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Aarakshan

Bollywood’s latest attempt to push the envelope addresses the fallout of the ‘reservation’ system in higher education in India. Following an Indian Supreme Court ruling in 2008, it became mandatory for almost half of the available places at Indian State universities to be ‘reserved’ for students from the ‘backward castes’. Set in a Bhopal college, the plot focuses on fair-minded principal Prabhakar’s (Amitabh Bachchan) appointment of new teacher Deepak (Saif Ali Khan), a low-caste lad. This decision leads to resentment and to Prabhakar’s eventual resignation. This socially astute film never soft-pedals the complexity of this ‘affirmative action’ policy. It is marred by the usual bolly-excesses: an inordinate length, unnecessary songs and the miscasting of real-life royal-blood Khan as a ‘dalit’ (untouchable). Well acted, though.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday August 19 2011
Duration: 164 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Prakash Jha
Cast: Hema Malini
Amitabh Bachchan
Saif Ali Khan
Deepika Padukone
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