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Miss it at your peril

Miss it at your peril

By K N Gupta

Eye TV India Bureau

Cast: : Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Saif Ali Khan, Prateik Babbar, Manoj Bajpai
Director: Prakash Jha

Critic's I-view

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Prakash Jha is well known for making movies based on socio-political dramas. While his earlier ‘Damul’ talked about bonded labor, ‘Mrityudand’ centered on gender inequity and ‘Gangaajal’ on Bhagalpur blinding. He continued his crusade in ‘Apaharan’ based on the growing menace of abductions in Bihar followed by ‘Rajneeti’ on the political scenario there. He has ever been realistic and therefore bold. So, he is always surrounded by controversies. Jha’s latest ‘Aarakshan’ based on caste-based reservations in government jobs and educational institutions , attracted troubles from the very beginning, presumably because Jha is the first filmmaker to raise this most controversial political subject. Significantly, the movie doesn’t sermonize at any point.

In the movie, Amitabh Bachchan plays Prabhakar Anand who is principal of a college in Bhopal that is the best in the state. He has a loyal student in Saif Ali Khan playing as Deepak Kumar. Though Saif is Amitabh’s best disciple, he falls for principal’s daughter Deepika Padukone playing Poorbi. Deepika has a colleague named Sushant played by Prateik Babbar. The movie starts with Saif Ali Khan who during an interview is scoffed at for his lower background.

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Incidentally, Big B’s support to the apex Court's order on reservation causes him to quit the 30-year old job and give up home too following intrigues by Manoj Bajpai playing as Mithilesh Singh . Bajpai commercializes education by holding coaching classes, and brings bad name to Big B. In fact, their conflict brings out the real theme of the movie. Their conflict continues in the latter part too when Amitabh, Deepika, Saif and even Prateik impart lessons to the students. This takes the movie towards climax with a confrontation between the government officials and commoners.

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The movie is perfect in almost all respects. It appears that the character of Prabhakar Anand was written with Amitabh in view. And he plays it too well. Saif Ali proves his low background character though he hails from a Nawab family in real life. Manoj excels in his job though he plays a negative role here. Deepika too meets the challenge by working with senior actors. Tanvi Azmi, Mukesh Tiwari and Yashpal Sharma aren’t far behind. Among others Darshan Jariwala, Saurabh Shukla and Vinay Apte also fare well. Hema Malini’s appearance towards the end supports the movie. Wonder if Amitabh and Hema’s coming together adds splendor to a movie. You may recall their bonding in most hit ‘Sholay’ of the mid-eighties.

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The story, the screenplay the dialogues and most of all Prakash Jha’s direction are all good. The dialogues are apt for the occasions. Music and cinematography are good too. Kudos to Sachin Krishn for capturing every sequence brilliantly! Loy, Shankar, Ehsaan do a very good job by providing music to the lyrics penned by Prasoon Joshi. However, the movie has a flaw too; it unusually runs for over two and half hours. This could have been avoided by tightening the second half session that has been at times been monotonous.

Overall, the movie is perfect to watch.

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