Movie Aarakshan tackles a very challenging and controversial topic of quotas reserved in Government jobs and educational institutions for people from SC/ST (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes) and OBC (Other Backward Castes). With the Supreme Court’s order on reservation, the story becomes a rollercoaster ride of high drama and conflict that tests the courage and commitment of (Amitabh Bachchan) Prabhakar, idealistic principal of a college and his wife and daughter (Deepika Padukone). One may say that complete justice is not done to the topic of quotas because the film digresses into many other societal problems like love and friendship of several college students is tested, setting up of alternate free classes for the poor kids in a cowshed, retaliation from pro-quota people by getting Prabhakar’s property seized, and general problems with nation’s educational system and hijacking of the educational system by commercially motivated mafia who ensure that students are not taught adequately in educational institutions so as to end up in tuition and coaching classes with high profit margins for the owners.
As the movie aims too high and attempts to tackle a very broad range of topics, it fails to do complete justice to the highly controversial topic of quotas. Personally, I am myself very conflicted on this issue and I would have liked this topic delved into at a much deeper level. But on the other hand, the other topics are related topics that reflect upon the state of the entire educational system in India and the and topic of how politicians intervene entirely for their personal gain and all of this is further related to the entrenched issues of bribery, corruption, unlawful occupation and seizing of other’s personal property. The movie tackles very important topic, does make arguments that validate both sides of the issue, in favor of the quota system to give a leg up to children coming from highly adverse circumstances and in favor of system based completely on fairness and merit. The movie is engaging, as always Big B gives superb performance, and I would highly recommend it.