It’s an issue that we guys have been hearing about since quite a while ‘Reservation’ aka Aarakshan and this what the makers of this film would have one believe that this film is all about, how callously then they mus guide the poor public into believing the movie is all about that issue and nothing else.
The movie ends up dealing with 2 primary issues instead of the one singular focus which seems to be promised by the title of the film and this is where one feels the movie loses its focus. From my point of view in a purely personal capacity I have truly enjoyed Prakash Jha‘s movies before Gangajal and Raajneeti, however with this movie his grip seems to be slipping, the free and natural looking performances he seemed to have obtained from the massive number of actors he has dealt with seems to be lost here, so does his innate ability to hold on to a single thread story wise which makes the film feel like 2 different movies badly stitched together some how with the cast and crew remarkably remaining the same throughout.
The movie deals with the issue of reservation quite obviously but manages to make a detour on the way to the issue of coaching classes and the negative impact they have(by no means a small issue) and somehow or the other manages to get so wrapped up in it that it seems to forget the main emphasis of the movie and decides to become self-indulgent and preachy in that vein instead of scurrying back to the real point which was being discussed. This is a movie in which one is made to feel that the director went for a popcorn break in the middle of the movie and in the line waiting overheard a conversation about coaching classes and decided that it excited him more so be prepared to mentally switch gears from the first half to the second.
Performance wise Amitabh Bachchan as always is really good diving in to the character head first and delivering his lines in a way that only some one of his experience and ability can, Prateik Bubbar is completely lost amongst the other power houses of talent present and his acting looks like that of a deer caught in headlights, Deepika Padukone is good, Saif Ali Khan with his rock star good looks and noble presence is miscast as the poor little dalit kid and I think a role reversal between him and Prateik would have been good, Manoj Bajpai as always proves him self to be a damn good character artiste and slips into the role perfectly.
Really wanted to love this film and reservation is a topic which I too have a lot of doubts and opinions about, but this film clearly forgets to give a verdict or even the slight hint of an opinion and hides under a far less explosive topic till the end.
All in all this film disappointed big time and maybe for some one with lowered expectations it would have been a good if slightly muddled watch
Rating :**1/2* out of *****
- Movie Review | ‘Aarakshan’: A Battle for India’s Soul (movies.nytimes.com)
- Aarakshan review, trailer video, watch online, movie stills (panasianbiz.com)