Prakash Jha takes on education, reservation in 'Aarakashan'

Prakash Jha takes on education, reservation in 'Aarakashan'

"I always see my characters in their social backdrop. I am not interested in individual stories unless they have some kind of social context. My characters always represent something," Jha told PTI.

But contrary to the perception, Jha says he is not trying to find a solution through the movie.

"And honestly, is there a solution?," he asks.The lure of reality is too strong for him to ignore. Jha, who helmed movies like 'Damul', 'Mrityudand', 'Gangaajal', 'Apaharan', says the topic of reservation has been troubling him since the 1980s when it sparked off nationwide protests.

The director has been collecting material on it since then and finally decided to give it a shape four-years ago. He narrated the story to Amitabh Bachchan, who immediately agreed to play the character of a college principal, torn between reality and idealism.
"I keep noting my ideas and sometimes I find a character or a topic to convert it into a movie. It is a slow and continuous process. I narrated the story of Aarakshan to Bachchanji four years ago while I was already working on 'Raajneeti'," Jha adds.
Reservation is not the only focus in the movie, set to hit theatres on August 12 with a starcast of Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Prateik Babbar and Manoj Bajpai. The director is also turning his gaze on the commercialisation of education, which he believes is a by-product of reservation.

"An issue which divides and causes such emotional upheaval in our society is an important story. I want it to be interesting, engaging, which says something new and represents a balanced view. May be what I says ends up being an utopia but it needs to be told," says Jha.

The 59-year-old believes that the commercialisation of education has made it a property of few people and has further divided the society.

"I want to understand why this is happening. You can't get an education without money. Primary education is okay but specialisation is impossible without money. It is dividing our society in a different way. The rich India gets education and moves forward whereas the India without money remains the same," says the director.

"All these issues are related to education. Reservation came, the number of seats decreased, competition increased and encouraged private coaching. Ironically, reservation's main aim was to bring equality but it ended up dividing us further," he adds.

The director says that he always wanted to rope in Bachchan for the part, which he says needed certain dignity and larger-than-life persona.

"When I wrote the character, I had only one name and fortunately for me he liked it. His personality completely suits the character," Jha says.

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