Aarakshan controversies driven by political agendas:Saif Ali Khan

Aug 10, 2011 Priyanka Sharma

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) Saif Ali Khan, who stars in "Aarakshan", says people with their own political agendas are fanning controversies over the film, which is about caste-based reservations in education. The actor says his own convictions about quotas underwent a complete change while doing the movie.

"I am surprised to see people creating so many controversies without even watching the film. By pulling down the film, they just want to gain mileage. Instead of creating awareness and doing something, they are just sensationalising things," Saif told IANS in an interview from Mumbai.

"Even the Censor Board has cleared the film without any cuts and given it a U/A certificate. Some people have their own political agenda and they try to make things difficult at the last moment. Such people have to be handled carefully," he added.

Directed by Prakash Jha, "Aarakshan", scheduled to release Aug 12, also stars Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpayee and Prateik.

Recently, activists from the Republican Party of India (RPI) attacked Jha's home and office in Mumbai to stall the release of the film. A Dalit group in Patna was upset with the director for casting Saif, who belongs to a former royal family, as a Dalit in the film.

The Uttar Pradesh government had asked for a special screening of the film prior to its release to see if the movie could disturb the law and order situation in the state.

"The controversies around the film are going overboard. There is a police van standing all the time in front of my house. Some stupid people with their own agendas get involved in such things. Prakash Jha is a very honest filmmaker and he doesn't deserve all this," said Saif, 40.

"Such situations become difficult to handle but there are different kinds of people with different thinking; we still keep trying and keep struggling," he added.

Saif admits he didn't believe in the idea of reservation before he became a part of the film, but now he is in favour of it.

"I was completely anti-reservation before I became a part of the film, but now I believe that there should be some kind of reservation, because there are many underprivileged and they have to be uplifted," he said.

"However, it is true that students who get 80 percent and 90 percent fail to get a seat and it goes to someone less deserving, but these things need to be worked out to balance it," he added.

Saif also said he was happy about not being a part of the "messy" political scenario of the country.

"It is too messy, I am lucky it is not part of my life. I wouldn't be able to bear it. However, there are some politicians who are making efforts to help the country. But, yes, I believe there will be a day when the country would be free of corruption," he said.

Saif, who plays a Dalit school teacher, said he met some people from a particular strata of society to prepare for his role.

"I read about Dalit people to understand the character and what they would be going through. I met some of the people from that strata of the society," said Saif.

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