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AARAKSHAN - Movie Review : Prakash Jha gives you two different films pre and post interval quite surprisingly which brings down the whole spirit of the project. (Review By Bobby Sing)
12 Aug, 2011 | Movie Reviews / 2011 Releases

Let’s talk about the core issue first and regarding that I seriously doubt that any organization or groups revolting against the film have even seen it. Because as per my understanding, the film just touches the controversial point of reservation as an important part of its storyline but never talks against or takes sides of any one person. Moreover, its script simply takes help of this added plot to establish the ideals and values of its various characters and nothing else. The director neither discusses the issue after a set limit nor he tries to give his own verdict on the matter from any angle. So this conflicting part of the project ends right here.

Coming to the film itself, it cannot be included in Jha’s best works as there is a wide gap of outlook and vision in its both halves. In fact I would like to add that its like watching works of two different directors before and after the intermission in AARAKSHAN. In straight words the film can be given two different titles for both its parts as per their respective subjects. Before intermission it can be called AARAKSHAN and post that it should be called SHIKSHA or SHIKSHAK. Now as per these two titles, I would further like to discuss the film in two different sections here.

Fulfilling all expectations raised by the director’s previous hit RAJNEETI, AARAKSHAN starts off with an explosive scene featuring Saif Ali Khan in his full form straight away. The scene sets the screen on fire and in the next 90 minutes Jha delivers exactly what was expected from him in terms of great confrontation scenes, brilliant dialogues and high voltage drama unfolding on the screen gradually. Therefore this first part of the film is a clear winner, with an entertaining fast paced action and explosive sequences which greatly excite the viewer on the whole and he starts expecting a lot more coming thereafter.  

So just on the lines of his previous HIT, Prakash Jha begins the film perfectly well with his own visible cameo too (see if you can catch his glimpse somewhere in the background). And considering this first part alone, AARAKSHAN simply knocks you off with the similar quick and well placed twists and turns in its storyline as we had earlier seen in RAJNEETI. But at the same time, the film is not completely about the topic of RESERVATIONS or AARAKSHAN as projected. It does take up the issue strongly, but very soon goes on to a different track altogether in its second hour. Still, just sample these few dialogues given below and they will clearly suggest the power put in by the off-beat director in its first half.

“Hum Competition Se Peechhe Nahin Hat Tey, Par Competition Ke Liye Race Ka Starting Point Sabke Liye Ek Hona Chahiye”,
“Pehle Aakar Zara Hamari Zindagi Chakho, Phir Barabari Ki Baat Karna” and
“Like IFS (Indian Foreign Services) why don’t we have ITS (Indian Teaching Services) to prepare brilliant teachers who will in turn give us superb students.”

But here the unfortunate point is that whatever you have seen in the film’s promos running on the channels and whatever sequences have created this entire burning buzz around the movie in different states, each one of those scenes and dialogues have been edited from the first half of movie alone and not from the second. And that should give you the exact picture of what I am trying to mention here. So if you are willing to see something close to the experience of RAJNEETI, then AARAKSHAN has got that in it for sure, but only in its first half.

Post intermission, the film goes slow and becomes quite predictable with the same cliché kind of drama where a single person revolts against a cunning man in power and then all others start joining him in his war against the faulty system. The second half falls extremely short of all the expectations raised by its first one as the focus completely shifts away from AARAKSHAN or RESERVATION towards EDUCATION and there are no strong confrontation scenes in it as compared to the first one. In this part, the script mainly exposes the EDUCATION MAFIA and the Coaching Classes Web operating silently in front of our eyes, which is fast becoming a new line of professional services provided to the innocent students at a higher cost. But the manner in which Jha exploits the subject is not that realistic and it becomes too filmy in the end with a very weak kind of climax which not even mentions the main subject of the film i.e. AARAKSHAN.

Apart from its over length, the biggest drawback of this last hour of the film remains the character of Saif Ali Khan, who doesn’t bounce back in the script as a savior to Amitabh’s tough condition as expected. In fact Saif vanishes off the screen for a big chunk of film and when he is expected to come back as the Messiah, his soft return falls flat and is not able to make any kind of powerful impression on the viewer. Further the tired climax thought of by the director looks very dwarf and timid in front of its BIG SUBJECT, with a sudden entry of Hema Malini bringing in a very easy solution to all the big problems being faced by its characters. So don’t expect some big revolution or a great climax this time from the director on the lines of his last film.

However, by choosing this kind of unusual & explosive subject for his project, Prakash Jha once again proves his off-beat vision of cinema and its really a blessing for all the Hindi Film viewers that the director decided to venture into mainstream commercial cinema with his same famous approach of making films on society’s relevant and burning issues. But this time, I seriously feel that if he had only focused on the title subject alone in his second half, then the film could have been a different experience altogether for all his fans and viewers.

Performance wise, as usual the best act comes from the one and only Amitabh Bachchan with his body language talking more than his dialogues. In few words, When Amitabh talks with his eyes, then its like MAGIC on the screen and one can only watch the film for Amitabh’s performance alone. Saif Ali Khan tries hard and against all reports and allegations looks perfectly suited to his character of a Dalit Teacher. Here once again the credit goes to the director, for casting Saif in this role and also getting the work done from him with his own perfect vision. Saif does excel in the first half but in the later part of the film, the script doesn’t give him the chance to impress the viewers ever and that’s the reason his character doesn’t really work post intermission.

The same is the case with Manoj Bajpayee too as he is brilliant in the first half and just fine in the second. Parteik impresses in his few scenes and Deepika look confident in his emotional portrayal. In the supporting cast Tanvi Azmi is first class and so is Yashpal Sharma. Hema Malini makes a pleasant guest appearance in the end and all the others perform their parts really well. Dialogues remain a major USP of the film along with its super Cinematography. But musically as per the subject, AARAKSHAN doesn’t have the scope of including songs, still being an integral part of our Indian Cinema, they are there as an avoidable feature of the movie.

On the whole, AARAKSHAN does give you something to think about our faulty educational system and its class divisions. But I don’t know why Prakash Jha deliberately toned down his explosive film after the first half. Since the title doesn’t get its demanded justification in its later part, therefore the film is not able to generate the same kind of burning energy throughout its lengthy duration. Yet, it indeed remains a watchable socially relevant film raising few important questions about our Schools and Colleges, which need to be addressed by the nation and its governing bodies at the earliest. So do watch it especially for its first half.

Rating : 3 / 5

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12 Aug 2011 / Comment ( 1 )
Ajay Khatwani

Good built up of conflict till interval. Goes down steeply in the second half. Has the most idiotic climax. Disappointing.

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