Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan Say ‘Aarakshan’ About India’s Less Privileged
By: Simran Mody
August 10, 2011
Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan
anxiously tiptoes the line in broaching the subject of the caste system -- a rigid system of social hierarchy that has yet to dissipate from many aspects of India’s everyday life. Bringing the caste system and India’s social inequities to life on the big screen are Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Prateik, and Manoj Bajpai. Respectively portraying a school principal and a Dalit instructor, Messrs. Bachchan and Khan are proud to be associated with Aarakshan,
and hope its message of humanity over class fissure is well-understood.
Big B pointed out that Bollywood, as an industry and a fraternity, is far outpacing everyday life when it comes to social equities and harmonious co-existence. Even more, Mr. Bachchan stated that the lack of “reservation” in the movie industry is a perfect example that people can put aside their socio-economic differences for a common purpose.
“I am lucky to be a part of this industry which does not believe in any kind of reservation. It actually brings people together,” Big B told the press as he promoted Aarakshan in New Delhi with the cast. “The best example can be of the thousands of people who go and watch our films. While enjoying a film, one never thinks which caste or religion the next person in the theater belongs to. In fact, everybody sits together in one place and enjoys the film together. They cry for the same reason, laugh at the same joke, and sing the same songs.”
Proving his perspective on reservation, Mr. Khan said that Aarakshan sheds new light of a large contingency of people who are less fortunate than him.
“Before working on the movie, I had an anti-reservation view. I was against reservation in my mind. I felt that things should be done on a level of merit. But after having done the movie, I thought there is another insight to it that most people in our country are less privileged,” Mr. Khan said at a separate promotional event with select students at an academic institution. “Most people get chances like me, but what about those talented and intelligent people in our country who don’t get a chance (or) an opportunity?”
While he was unsure about what level of “reservation” should exist in India’s educational system, he was grateful to be part of Aarakshan. For starters, the actor who is romantically tied to Kareena Kapoor had a chance to shore up and perfect his Hindi -- a language he struggles with in real life.
“When I was offered the role, my mother told me, 'Go practice your Hindi,' and she was right. Prakashji and Amitji both speak the Sanskrit Hindi,” Mr. Khan pointed out during press interviews. “I am really happy to work in this movie, and I thank Prakashji for giving me the most difficult and complicated role of my career. I have worked hard to understand and play this character. I think it is a very dramatic movie.”
The dramatics will be on full display this weekend, when Aarakshan, which was recently green-lit by the Censor Board, hits screens worldwide on August 12th.