You have to hand it to the man, he is 68 and he still manages to land the choicest roles available in Hindi cinema – we preview two very different upcoming Hindi films, both starring Amitabh Bachchan – Bbuddah hoga tera Baap and Arakshan.
The first is an irreverent comedy about a cussed, angry old man, and the latter a film about an extremely serious issue that every Indian has a passionate opinion about; which no citizen can afford to be indifferent to.
The film has the unique distinction of having roped in as many as five fine female actresses – it marks a cinematic return of Raveena Tandon, veteran Hema Malini, Minissha Lamba, Sonal Chauhan, and will also be the Bollywood debut of Charmy Kaur who is known mainly for her roles in Telugu cinema.
The Bbuddah’s character that Amitabh Bachchan plays is, in his own words “trendy, unapologetic, and strong.” He plays an ex gangster who is back in the country for a specific mission. Leather jacketed, astride a motorbike, shooting with impeccable aim, and mouthing some of his own past iconic lines, he is very much the hero of the movie. And he does it all with the agility of a man decades younger.
Film Preview – Aarakshan
Prakash Jha has been associated with some of finest and most hard hitting films to come out of Bollywood over the past few decades, such as Hip Hip Hurray (1983) Damul (1984), Mrityudand (1997), and more recently Gangaajal (2003), Rajneeti (2010) and Yeh Saali Zindagi (2011). He now brings us Aarakshan, a much needed look at the very serious issue of affirmative action in India or reservations as we know it.
The story is about an idealistic principal of a college named Shakuntala Thakral College, Dr. Prabhakar Anand (played by Amitabh Bachchan). A gifted pupil and now teacher, Deepak is a Dalit (played by Saif Ali Khan). Deepak is friends with Sushant (played by Prateik Babbar) and is in love with the principal’s daughter Poorbie (played by Deepika Padukone). Manoj Bajpai plays the mercenary teacher who taunts Deepak for his ‘low caste’ credentials.
Though each of the protagonists has very divergent views about reservations, these become secondary to the issue of the college as it comes under threat of demolition. The film examines both sides of the issue of reservations – if it is a fact that 87% of government services are with upper caste Hindus, who are just 15% of the population while 85% of the population gets just 13% of the jobs, then it is also a fact that SCST quota seats often remain vacant and unclaimed.
The message of the film is that reservation helps marginalized people lead successful lives with the ultimate aim of eliminating caste based discrimination but also accepts that the policy itself is flawed. It also examines the issue of capitation fees, wherein students with little merit get into top institutions so long as their families have enough money.
The film has had its share of controversy – first when the sets of the film in Bhopal were razed by civic authorities claiming that it was set up on disputed land and later when Dalit groups protested against a ‘Nawab’ playing the role of a Dalit. The music of the film by Shankar Ehsaan Loy has received favorable reviews as having a universal appeal.
Exciting times ahead for film goers in general and fans of Amitabh Bachchan in particular!
Photo of Big B in Bbuddah hoga tera Baap courtesy Blog of Amitabh Bachchan
Aarakshan Poster photo courtesy Yahoo Movies.