Over the years Prakash Jha has undertaken important and shaking political and social issues and has made entertaining and thought provoking cinema experiences out of them. Be it the Bhagalpur killings of Gangajaal, the kidnapping racket of Apaharan or the more recent political issues in Rajneeti, he has fared everytime with flare and beauty and has created comelling dramas which can be feasted upon for many months and sometimes even years. So this time around when a title lke Aarakshan was aired as aPrakash Jha production, it was bound to create some ripples.
Aarakshan revolves around Prabhakar Anand(Amitabh Bachchan), who has single handedly catapulated his university of which he is the pricinpal to the top spot in the state. He has two faithful deciples in Deepak(Saif) and Sushant(Prateik). his daughter and wife are his pillars of strength who have stood by his side through thick and thin. But the decision of the supreme court to increase the reservations for the backward classes of the country jolts his life. His two faithful deciples part ways, he looses his position and even his house. As the saying goes “Its only when we loose everything that we gain the power to win everything”, Prabhakar raises from his own ashes to hammer his views and ideals back on to his perpetraters even in the face of the grimest situation possible.
This is the trademark Prakash Jha fare with all the pluses that you have expected. The story doesnt get preachy at any time. The entertainment value is maintained all throughout. Some powerful human drama is on display which will make you standup and take notice. The pre Interval period will leave you gasping for breathe as so much happens so quickly. Some twists and turns will come as a surprise and will leave you bewildered.
Having said all that it does have its share of downers. The biggest problem is with the fact that the story of problems related to reservations slowly transforms into a propaganda against commercialisation of eduaction. As a matter of fact the subject of reservations and its evils was just not meaty enough for someone to potray in a 3 hour long screenplay and hence the diversion was unavoidable. Aarakshan doesnt have the amount of shock values that Rajneeti, Gangajaal or even Apaharan had and that works as a deterent. The mammoth expectations are also a spoiler. Unnecessary song and dance routine and an exhaustive runtime make matters worse.
So if you are prepared to sit through a three hour long magnum opus with all your favorite stars and some extremely potent human drama but a somewhat uninspiring storyline then go for this one.