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Critic Reviews for Aarakshan
It is marred by the usual bolly-excesses: an inordinate length, unnecessary songs and the miscasting of real-life royal-blood Khan as a 'dalit' (untouchable). Well acted, though.
While its questions of affirmative action and charter schools could theoretically resonate with American auds, the pic's corny theatrics, talky, preachy approach and taxing 164-minute running time will not translate.
Subtle it ain't and subtle it needn't be. It is, though, mostly involving (if Bollywood long, at 2 hours 45 minutes) and even occasionally stirring.
At times it's so heavy-handed and clunky in laying out the arguments for and against quotas that it resembles a high school debate rather than a quality drama.
Bachchan is at his usual excellent best after years of experience in Hindi cinema.
Audience Reviews for Aarakshan
The flight takes off to land at the pre-destined location, but lands you somewhere else. The director is a shrewd wolf wearing the skin of the sheep. Saying that the subject needs attention, he cruelly shapes the sensitive issue to his ends. Some states banned it saying that it's vulnerable to riots, but the director fought against it in the court. All in the name of the promotion. As expected, it did create some disturbance in certain regions. All might have been justified had the movie served its said-to-be-purpose. But the movie rises no more than the same old good v/s evil game. A man with principles faces a corrupted man, loses his valuables, but his morals and family, then the movie descends to the predictable theatrical route and ultimately he emerges as a winner. The discussions pertaining to "Aarakshan" does come somewhere in between, but its not the primary issue here. The focus is more on free education and the significance of educational institutions. And that all too seemed to be presented before us just because they needed to preach something after all (and fill the runtime). Big names like Amitabh, Saif, Deepika and Manoj were enough to lure in audiences who would expect an interesting movie on a serious issue. The actors played their part well, but the movie failed to. Obviously, JMO. 0.5/10.
Reservation is a very sensitive topic. So, how to make a movie on it? Well, don't make a movie on it, just name the film aarakshan. Prakash Jha plays it safe by degrading the film from a high tension social drama to a run-of-the-mill anti-establishment flick. The movie started off so well with high voltage exchanges between pro and anti reservation camps. But then, they just stopped talking about it. As simple as that. Still, it takes some guts to attempt on volatile subjects like these. The actors did well, except for Deepika of course. She just hams it up, just like Katrina did in Rajneeti. I wonder why sensible directors like Jha keep on miscasting in important roles, opting for popular stars instead of resourceful actors. I loved Saif's casting as a Dalit, btw, not only because he did well, but also because he belongs to the highest classes in the country: his father is a Nawab and his mother is a Brahmin. Talk about irony :)
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