Release Date: 26th February, 2016
Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Rajkummar Rao
Director: Hansal Mehta
Producer/s: Sunil A Lulla, Sandeep Singh, Hansal Mehta
Plot: Aligarh is based on the true story of professor Siras, a teacher and an award winning poet. He was suspended from his job because of his sexual orientation and was only months away from retirement at the time of the incident.
Rating: 4/5 Stars (Four stars)
Star Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao
Director: Hansal Mehta
What’s Good: Manoj Bajpayee’s stellar performance clubbed with an intelligent filmmaking by Hansal Mehta and the heart-wrenching writing of Apurva Asrani.
What’s Bad: Only the helplessness one feels post watching this film for the LGBT community.
Loo Break: None!
Watch or Not?: This is a must-watch! Aligarh is a class apart film that is filled with simplicity. It is emotionally riveting.
Professor Srinivas Siras (Manoj Bajpayee) is the head of the modern Indian languages institute at the famed Aligarh University. He is the only Marathi teaching professor in the entire university and claims that with immense pride. One night, two reporters and four professors barge into Siras’ first floor apartment and record his intimate moments with a Muslim autowala. It is a shocking and embarrassing moment for professor Siras whose privacy is invaded shamelessly.
Coming to the conclusion that homosexuality will not be tolerated at the institution, the professor is suspended the next day. What’s more apathetic from the university’s side is the fact that they feel no shame in approaching the media and releasing the tape.
Grabbing the headlines on all major news sources, Siras’ story catches the eye of a budding journalist, Deepu Sebastin (Rajkummar Rao). Convincing his editor that Siras’ tale is more of a human interest story than just a report, Deepu becomes an important character who helps Siras open up and introduce us to his version of the story.
Approaching the court for his suspension which is against the law that decriminalizes homosexuality, will Siras win at the court of law and will the society be able to see him beyond his sexual preference is what the story is about.
Aligarh Review: Script Analysis
Interestingly, due to some technical issue the screening of the movie was delayed by an hour. While a lot of us were getting restless over the delay, after the film got over, it got me thinking how bad any kind of ‘delay’ is. I mean if we can get impatient over a movie delay, can you imagine the plight of someone who has to wait for a decision of the court to actually move around freely, express their love and indulge in lustful acts without any fear. Yes, that’s the kind of things Aligarh will make you ponder over.
Apurva Asrani builds a tale around a commoner and the best part being that it is someone like professor Siras who doesn’t even know that you call someone he/she ‘Is gay’ instead of ‘Is a gay’. He knows that he enjoys sexual relations with men but doesn’t feel the need to term that relation as a ‘homosexual act’ or even a ‘love affair’.
The film skillfully sucks you into its character’s nuances. Siras is seen enjoying a drink with Lata Mangeshkar songs in more than two scenes and one must realize it is a powerful scene because that is one moment where he is himself, holed up at home, without the fear of any kind of judgement.
Another gem in the film would be Siras’ poem that has enough of implied meaning regarding his life. This film speaks more in its silences than the dialogues and that’s where it appeals the most.
Aligarh Review: Star Performance
Manoj Bajpayee has time and again showed how great an actor he is and with Aligarh he leaves you spellbound, I mean what a performer. As professor Siras, he brings his emotional best. Hats off to him for pulling off that love making scene as well as the entire ‘caught in the act’ scene. It is hard not to feel for his character.
Rajkummar Rao as the young journalist does a fine job too. He picks up a South Indian accent and gives a brilliant emotional scene in the climax.
Ashish Vidyarthi plays the character of Siras’ lawyer and is a perfect fit for his role.