The trailer of Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan is out and it makes for compulsive viewing. The trailer promises a lot of drama packed in the multi-star cast film which Jha plans to release on 12th August. It has Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Prateik and Manoj Bajpai. Says Prakash Jha, “I have been engaged with the socio-economic, political reality of India all through my journey as a filmmaker. I have constantly tried to understand and express the changing reality of grassroot India through my films. “Recently, I’ve been very concerned about the state of everywhere I travel in the country… with ambition and fire in their eyes. And yet, they also seem so desperate. Desperate for that one seat, for that one opportunity that seems to elude them. Usually, there are not enough seats in government funded higher education institutions, while private institutions are unaffordable.
“India, a country of over a billion, has more young people than anywhere else in the world. It almost seems like we’re not thinking about the future of the country. Because the future of the country is the youth. If we don’t educate the youth, we’re destroying the future of India.
“Also, there seems to be such a mad race for jobs that the focus is now on vocational training and professional courses. This, though a heartwarming trend, also reveals another darker trend – that we’re not grooming any historians and scientists anymore.
“Reservation is a double-edged sword. Though it uplifts the backward castes, it alsoincreases the competition for the seats that are open for the General Category students. Though meant to create a sense of equality, the system of reservation often leads to greater schisms within the student community.
“Also, with the increased level of competition due to fewer seats, private coaching institutes thrive even more. “The underprivileged can’t afford these coaching institutes, so there we are… back to the glaring issue of unequal opportunity.
“The concept of education itself has turned on its head. With the unabashed commercialization of education, it seems to have become yet another business, almost divorced from the idea of social good. Our tradition of “guru-shishya” is rapidly transforming into a “service provider-client” relationship.
“The world of education has been upturned by the storm of growing aspirations. Opportunities have to be grabbed. And everybody wants just one chance. Questions of identity, opportunities found and missed dot the landscape of the youth of India. The system of education is under immense pressure. With the right degree being the gateway for a brighter future, students are willing to pay any price for that one chance.
“In my upcoming film ‘Aarakashan’, the attempt is to show a glimpse of the changing dynamics in the education system and the tussle for limited opportunity.
“Through the story of Prabhakar Anand, an idealistic college principal, a man of integrity and courage, we see how the Supreme Court’s decision on reservation creates ripples of conflict and mayhem in the lives of the students and teachers of that college. Identities are questioned, loyalties are stated, love is lost, friendship betrayed, while themes of ambition and opportunity take on burning hues.”