Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkumar Rao, Ashish Vidyarthi
Director: Hansal Mehta
I finally got around watching ‘Aligarh’ once again. I had the privilege to watch this film during MAMI festival and I have to say it was worth giving all your time. In a time like where using the word sex is still a taboo, homosexuality is something still perceived to be unacceptable and expected to be kept a secret.
‘Aligarh’ presents a true and heartbreaking story of Professor Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras — who in 2010 was expelled from the Aligarh Muslim University after he was ‘caught’ indulging in sexual activity with a male rickshaw puller. The director took this story and presents it sensitively to audience. It shows life of a lonely professor who is gay in a society that considers homosexuality is unacceptable. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras (played by Manoj Bajpayee) is used to being an outsider as he’s the lone Marathi professor in an Urdu dominated university. He, then, became a victim of a conspiracy plotted by the professors from the university. Their only agenda was to humiliate and isolate the professor for being gay.
Manoj Bajpayee, who is one of the fine talents in Bollywood, portrays the character of the professor with an ease. He plays the role of victimized, shy professor with such brilliance that you can feel the pain. The vulnerability in his eyes gives you chills. There are moments in the film where his silences speak more than his words.
Rajkummar Rao plays the character of Deepu Sebastian who is a Malayali journalist settled in Delhi. He gets to know about this cases and bonds with the professor which is very genuine.
Director Hansal Mehta has made a brave film that every compliment given to him is an understatement. We can imagine why felt to call out Indian Censor Board when they gave the film ‘A’ rating. Had this film given ‘U/A’ rating, it would have reached more people and the audience would have gotten the chance to see the way story unfolds.
Even after this brilliant performance if Manoj Bajpayee doesn’t get an award for it next year, then I’ll lose faith in them. This film and his performance deserve all the awards and I really if this film to represent us at the Oscars next year!