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Aarakshan (2011)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  12 August 2011 (USA)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 3,166 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 20 critic

A decision by India's supreme court tests a man's friendships and loyalty.

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Title: Aarakshan (2011)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Prabhakar Anand
...
Deepak Kumar
...
Mithilesh Singh (as Manoj Bajpai)
...
Poorvi
Prateik ...
Sushant Seth
Tanvi Azmi ...
Kavita P. Anand
...
Mantri Baburao
...
Anirudh Chaudhary
Yashpal Sharma ...
Shambhu Yadav
...
Police Inspector
Rajeev Verma ...
Damodar
S.M. Zaheer ...
Retired Professor
Chetan Pandit
Vinay Apte ...
Neta Bhishamber
Anita Kanwar ...
Mrs. Kantaprasad
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Storyline

Following the Mandal Commission report and the Supreme Court of India's decision to maintain a 27 percent reservation for Dalits and lower/backward castes, right-winged political parties organize protests. The Principal of Shakuntala Thakral Mahavidyalal, a non-government college which is exempt from this mandate, gets in the limelight when it's Principal, Prabhakar Anand, endorses the decision - much to the ire of the trustees as well as the newly appointed Vice-Principal Mithilesh Singh, who has invested Rs.1200 Crores in private coaching classes. Prabhakar refuses to change his stand and ends up tendering his resignation, taking his family, consisting of his wife, Kavita and daughter, Poorbi, to live near Shambhu Yadav's Tabela after they find their family home being taken over by Mithilesh's coaching classes. Attempts to evict Mithilesh's staff will be in vain and will not only end up alienating the family from everyone but Prabhakar will also be summoned and possibly arrested for... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

12 August 2011 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$342,801 (USA) (12 August 2011)

Gross:

$342,801 (USA) (12 August 2011)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Whilst shooting in the heat, the cast/crew member used to bring an umbrella over Amitabh Bachchan. He would move away from the shade of the umbrella, and when he was asked why he didn't want to come under the shade from the blistering heat, Bachchan replied he didn't want to get used to such things whilst working. See more »

Goofs

Throughout the movie Deepak Kumar and Mithilesh Singh are shown carrying BlackBerry 9800 Torch mobile phones. The movie is set in 2008 whereas the phone was launched in 2010. See more »

Quotes

Prabhakar Anand: Q.E.D. stands for "Quite Easily Done."
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User Reviews

Could have been much better without the bollywood melodrama
17 October 2011 | by (Bermuda) – See all my reviews

This is precisely the kind of movie that should come out of the part of Bollywood that thrives on making real movies. Movies that don't have massive explosions or heroes beating up thousands of villains or dancing with 50 people on the beaches of Sydney or in night clubs. In the hands of a director with good vision this could have become one of the top movies of the year. But instead with some bollywood clichés and melodrama the movie sinks into mediocrity, but with one saving grace.

This is an actor's movie, a thespian's movie so the casting of Amitabh and Manoj was a clever move. Amitabh can be forgiven for starring in rubbish like Buddha Hogaya Tera Baap or some stupid movie where he's dancing with and romancing girls less than a third of his age. His performance as a teacher is highly credible and his purity is equally matched by Manoj's sleaziness. It would be hard to find anyone better than these two men when it comes to proper acting. Nasserudin Shah, Om Puri and Nana Patekar are the only others I can think of.

Saif Ali Khan gives a subdued performance but it's not bad. Sadly he doesn't look very convincing as a Dalit and no amount of makeover can take off the bollywood glamour shine that always surrounds him. He was miscast here. Deepika was decent. There's another poster who was complaining about her Hindi or her acting skills but I find that she's one of the rare few young women out there who can act and she's getting better each time.

While the upside was the casting of Amitabh and Manoj the downside was the script and character development. The topic of "untouchables" and rights is a serious issue and it deserved to be treated with respect and given the center of attention, something Prakash Jha failed to do. Instead the focus goes on Amitabh's woes and troubles and his enmity with an increasingly sleazy Manoj which took it away from the main issue. Even the underlying sub theme of ministers abusing the value of education for their profit was briefly touched upon and then forgotten so that we, the audience, could anguish over where Amitabh was going to live. The hordes of students that he suddenly starts teaching nonstop becomes a silly competition between him and Manoj's venture, a typically stupid Bollywood melodramatic move. The ending is a huge let down, contrived to give it a feel good moment. Yet, the main issue is never once broached nor resolved.

Despite my negativity I'd still recommend the movie for several reasons: Amitabh and Manoj's acting, and the lack of numerous typically cheesy song and dance numbers. I sincerely hope that another, more focused director tackles this sensitive issue and gives it more consideration with a more driven story and scope. Look at Black Friday. That was a brilliant movie with little commercial success but that wasn't the aim of the director of that gem. He stuck to the main issue and there's no reason why another director can't do the same with this topic.


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