Aarakshan Hindi Movie Review
At an event Prakash Jha confessed that it is important to blend an art film with commercialisation for better reach among the masses. That's what the filmmaker has been trying ever since he made Mrityudand. Once again he attempts tackling a social evil through his film multi-starrer Aarakshan and has managed to stir up the hornet's nest with the mooted topic of Reservation. There have been multiple ban requests from Political houses so much so that many a political hoodlums also carried out protests against the release of the film. It leaves us all to wonder whether this film really comes out that strong or not.
Set in Bhopal Aarakshan is the story of Prabhakar Anand's (Amitabh Bachchan) fight against the law system as well as the education system of India. He is the legendary idealistic principal of a private college that he has single-handedly turned into the state's best. It is the story of his loyal disciple, Deepak Kumar (Saif Ali Khan) who will do anything for his Sir. Deepak's in love with Poorbi (Deepika Padukone) Prabhakar's daughter. Centred on one of the most controversial issues of recent years, with the Supreme Court's order on reservations, the story suddenly becomes a rollercoaster ride of high drama, conflict, and rebellion, which tests their love and friendship for one another, and their loyalty to Prabhakar Anand.
Throughout the film Prakash Jha seems to be consciously aware of the topic at hand and that's just why he deals with it like a Parliament issue making each character voice an opinion. While the first half deals with reservation of seats the second half takes a turn towards the commercialization of education. And the conclusion of it all is so simple that the entire fracas in the nation could be solved so very easily.
Yes, at a stage in the film one might start relating to a couple of points being put across. A lot of people may have even succumbed to the quota system widely prevalent in India. However, the superficial approach towards it makes Jha miss the impact. A lot of it can be blamed on the setting, characters, narrative and the length. The initial 30 minutes of the film are a complete let down. With almost two songs breaking on the screen within 15 minutes one starts getting a little edgy and impatient. The setting of a mohalla and local area of Bhopal is all awry. Jha's editing tools may definitely be rusted for him to not have used them at all. Characters like Prateik Babbar work against the film even more. He not only appears expressionless but also has a very accentuated dialogue delivery. Saif Ali Khan disappears from most parts of the first half and has a small role in the second half too. Even at that he appears quite pretentious than natural. Deepika Padukone is average at best.
What holds the audience's attention right till the end is the drama and dialoguebaazi between Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpayee. These two are the key characters of the film and perform exceptionally well. Some of the best scenes of the film are centred around the both of them.
To sum it up, Aarakshan is just an average affair. Could've been shorter and better.