terms of the supporting characters, in terms of the writing) and shorter, but I could really identify with the girl who cannot concentrate on the sums on the blackboard, on the pleasures of learning, because she can only think about the marks she needs in order to sit for her exam.... full review

So-So, by Pooja Rao, Bolly Spice : ...Some of the best lines on reservation, which were part of the promos are just about as limited in the film... full review

So-So, by Charu Mahesh, Buzz in Town : ...Run time of approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes becomes a challenge for audiences, especially at a time when film-makers are experimenting with short and interval free movies.... full review

So-So, Daily Bhaskar : ...He shows the conflicts between the characters quite convincingly, but fails to create an impact with the climax, as he takes too much time to convey the message.... full review

So-So, by Bikas Mishra, DearCinema : ...It’s a highly accomplished film that chooses to work within the discipline of commercial aesthetics of Hindi cinema which the industry seems to be trying hard to write off in favour of Hollywood inspired realistic-plausible storytelling and Europe inspired self-indulgent auteur cinema.... full review

So-So, by Rony D'costa, Desi Martini : ...is escapist issue based cinema ... full review

So-So, by Smita, Desi Martini : ...heavy and academic... full review

So-So, by Nupur Barua, fullhyd.com : ...Make no mistake - this movie is all about the Big B, who can do no wrong on the big screen. Despite abrupt changes in characterisation, AB delivers, and how.... full review

So-So, by Pankaj Sabnani, Glamsham.com : ...Saif Ali Khan acts well and makes his character believable. Deepika Padukone is decent.... full review

So-So, by Shrabani Mukherjee, merinews : ...fans of Amitabh Bachchan should book their tickets now as it is one of his best films. ... full review

So-So, Mixed Bag : ...Manoj Bajpayee has delivered a calculated performance showing no marks of being average anywhere. Not brilliant either. ... full review

So-So, Movie Talkies : ...Manoj brings a level of belief to Mithilesh Singh that a lesser performer simply couldn't manage.... full review

So-So, by Bhavikk Sangghvi, Planet Bollywood : ...Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is functional with only one song ‘Achcha Lagta Hai’ of hummable quality. Lyrics by Prasoon Joshi are meaningful.... full review

So-So, by Ruchi Mehta, Roochster : ...I got very bored in the first half. I was losing interest and felt like it was such a waste of my time. They didn’t even show the story properly and neither was it gripping. The second half however, was damn good but hardly related to the subject and more about competition and teaching a lesson to the bad guy.... full review

So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The songs (except the incongruous Mauka) and background score are great fun. ... full review

So-So, by Janhvi Patel, StarBoxOffice : ...Deepika and Saif’s love story is portrayed only through one song and a couple of hugs and glances. They don’t have the chemistry they did in Love Aaj Kal. It’s simply a side-track here.... full review

So-So, by Sudhish Kamath, The Hindu : ...A brilliant socio-political debate halfway becomes a Rajnikant film without Rajnikant... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Serious cinema meant for serious cinema buffs who like issue-based films. ... full review

So-So, by Reel Reptile, Upper Stall : ...With his considerable dialogue-writing skills though, Jha rescues the film from Bhandarkar-category and manages to equip Amitabh and Saif Ali Khan with legendary speeches that rival Nana Patekar's in Krantiveer... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, yahoo! India : ...Shankar-Ehsan-Loy drum up a mediocre fare for the ears, with 'Acha Lagta Hai' clearly scoring over 'Mauka', which seems right out of the 80s.... full review

So-So, by Spicezee Bureau, Zee News : ...Prakash Jha’s magnum opus tangentially touches upon the contentious issue of caste based reservation, leave aside confronting the hot potato. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Naresh Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...painfully pointless... full review

Thumbs down, by Bollyfan, Cinemaa Online : ...All smoke and no fire... full review

Thumbs down, by Ameetbhuvan, Desi Martini : ...Shallow and Superficial ... full review

Thumbs down, by Ankur Pathak, Desi Martini : ...Number of emotional chaos raked up, and a clear diversion from the intended destination, Aarakshan reaches an awkward climax that would want to believe in itself to be revolutionary. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...confused attempt ... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Deosthalee, Film Impressions : ...But Deepika Padukone's Poorbi (Anand's daughter) isn't properly fleshed out and given the actress' limited skills, the character simply falls flat. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, Film Impressions : ...Hema Malini’s portraits are very prominently displayed on the walls, and when she does turn up, it’s a laugh.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sukanya Venkatraghavan, Filmfare : ...But the hero of the day is Mr Bachchan. He towers over the flagging screenplay and the wavering vision and takes the film up a few more notches than it deserves.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...a deathly boring slog... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...You could dismiss that as just an overlooked plot-point, but overall Prateik manages to come off less than impressive. Weak acting or ineffectual characterization? Or both? ... full review

Thumbs down, by Komal Nahta, koimoi : ...Hema Malini leaves a mark in the single sequence she is seen in in the end.... full review

Thumbs down, Live Mint : ...Thankfully, Bachchan holds the show together. He towers above the rest and makes the most of a script that is weighed down by the burden of the subject. He brings gravitas and dignity to the role of the righteous Anand. He is the one reason to watch Aarakshan. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Prem Chand Sahajwala, merinews : ...Manoj Vajpayee is no match as a villain as opposed to the hero Amitabh Bachchan, who, to be fair to the film is more impressive than any of his old man roles played by him recently... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubha Shetty-Saha, MiD DAY : ...Deepika is pretty good, but I wish she didn't deliver dialogues like she has just mugged them up in her dad's classroom.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mansha Rastogi, Now Running.com : ...Characters like Prateik Babbar work against the film even more. He not only appears expressionless but also has a very accentuated dialogue delivery.... full review

Thumbs down, by Saisuresh Sivaswamy, Rediff : ...when a fine bunch of actors don't impress you as you leave the auditorium, the director has to shoulder the blame... full review

Thumbs down, by Prasanna D Zore, Rediff : ...The film lacks the historical perspective and characters that showed guts and gall that one has come to associate with filmmaker Prakash Jha's style after Mrityudand and Gangaajal... full review

Thumbs down, by Aseem Chhabra, Rediff : ...A note about the evil people. Jha makes them look like bad caricatures, and they all belong to the upper castes. ... full review

167 tweeters(?) - 85 yays 22 so-so 60 nays

zoran24x7: He has absolutely out done himself & his previous works in the process of tackling such a bold subject like #Reservation... #Aarakshan...!!!


Wrishi_Ghosal: saw the movie aarakshan...started feeling lyk a revolutionary....DUH.. tThe HAnGovER

Vsc33Pinku: saw ARAKSHAN fantastic story ITS / good salary to teachers is required. Education needs Urgent & Immediate Reforms.

vitalstreets: Aarakshan Is One Of the best movie of this year.... http://lnk.ms/RRTCB

vinay_manav: I think that Arakshan movie present strongest message on our education system. Everyone Must watch this movie...... @BigBfanforum

VIJAYMOHANDAS: Watched AArakshan and ZNMD, Praksh jha dissapointed me a lot, expected a lot from Prakash jha, I think ZNMD is far better then.......

vidhi16: Aarakshan is an awesome movie...I recommend that everyone shld see it..AB has again proven himself

UCS10: arakshan is a very good movie but the main topic does,t describe well

tirth689: did i like aarakshan..yuss! wud i watch it ever again..nooo! #IMOpenCategory:P

TheVishnuReddy: I wondered why they had another "A" in "Aarakshan", A for Awesomeness!!!

SuperSheenh: watched the hindi movie Aarakshan, & I have a urge to learn. Everyone MUST watch it. highly recommended !!! never take anything 4 granted!

sumanjoshi2: seen movie arakshan everyone must watch it.

SumanGtm_: Dr. Prabhakar Anand and his Siddhanta....#Aarakshan is a good Movie.....herda hunchha ...:)

SudhishKamath: Why Aarakshan must be watched. http://wp.me/p9Wkm-oT Updated review of the film that many critics will not like ;) May the trolling begin! :D

snigdha_s: jst watchd aarakshan.. impressive muvy.. very fine and theatricl perfrmanc by Sri Amitabh Bachan...

sneha_agrawal: AARAKSHAN - one beautifully crafted movie catering to the need of the hour i.e. revival of Indian education (cont) http://tl.gd/cdq8ia

sjoshipura: #Aarakshan is a gud 1 time watch Excellent performances by @SrBachchan manoj bajpayee ! though the Direction wasnt dat gud !i#HardHitting !

sinha_dheeraj: Saw Aarakshan...Nice movie....Why can't we hv a Service Cadre for Teachers (ITS) like IAS, IPS , IFS etc. Does the govt think Education imp!

SidPriya: Aarakshan is a wonderful movie, because it's bold n unbiased, but the plot was soon lost to free edu. vs. paid edu. - a whole new debate.

shreytapradhan: watched aarakshan @SrBachchan has dne a HEARTWARMING job..along wid @deepikapadukone n oder cast ..LOVED IT..dats y i love real cinema:)

shel412: Aarakshan- powerful essaying of roles and a good lesson in social enterprise. This movie is meant for the thinking Indian....

shanaysbafna: #Aarakshan is the best film of 2011 till now. #AbsolutelyBrilliant !!!

sehrishshaban: Watched Aarakshan- super long but good!

scprabhakar: Maine aaj arakshan dekhi,behad umda kism ki filam hain. mujhe prabhker anand nahi santosh prabhaker dikhai de raha tha.

saumyakejriwal: Aarakshan worth a watch ...loved amit sir performance

sanjiv_123: #Aarakshan superb movie.....ofcourse great performance by the baap of bollywood amitji

sanayamistry: Saw Aarakshan.. Nice film with powerful dialogues... Amitabh Sir's n Saif's performances were awesome :)

sakshaysdhadwal: aarakshan... A must watch... :-) (@ Fun Cinemas) http://4sq.com/okZS2u

saileshchowdary: Arakshan not clear wat director intended to tell but a gud muvie for sure

saavvvy: Whoaaaa!!! The best inspiration I could recv just a day before I start taking classes! Aarakshan----- a must watch :)

rsravissr: seen arakshan once again gr8 sir.........

rituladitya: Aarakshan upsets ovr xpectation..its somethin else than its image ws created..anyway did ma hattrick...tbc..

rchauhan110: Aarakshan awesome movie,,

rajsinghsuri: Aarakshan is not a movie, but a mirror!!!

puniitthakker: AARAKSHAN-One of the best movies which describes Current Politics And Class Apart acting by @SrBachchan .A must watch Movie for Every Indian

prachiganeriwal: AARAKSHAN is a must watch pple

murtukool: Music weak but still muvie is worth a watch :-) :-) i wuld go 3/5 #aarakshan @anbujohn

movingahead: Arakshan is a brilliant movie. Nobody gets the Hindi heartland better than Prakash Jha and @SrBachchan is on fire again - one of his best.

miteshpai: aarakshan awesome movie must watch !!!

MissterDspD: Just Watched "Aarakshan" movie in Movie Time Cinemas, a Must watch movie.

md_abadullah: I request PRAKASH JHA to make AARAKSHAN kind of movie again nd again

ManishSaryal: watched "Aarakshan" yesterday- a wonderful movie- what teacher and teaching really means in India- am impressed.

krutika_patel: Aarakshan- D Ultimate movie.........salute to Amitabh...!!!!!!!!!

KalParmar81: Aarakshan is a superb film. Loved it.

justjayanti: aarakshan rocked!!!!!!!!!!!!!! super! saif, @deepikapadukone prateik,manoj all were super.amitji,as always,brilliant.well done @prakashjha1

jaydipdmehta: #aarakshan .. should watch movie .. point well said by prakash zha .. and bachchan at its best again ..

HiDisIsLavanya: aarakshan is a nice movie

HARSHAY8: Watched aarakshan quite neatly done justifies everyones stand kudos taem aarakshan

harishba: Aarakshan a good thought provoking movie, I could relate the first part of the movie with my article on Casteism - ...: http://goo.gl/ti2Zn

HarikaVankadara: aarakshan - a movie that sure serves food for thought. Great movie, praiseworthy script, even if the conclusion is unrealistic...

haps4u: saw aarakshan yesterday...its a beautiful movie..with a great performance by Mr AMITABH BACHCHAN......

Gunjan47: 2.Why I liked Aarakshan-for all children from all economic strata.3. Hv had kids being pulled out of my class- reason parents uncomfortable

GSHUKLA: Watched Aarakshan- alarming reminder that Indian education needs overhaul, investment and equity!

Greyindecision: Slow but nice... It's not exactly about aarakshan. It's a lot of other things. http://bit.ly/pBF06n @GetGlue #Aarakshan

faizankhan383: Watched arakshan, every thing is reserved!bollywood is beyond reserved, great movie by prakash jha and as always manoj is movie stealer

dr_rajnish02: Watched 'aarakshan' it shows what ia happening in country.. Specially movie on business oriented coachings n teachers..

djsuketuindia: Happy Indian Independence Day friends. Flag hoisting in the morning was excellent. And then saw #Aarakshan. Very good film :-)

dharmeshparate: Saw arakshan wonderfull movie Amitabh's energy appropriately portrayed First half could have been tackled differently It appeared louder

Devender_143: see your arakshan good movie

debzzone: #Aarakshan is one of the best movies this year. Excellent performances by the star cast. Yet another hard hitting movie from Prakash Jha.

debopam_biswas: AARAKSHAN...A very good and very much required concept by Prakash jha.These days education is becoming a commodity day by day.....

debashishnitdgp: #justwatched Aarakshan .... Second half diverts frm d subject but still worth a watch .... AB was good as usual !!

dagurcs: Thanks to team of Prakash Jha, Sr.Bacchan,F.A.Nadiadwala,Saif,D.Padukone,M.Bajpayee,Prateik Babbar and S.E.loy 4 d movie AARAKSHAN,

chitraparmar: Arakshan was better than its reviews ............

CaptainToon: Absolutely worth it!! RT @VanDiablo: How's Aarakshan BTW? Can I waste some bandwidth on that?

Blood_Relative: #Aarakshan is incredible! Congrats to the entire team behind this extraordinary film! #BigB #DeepikaChopra #SaifAliKhan #bollywood #4EVA

biswaprakash01: u have done a speachless performance in ARAKSHAN, movie was also superb..mindblowing..@deepikapadukone


barathrajamani: watched AARAKSHAN.. went from bannerghatta road to yeshwanthpur to watch it with ABB friends.. good movie but name did not suit though!

ayushjhunwala: Aarakshan. .rocks N Amit uncle is awesome as usual. .

awsomehj: saw aarakshan today.. perfect movie for independence day :)

AV8_6: Aarakshan... Lot of food for thought !!

arvind1312: Arakshan an aweosme movie. Bachan sir rocks.. Manjoy bajipai di an awesome job..fantastic movie..enjoyed

anshkmr72: ysterday i sw aarakshan....... awesome movie.......

ankur228: Just watched AARAKSHAN. Awesome muvie !! Whole muvie was shot at my college !!

Amritjoardar: Watched Aarakshan yesterday, it was a gud film. Saif deepika relation worked in the movie

amolramning: #ARAKSHAN a nice film for 2days generation. such facilities should be provided by the government 4 economically backword & tallent students

alok038: the coaching criteria which grab indian students is a slow poision "paid business without guarantee". AARAKSHAN must watch movie..

aishwaryaxx: #Aarakshan ♥ To hell with all the drama, I loved the movie. A. MUST. WATCH. :)

a_b_h_i_shek: "AARAKSHAN" truly an eye opener for all those who believe in commercialization of education. A must Watch....!

40ankit: Nice film aarakshan..

_RKamat: watched aarakshan today.. discontinuity in story but overall a good watch..

_RahulB: Watched "Aarakshan". For me, it will go down as one of the finest films of 2011. Saif Ali Khan is a lovely actor.

__Deep___: Aarakshan - Decent Movie... Amitabh, Saif & Manoj Bajpayee - Killer acting..

van25789: Hmmm aarakshan is avg movie

tomato_umlaut: Aarakshan is not what the controversy about it assumed. Good performances by Saif and Amitabh compensate for the episodic story. Watchable

sunnychl: Watched 'Aarakshan'. Not as bad as people say it is. Soha Ali Khan could have done better though. The moustache was unnecessary.

soumendusanyal: Aarakshan cud hav been beta... If mr.jha cud hav concentrated on 1 topic rader dan havin an multitracks....!!

saurabhgurwara: Yeah yeah it was inspiring and thought-provoking, but will someone tell me why the hell it was AARAKSHAN?? name not justified...

sagarnautiyal: #Aarakshan....not that great movie....nothing to do with aarakshan....but One man show by Sir Amitabh Bacchan #killer acting

raviwarrier: I think @PrakashJha1 forgot what he was making. More a movie on education corruption than reservation/quota system. Aarakshan - 5.5/10

pandyasheetal: Saw aarakshan.. Craftly made.. But lil slow.. The 1000s close-up of saif n deepika were not needed..

paavani: Aarakshan is not as bad as i heard. But i didnt get the solution. As a movie you can watch. 2.5* #review

nairutee: good performances but content strictly OK! #aarakshan

maximumyum: The other day the whole greater family had gone to see Aarakshan. The movie was good in the first half and then sort of whittled away

M__Alive: Movie review Aarakshan-subject was good but the treatment of movie was very dramatic cld have been more realistic so *** stars to the movie.

KT_3D: how much in enough?? Aarakshan the first part is worth 5stars but the second part not so much solid acting, solid dialogues, worth one watch

khadijaejaz: Aarakshan: more about coaching classes than reservations, too rushed a first act, not enough character development, but worth a watch.

J_5hr1k4nth: #Aarakshan was an average movie, the emphasis mostly was on the reservation on basis of poverty and not by caste and creed.

itsmegodfather: Forget the word AArakshan the movie is too good ...

imansooor: Aarakshan 3/5

harshvictor: Aarakshan not a bad movie, but less magic thn Raajneeti :राजनीति.

ErraticTravesty: Aarakshan lacked the essence of its title. The movie showed many things except the reservation issues. Mediocre!

drkarmarkar: Saw Aarakshan yestd....if at all it is Pro-aarakshan. Worth a watch. An average depiction of d current Educatn Scenario.

atyanand: Aarakshan is definitely a movie of two halves. First beautifully presents the reality of reservation. Second is about a personal vendetta.

AkkuB: Had to keep my ears double open during Aarakshan. Super high fandu hindi. Hv seen prakash jha do better.

WorstHandle: BTW watched Arakshan today. The film pussied out of focusing on the issue, changed the course of the story in the second part.

willgetback: AARAKSHAN misses the point completely. To build a future, even in today's India, grades are the least important thing.

vikrant85rocks: watched arakshan was not brilliant .

vikramlalvani: watched aarakshan this weekend .it was like 2 different films in 1. 1st half on reservation and 2nd half on private tutions- missed the plot

VidhiChadha: saw arakshan today. horrible movie. the concept was good except the direction sucked! it was way dramatic and over the top.

varungupta984: Yes aarakshan sucks

umeshranglani: Aarakshan is such a fucking bore !!! Even deepika isn't helping!

TheBOON4all: Did u like it ?? I dint in fact i hated d movie RT @M_I_N_T_Y: @TheBOON4all its was good.!!saw arakshan!

tailing2ideas: aarakshan has been a damp squid

SWAPNILSOURAV1: Yesterday i watched Aarakshan-India Vs India,this movie did'nt completely justified the title,1st part was gud but aftr dat script got lost

Swapnil_Patil: Aarakshan is slow, 2 much of fundas, lack of firm stand on real issue n in the end wats the msg "Paid or Free..Coaching classes r cmplsry"!!

SurenMK: #Aarakshan----screenplay let the film down.. watch it for the controversy it created

supriyabulbul: AARAKSHAN............grrrrr wht a thakau movie........bt hd a nic nap in d HALL :P

superravs: so many stars in aarakshan doin nothn except bigB n manoj bajpai...m really depressed bt prakshjha..he is goin vishal bhradwaj way.

ShivAroor: If the Govt *really* wants to subdue these #Lokpal mobs, it shld consider rounding them up & subjecting thm to a pvt screening of #Aarakshan

SahilBulla: Just saw Arakshan. 99% of my mind was reserved on Not Paying Attention. #truestory

sachinbhandary: Aarakshan is decent cinema but not worth all the furore, it does not even compel you to think about this issue which could shape our future.

qosmioamit: Aarakshan is a brilliantly scripted movie about reservation in Indian educational institutions. A spectacular performance by @SrBachchan

priyank2685: had hema malini not intervened d movie aarakshan wud hve nvr ended.. thank u hemaji :-)

Preitymishra: 'Aarakshan' is just a headache.

pkkaushik2: Aarakshan not Worth of hike provided !

nalinv: Watched Aarakshan yesterday.Great script in 1st half, 2nd half a let down. Saif and Prateik a waste. @srbacchan and Manoj Bajpai Superb.7/10

monil12: with the hot topic like reservation, Prakash Jha failed this time to prove the pt in #aarakshan with loosely based story line & reality

moharerprakash: watched AARAKSHAN last night. not impressed at all. performances were superb but d vision was blurred. .

mayureshnirhali: Arakshan - the worst movie of Prakash Jha. Only @SrBachchan does his bit.

mayankgupta86: #aarakshan is a bad movie, big b actually gav half n hour coaching in the movie, damn my bloody lectures wer better not tht #boring

MadhavMatters: Arakshan is a super yuck movie

kritikaramani: Aarakshan - mega confooshion movie

korr_06: Finally watched aarakshan, to my disappointment the title of the mov had nothing to with the same!! Just another Bollywood way of makin mov!

JWalia: Couldn't agree more! RT @nidhibains: #aarakshan is off subject and Prateik's acting is horrible.

JeetenSheth: Aarakshan is a BS movie!! Still wondering whats the agenda!!

janhaviM: in aarakshan the issue of reservation was spoken about for a max of 15mins!the rest of the movie made absolutely no sense!

IshanSaluja: IMO #Aarakshan would've been a way better movie if they'd chosen to go deep with one issue rather than skim a dozen or two.

indolianeeraj: A confused script,unimpressive direction by mr. Jha,n a couple of poor performances of by everybody except bachhan sahab!#arakshan

implex: Aarakshan a totally confused movie. Great Star Cast. That's it.

im_adi: #aarakshan Has happened. And im feeling like cheated.

hrkeni: #Aarakshan - How to NOT handle a sensitive issue and turn it into a melodramatic farce.

HarshalBhandare: Aarakshan:Such a good subject but wasted in clueless direction & script. Surprised how saif accepted this role for couple of dialogues.

hanariaz: But the ending was a flop, remedial education isn't enough. We need to redo the education system entirely #equality #aarakshan #bollywood

guptasukriti: Aarakshan is such a poorly made film. "QED" ! Ha! #sucks

gauravgupta: Aarakshan is only about aarakshan till the interval. After that it becomes more of "tabela bachao". My rating- 0/5

Gaali_Leo: Aarakshan is worst than the most boring lectures I've ever attended in college. Total chutiya movie.

foram1011: Below average- aarakshan! Though storyline is good bt da tough hindi language makes a viewer go off to sleep

Finelychopped: Can I sue the Arakshan makers for using my initials? And boring us to death?

epic_n00b: Aarakshan: Ratings 1.5/5,movie is 30% time wasted in BS of quota system & 70% wasted in Amitabh vs Manoj Bajpai fight of commercial classes

durgapal: 'Aarakshan' (CRAP Movie) - nothing to do with reservation but more to do with private coaching centers and state of education in India.

drrohanjain: prakash jha should have been more bold to show the truth of aarakshan...!!

deepikah: Aarakshan has totally lost the plot after interval. *yawn*

dedhpase: Aarakshan is a confused movie...not in the same league as some of other prakash jha work..

chipku_chamiya: Arakshan-aaaaahhhh my brain hurts!!

BreakingViews4u: 'Tution centres' was mr apt a name than 'Aarakshan' - Prakash Jha's shrewed way of publicizing d movie back fires ths time, 2/5

bindaas_lol: Watched Aarakshan today. Not all that great!

Bhanu025: Watched Aarakshan. Bad movie, and honestly the title should have been on "Coaching class".Why "Aarakshan" used?

axisparashuram: Jha has failed to make his mark in Arakshan like in Apaharan & Rajneeti, weak justification in the script.doing well b'coz of Media hype

arunajain786: #Aarakshan = *yawn*

anuvesh16: Todae i watched movie 'Arakshan' ... quite disappointing

anoopthomast: Please dont watch the second half of Aarakshan

ankitavg: Saw aarakshan today..complete waste of time n money...

Ankit_thesp: Aarakshan..can't believe it comes from the superb combo of Prakash Jha+Anjum Rajabali Sir..I ws expectin much better.

akinak87: Just watched 'Aarakshan', still not clear what to make of the movie. Except that Prateik cannot pull off as a Bhopali.

10 readers - 6 yays 2 so-so 2 nays

Not Interested in Watching, by adult adult toys,

Not Interested in Watching, by the pirate bay unblocked

Want to Watch, by j.vijay : chars

Want to Watch, by the pirate bay

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Bollywood movie reviews : Aarakshan will be great.

Yay! Thumbs Up, by deepu

Yay! Thumbs Up, by rahul : it will be a nice m ovie to watch

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Rajish Kumar

Yay! Thumbs Up, by vivek

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Z 4884

So-So, by Rema Anand : Can go for amitabh and watch-able first half. But definitely not a theatre movie.

So-So, by Rocky j

Nay! Thumbs Down, by guddu : utter bore

Nay! Thumbs Down, by kapil

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

The principled principal of a college gets himself caught in between the two sides of the reservation argument. And suddenly he sees the root of the evil in the parallel commercial education system.

What Worked

  • Background music in the titles.
  • I don't necessarily have a musical ear, but I think the theme music starts with the notes of "vaishnav jan to". I thought that fit in well with the theme of the film.
  • Some of the dialogues had an awesome punch.
  • The scene where Prabhakar (Amitabh Bachchan) dismisses Poorbi's (Deepika Padukone) sacrifice as collateral damage.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Some of the words used by Deepika Padukone and Saif Ali Khan like "sthir". Didn't go well with the characters or the flow of the dialogue at all.
  • Manoj Bajpai's wig.
  • Awful cuts. There was no way to keep track of the timeline. Have minutes passed by between two scenes or days? Some lines/scenes could be interpreted as both.
  • When did Deepak (Saif Ali Khan) change his decision about not going to the US?
  • The whole house being taken over business! How can a person who has no agreement with the owner of a property legally give the property away on rent!? Didn't make sense at all!
  • A phone number from US starts with 9122. Come on!

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):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Aarakshan - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
165 minutes

Comments (15)

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@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!

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

@moviebhakt apparently not!

Really looking forward to this movie.

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

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 .

@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?

@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

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. :)

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.

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 .

@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!

@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.

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

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

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