Prakash Jha’s upcoming film Aarakshan is facing politics of a different kind.

The film, which stars Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpayee and Prateik, is a hard-hitting drama influenced by one of the most controversial policies of caste-based reservations in government jobs and educational institutions.

Recently, civic authorities in Bhopal bulldozed the sets of Aarakshan because it was erected on disputed land. After this rather unpleasant incident, the film was attacked by dalit groups in Kanpur, who were miffed with Saif being a part of the cast.

Considering the actor’s real life royal background, his reel life dalit avatar has been construed as an insult to the community.

Equally, if not more upset, Saif, spoke to Mumbai Mirror last evening to dispel the reasoning behind the protests and prove how insignificant they really are. He said, “There are at least four reasons, if not more, why this protest is absolutely unjustified.

In fact, the dalits should be happy that attention is being given to their cause. Secondly, the film industry is beyond caste and creed. Since 1971, the government dissolved recognition for royal families. So, I was a prince for only a year, man. I am not a prince now.”

He added, “It is as wrong for the dalits to protest and discriminate against me, as it would be for me to discriminate against them. I hope they like my portrayal, if and when they see it.”

When asked how his father Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and his mother Sharmila Tagore reacted to the dalit protest, Saif retorted, “You know what this whole thing has been a joke. Every now and then there’s an agitation, what’s new?”

Prateik Babbar unintentionally added to director Jha’s woes. What seemed like an innocent haircut to the actor turned out to be another problem for the director.

The actor was under the misconception that he was done filming his part for the film and so he went ahead and chopped off his locks. In his defense, Prateik argued that there was some miscommunication on Jha’s part. A source told us, “Jha was stupefied. But what could he do? Prateik had already chopped off his hair.

The argument could have lasted past sunset but the hair wouldn’t have grown back to Jha’s liking, at least for the next seven months na? So, Prateik was given a wig to wear. There was no other option. Surely, Jha couldn’t disturb the continuity of the film.” When contacted, Jha confirmed, “Haan aisa hua tha.”

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