‘Aarakshan’ the movie released on 12 August 2011 is one of Prakash Jha’s typical engrossing on one of the other social factors gripping the society. Self proclaimed socio-political drama captures a burning issue of today’s Rising India. It is conceptualized on the caste based reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. But finally lands on providing equal education to the children of all classes and sects.

A star studded movie that casts Amitabh Bachchan (Prof. Prabhakar Anand), Saif Ali Khan (Deepak Kumar), Deepika Padukone (Poorbi Anand), Prateik Babbar(Sushant Seth) and Tanvi Azmi ( Anand’s Wife). Prof. Anand happens to be a strong believer of education for all. And henceforth he acknowledges the requirement of weaker sections of society to be given equal opportunities for education. Deepak happens to be one such student but with Prof. Anand helps and guidance turns out to be a bright and shining student. But his caste stops him from getting a job and he finally joins Prof. Anand as Junior Lecturer.

Deepak, Sushant and Poorbi happen to be very good friends. Deepak and Poorbi are in love with each other as expected. But turning point comes when 27% seats are reserved for OBCs and the crowd of that celebration reaches Shakuntla Thakral University, where Prof. Anand is the principal. Sushant, dejected because he couldn’t get into the college of his choice because of the reservation wants the crowd to be out of college. However Deepak wants them to just relax and let the things lighten up. However during all this, they engage in rough exchange of words. Prof. Anand takes disciplinary action against Sushant, nevertheless Deepak misbehaves with Prof. Anand.

Prof. Anand ‘s conscience is shattered as Deepak accuses him of being castist. Deepak levaes for his higher research work for Cornell. Meanwhile Mithilesh Singh (Manoj Bajpayee), appointed Vice principal of Shakuntla Thakral University, tries to fuel up things even more. He is the owner of KK Coaching classes where he charges high and runs the business of education, which Prof. Anand is absolutely against of. Mithilesh Singh, being shrewd person tortures Prof. Anand mentally, makes him homeless. But Prof. Anand being a determined person wants to prove that it is the teacher who provides education. Above this, he wants to prove that he believes in equal education/opportunities for students of all sections of society and he is not in favour /against of caste based reservation as quoted by media.

So he starts with a “tabela school”. Deepak on knowing this joins Prof. Anand. And so does Sushant joins them too. The complete movie revolves around how the values are imbibed by teachers and how a teacher is the provider of education. And especially the point of providing free education which has been highlighted becomes the epicenter of movie.
The movie as a whole has been declared a flop by Boxoffice. And there are different pointare different points of views by different critiques. Taran Adarsh rates it with 4 stars calling it as a gripping story with relatable characters. Nikhat Azmi’s gives it a 3-star rating saying that it ends in no man’s land which is actually true to the extent. Dainik Bhaskar gave it 3 stars. FilmFare gave it 2 stars. However I would like to give it a 3.5 Stars.

First of all as a movie, it is well connected. There is no missing link as such. Secondly, the direction, candidness of actors, the music is well driven. The movie unlike other Bollywood tales doesn’t have too much of romance in blossoms and rains and catches up with the main point quickly and smoothly. What do we say “Zara short mein batlao naaa”…..giggles. The only but a major disappointment is movie couldn’t do justice to its title AARAKSHAN, however ends up with providing free education to all children of all sections, and opening up of a Remedial Center. There has not been a hint even regarding the point of views on reservation. I believe one has to be politically correct in a democratic nation, so played safe Mr. Prakash Jha.

But as Prakash Jha’s movie never go message less and are intended, so was this movie. Circumventing around caste based reservations, but the movie gives us a message that Aarakshan is in our minds rather than in policies and reforms. We have to fight the reservation perpetuating in our minds against people of low castes and backward sections of society. Moreover education is not about in how well maintained and equipped coaching classes we attend but solely on the teacher and passion in one to be educated. So definitely this movie will be a blow to few, if not many coaching institutes.

Karanvir Gupta