With all the anticipation surrounding the release of the movie, I was really expecting high drama on reservation in education, when I entered the theater. But, it didn't take long to realize, it was a reservation of different kinds, that the filmmaker wanted to talk about. All the fiery dialogues are the ones which one has already seen innumerable times, by watching the trailers on televison and theaters. So, when they appear on the big screen, they fail to make an impact. The movie seems like a confused attempt. While the first half of the movie talks about reservation, the second half talks about coaching mafia.
After watching the movie, I felt, the director had set quota during filmmaking, which is found in various other movies in Bollywood. Here's my attempt to demystify quota system in Bollywood w.r.t. this movie.
Song Quota: 8.5%
Every movie must have a few songs, ideally one should be a love ballad. So, just after you have Saif delivering some hard-hitting dialogues to the interview board, where the panel talks about his caste and background, he slips into the romantic mode with 'Achha lagta hai'. Not willing to let go of the momentum, soon after there is a group song, 'Mauka' where Prateik and hundred more characters join in
Drama Quota: 25.0%
Amitabh gives his new house to his friend to stay and his two sons rent the house to a coaching center. He starts living in a hotel as he can't throw out his friend's family. This used to happen in old Hindi movies, like owner being forcefully thrown out of his own house. Then, Saif goes and tries to evict the illegal occupants singlehandedly, breaks some furniture and lands up in jail. Manoj Bajpai's dialogues fall in this category. Anyways, enough of drama!
Special mention: All percentages are quoted upto two decimal places and repeated in English and Hindi, as Amitabh does in KBC. For eg. Minister's nephew gets 52.07% marks.
Melodrama Quota: 21.52%
Saif's mom irons clothes and approach road to his house is not good for Prateik's car, highlighting poverty and difference in living conditions. Everyone wants to commit suicide in the movie for not getting admission to their fav college or not getting another mark more. Also, some classes are more unequal (have more girls) than others, especially the ones who don't go to coaching insitutes. Ok, being politically correct here.
Special mention: Deepika cries for missing out on 1(one) grace mark due to her father's principles, reminded me of her dialogue "Ek chutki sindoor ki keemat tum kya jaano..." from Om Shanti Om. ""Ek single grace mark ki keemat tum kya jaano..."
Romance Quota: 8.0%
Inspite of all the drama and confusion, the hero and heroine find some time to romance in the canteen where they share the tiffin and classroom or cafe.
Friendship Quota: 4.48%
Prateik has some feelings for Deepika, who is besotted with Saif. So, 'if we can't be lovers, lets be friends' option is used. And they are best friend with each other after some customary misunderstanding.
Corrupt Police - Admin - Politician Quota: 4%
They are present in large numbers. Each potential do-gooder is bought over by this nexus because everyone is linked to education business. Enough said.
Redemption Quota: 5.0%
Good wins over the evil, even if it's in a twisted way. If you have wronged me, I will get back to you, before the movie ends. The hero has the last laugh and gets all the screen space.
Abrupt ending Quota: 4.0%
Following fulfillment of above quota, Abrupt ending quota is also fulfilled. This is time bound and when the movie length gets beyond permissible limit, this quota is immediately triggered.
Hype Quota: 2.5%
Prateik has a long way to go in terms of acting skills. I think, he is one of the most hyped newcomers and better come up with some good performances, unless he wants to just capitalize on mother's reputation or father's missing surname. He looked out of depth in many of the scenes.
Controversy Quota: 7.8%
Select a sensitive topic, take some big stars and you've got instant access to all new channels studio and front page in newspapers. But, I guess, here, the controvery generate publicity may backfire.
Inspiration Quota: 1.5%
Amitabh's new avatar is inspired by Anand Kumar's Super 30 and even the name 'Super Tabela' is inspired from the reputed coaching class name.
In film brand placement quota: 4.5%
In one of the worst in film brand associations, Century Ply (I had seen enough of their Aarakshan ad on TV in the mean time) hoarding is omnipresent like Hema Malini's photo frame. They also get a mention in the dialogue, when Yashpal Sharma thanks them for their support in building the 'Tabela school'.
Special Appearance Quota: 3.2%
Thankfully, there was only one. Hema Malini makes a special appearance, though, she was present in almost every scene in a frame, hanging on the wall along with other political and cultural luminaries. In the last scene, I almost imagined Hema saying to Amitabh, 'Principal Hoga Terra Baap' , oops...'Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap'
Aarakshan has some good performances by Amitabh, Saif, Deepika and Manoj, but the movie is let down by the Bollywood quota system and also lacking in script, screenplay and direction department. I would like to see meritocracy take over.
P.S. If all the politicians, who were making hue and cry over the movie were shown just the first 15 mins, they would have realized, it was actually much ado about nothing.