I strive to bring understanding, not change: Prakash Jha

Jun 21, 2011 Radhika Bhirani

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) It's his belief in 'cinema with power' that drives Prakash Jha to bring political and socio-political issues to celluloid. But Jha, whose next "Aarakshan" is on the reservation policy, doesn't believe in igniting debate and maintains that his cinema tries to spread awareness in society.

"I only strive to bring about understanding. If changes happen thanks to my films...it's fantastic! But all I would like to tell is a good story and give some understanding to the viewers (about a subject)," Jha told IANS in an interview .

Be it bonded labour in "Damul", gender injustice in "Mrityudand", Bihar's kidnapping industry in "Apaharan", India's corrupt police force in "Gangaajal", political scenario in "Raajneeti" and now caste-based reservation in "Aarakshan", Jha says he picked each subject to analyse the impact of the country's social, economic and governmental policies.

"More than issues, I focus on the changes caused by new policies. It is my keenness that I understand those changes in Indian society, observe them, and when I feel that I have understood the issues well, I tell a story," said Jha who doesn't believe in "igniting a debate because the truth about society will remain the truth - we can't change it."

"But we should try and understand the in-depth impacts these issues cause in society, the disparity they cause among people and how it can be reduced... my cinema is just an attempt to understand that," he added.

In "Aarakshan", viewers must not seek to find a solution to the disparity caused by the reservation issue, warned the critically acclaimed and National award-winning filmmaker.

"I'm just telling a story. I'm not giving a solution. 'Aarakshan' is an emotional story of a family that is caught in the aftermath of the reservation issue. It is a story of a principal who is forced to take sides or the stand of a society that wakes up to a situation caused by the reservation quota," he said.

Social disparity has also led to commercialisation of education, feels the filmmaker who has also dealt with the impact of reservation in his movie.

"What has been of interest to me about the subject of reservation is the repercussions which have been brought about by this change. And, ironically, I find that in the last two or three decades, while this has created disparity, it has also unexpectedly given birth to the commercialisation of education.

"The seats got reduced, the opportunities got reduced, the competition increased, more coaching classes opened...Today, we are on the verge of a time when the whole scenario of education seems to be going in a very different direction...and 'Aarakshan' taps those issues," he said.

The movie, which features Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpayee and Prateik, will release Aug 12. Jha, who shot the film in Bhopal in a 55-day schedule, feels it's important for youth to understand the subject for the betterment of their future.

"The film brings out all aspects of reservation and puts it in a way that the audience gets a better understanding on the subject. More than creating a debate, I think it would make people understand the realities and pain of both sides - the upper and backward classes - and make them think of giving a new direction to our education system.

"The movie will entertain and go, but I hope people understand that it is a story of every child of our country. Everyone these days is worried about how their children will study, what the costs are going to be...and that is an important national, social worry that the film is going to point at," said the 59-year-old, who feels youth will be "direct beneficiaries" of the film.

And with this intent, Jha, who failed to make it big in the political scenario after losing two elections, also promises that in his future cinematic projects, he will "continue dealing with social changes".

Click the Movie button below for more info:

Prakash Jha Pictures


More News