Iss desh mein do Bharat baste hai says Amitabh Bachchan. The same can be said about the audience in India. Yahaan do nahi, kai saare Bharat baste hai. This film caters to a specific audience who love escapist cinema and I am afraid there are plenty of them in India.
Prabhakar Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) is a milder version of Narayan Shankar from Mohabbatein. Deepika Padukone is his daughter. Saif is her love interest and ex-student of the same college. Prateik Babbar is Saifs and Deepikas friend and also the son of one of the trustees of the college. The initial screen time is spent to set up the players and their relationships. Two songs are packed in at close intervals quite abruptly so that the audience doesnt miss the song and dance routine. A picture of Hema Malini hangs on a wall screaming out loud that she will come in at a very crucial stage in the film. Reservation is just a backdrop against which a larger issue of education is talked about. The screenplay is preachy and just about scratches the surface of the quota issue and the solution it offers is what a fairy tale is made of.
Except Amitabh Bachchan not a single person gets a meaty role. Saif Ali Khan struggles with his earnest performance. Deepika doesnt get to do much except cry. Prateik is a miscast for this role and is slowly losing that magnetic screen presence. Manoj Bajpayee entertains with his style of dialogue delivery and his performance is what I enjoyed most. Prakash Jha started catering to a larger audience base with Bandish but failed and found his narrative rhythm in two films Gangajal & Apaharan but with Rajneeti & this one he is swinging like a yo yo.
Final few words: Aarakshan is an escapist issue based film that can make a lot of people feel good for about 2 and a half hours but thats about it. And if you are sitting in a recliner that cost you 60 bucks the length doesnt pinch you much.
Ticket Meter: worth a 100 buck ticket