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Review by : Vandana Krishnan

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Deepika Padukone
Direction: Prakash Jha
Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Production: Prakash Jha, Firoz A. Nadiadwala


Based on the raging political debate on reservations and quota for the backward and underprivileged sections of the society, Prakash Jha’s Arakshan is powerful story with a weak screen play.

An Amitabh, Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer, Arakshan is the story of an idealistic educationist and philanthropist Prabhakar Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) and his struggle againt the political and capitalistic uprising based on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Mandal Commission report reserving seats in government schools, colleges and offices for the backward classes.Sushant (Prateik Babbar) and Deepak (Saif Ali Khan) are friends who adore and respect their principal Prabhakar. Purbi, Prabhakar’s daughter loves Deepak.

The Supreme Court’s decision in favour of reservation changes the life of these four as they are torn between their stand on reservation and their affections for their loved ones. Vice Principal Mithilesh Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) capitalizes on this situation to humiliate Prabhakar. The story moves on to showcase the power of ideals over materialism. Hema Malini makes a special appearance in the film.

Amitabh’s performance is good if not great and has shades of his character from Mohabbattein. Deepika does well in many scenes. She emotes well and has the girl-next-door appeal. Saif however, is not as impressive as he seemed in the trailers. There are moments in the film when his reactions are too spontaneous. Prateik Babbar needs to work on his acting and accent. Manoj Bajpai is a seasoned actor but he too does not deliver as per his reputation. Tanvi Azmi who plays Prabhakar’s wife in the film is worth more than a mention. Her expressions speak volumes and this is refreshing because all the actresses have taken to playing Amitabh’s wife in a certain standard way evidenced in movies like Baghban and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham,

Prakash Jha is known for the political subjects that his films centre around. This time, he is unable to replicate the prowess that he showed with ‘Rajneeti’ last year that went on to become a super hit. With Arakashan, he surely has created waves in the political world because of the controversial nature of the subject but he fails to do so among movie lovers. The concept is very engaging, powerful and well written. However, the screenplay by Prakash Jha and Anjum Rajabali fall short of engaging. The film drags before and after the interval. There are certain powerful scenes and dialogues especially when Purbi expresses her anguish over her father’s ideals and the situation it has landed them all in.

After Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, do not make an impact with their music. Achcha Lagta hai strikes a chord especially because of its picturisation and the lyrics by Prasoon Joshi. ‘Roshni’ and ‘Saans Albeli’ strat off well but do not hold the listner’s attention. The choreography by Jayesh Pradhan is simple though a couple of steps in the song “Mauka” may do the rounds. The background score by Wayne sharp is up to the mark and supports the script sufficiently.

Technically, the film fares well except for a few glitches here and there. Sachin Kumar Krishnan does wonders with the camera as he brings out the beauty of Bhopal and increases the drama in the film. The editing by Santosh Mandal is slick and works in favour of the storyline. However, the last sequence in the film could have been better as the lighting and editing give away the fact that it was shot in the studio. This is not an action packed movie in spite of the nature of the plot. Yet, the few action sequences in the film are well executed by Prem Sharma.

Overall, the film falls short of the expectations the trailer, start cast and story had created.


Verdict: Great bottle bad wine

Tags : Aarakshan, Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Deepika Padukone, Prakash Jha, Shankar-Ehsaan-Lo
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