Aarakshan Movie Review – Disappointing Second Half

Aarakshan Movie Review – Disappointing Second Half

Aarakshan has been in the news for its controversial theme on caste-ridden reservations in the education system. Even at the point of writing, the movie is in news, banned from various places including UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. After watching the film, one may say that the film may well be banned for a different reason-for being such a boring film that compromises on its theme.

Director Prakash Jha’s films like Gangajal, Raajneeti, Apaharan and Damul have always managed to make varying degrees of impact due to their socially relevant themes. Aarakshan had a touchy topic as well and so it was natural that there would be a whiplash from some streams of the society. But even then, the film should have delivered on the premise; not distanced itself from the core issue, which is also the title of the film.


Prabhakar Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) is a noble, kind-hearted professor who is in charge of Shankuntala Takarai college. Two people, lecturer Deepak Kumar (Saif Ali Khan) and Sushant Seth(Prateik Babbar) share diametrically opposite views, while the former who is a son of a Dalit, who supports the supreme court verdict of reservation, Sushant feels that admission should be merit-based only. Amidst all this, there is this conniving professor Mitleish(Manoj Bajpayee) who takes advantage of the situation and befriends political heads who assure that that he has all the leeway to make huge sums of money by floating his own coaching class.

When professor Anand comes to know of Mitleish’s shady job, he issues him a show-cause notice. But in the bargain, Anand is insinuated with playing caste-based politics and he becomes the target of the media. Beleaguered, the professor resigns and leaves his honorable position to Mitleish.

Mr. Anand is in for more shock when he comes to know that his house is being run by Mitleish as a private coaching class. His daughter Purvi (Deepika Padukone) wife Tanvi Azmi are tired of Mr. Anand’s uncompromising values but the man is steadfast in his belief that he will get back his house someday. How he gets back his lost glory forms the rest of the story


What works for Aarakshan:

This is perhaps one of the few films of Prakash Jha where there is more controlled agitation of the cerebral variety rather than nonsensical violence. The first half is good too, with some good sequences involving Saif Ali Khan and Mr Bachchan.


What does not work for Aarakshan:

Aarakshan fails miserably when it comes to sticking to its core subject. The issue was of student reservation quota and the politics around it. But post interval, the film takes another turn and distances itself from the main subject, big time. The second half is a boring take on private coaching classes and their profit motives. It is just another thing between the good and the evil with the good winning in the end.

Apart from compromising with the idea, we can also sense that the director Prakash Jha is confused and not so sure of the product. Come to think of it, even the romance between Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone is on a confusing track because at times, it does look evident that she has a thing going for Prateik as well. The director seems to be wondering if he could extend Prateik’s track with Deepika or just let it be.

The songs are boring and create a further dent in the proceedings. The performances are unimpressive as well, only Saif and Amitabh Bachchan leave a mark

Performances in Aarakshan:

Amitabh Bachchan is superb as the principal. The get-up is just the same as the one in Mohabbatein but this character has more depth. Saif Ali Khan may not look like a Dalit but he does pack in a powerful performance. Unfortunately, he gets less scope to perform. Deepika Padukone, one of the better actresses in the contemporary arena, disappoints. Prateik Babbar is also a let-down, can’t believe he was so natural in his earlier films The worst performance is from an exceptionally good actor Manoj Bajpayee, he has been given a shoddy getup and he hams badly in the film.

Conclusion: Aarakshan is avoidable; the second-half is a huge letdown.

Rating: **1/2








Story of Aarakshan:

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