Prakash Jha is a master filmmaker. I mean, fine, he was into some advertising in here and had Star News, Tata Photon and what not in the time when he talks of Mandal Commission and introduction of 27% reservation, but he comes up with a good movie on a sensitive issue and manages to keep it almost as unbiased as it is possible, and gives views of both the sides.
But then, the movie has some anti-dalit dialogs that come from the alleged upper caste people. And again, I would say that Jha has handled things very carefully here because while it’s not possible to make a good movie on the subject without including at least some such dialogs, he has put the counter-views in the same place to keep the balance.
The interesting thing here is that while the villain here are clearly politicians and businessmen who try to get their own profits out of every policy, Jha has shown the plight of everyone who becomes a victim. While on one hand he explains the problems of ‘dissimilar start line in race’ very clearly, he also shows the pain of an upper caste peon’s son who could not make it to the college of his choice because of reservation.
And then, there is his hero who does not want to believe in caste, does not believe in untouchability in the least bit, but asks his ‘Pandit’ peon not to touch his feet saying he’d be a sinner if the peon does that, even though not seriously. But most important of it all, his hero believes that he as a teacher should be above caste etc. but gives free education to those who are less affluent and do not have ‘equal’ means, irrespective of caste, and on the same ground he personally supports reservations so that everyone can rise.
So, in a way, the movie can be called pro-dalit, or anti-anti-dalit as it goes against those who are anti-dalit, but it can not be termed as anti-upper caste. Calling it anti-dalit is not even a possibility, even with the presence of a few anti-dalit dialogs in the beginning of the movie, because while Jha has tried to show the problems and emotions of everyone, including a mother who thinks a rule that goes against her child’s life/career is wrong. Yes, she sounds biased, or rather is biased, but she is true too. And towards the end, he has tried to give a solution as well, though it is not too practically applicable at a large scale and which needs highly selfless politicians which looks next to impossible today.
But overall, I’d say that the movie is almost as good as it could be. And while watching the movie, at some point I was feeling that Amitabh was right in asking Rajdeep Sardesai to watch the movie and then comment, especially in view of the former’s own character in the movie.
(Views expressed here are my personal views about the movie and do not endorse any political or other agenda)