Hansal Mehta’s tryst with transformative moot-points continues with his new movie Aligarh. Basically the movie is a real-life portrayal of Professor Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras of the Aligarh Muslim University, who was suspended for having a consensual intercourse with a rickshaw-puller in the confines of his house. Though Allahabad High Court gave a verdict in his favour, he was found dead in his house days after.
Played by Manoj Bajpai, the real story behind the enigma around Prof Siras is uncovered by a journalist Deepu Sebastian(essayed by Rajkummar Rao). The movie stands for every positive concept that an equal just society must uphold: equality, human rights, justice and right to privacy – all in equal measure.
Prof Siras lives his lonely life, accompanied by Lata Mangeshkar songs and whiskey by his side and nothing extraordinary or awkward, as attached to a homosexual. His privacy and normal life is disrupted when media over-reacts on his private affairs. Aligarh university suspends him for his sexual orientation, disregarding his individual privacy.
One of the iconic dialogues which simply summarizes the essence of the movie is:“Kavita shabdo ke beech ki khamoshi mein hoti hai, har koi umr aur paristhiti ke hisaab se uska matlab nikalta hai. (Poetry lies in the silence interspersed between words, its meaning is though derived according to the age and circumstances one is in), says Siras.
The core message from the movie is unequivocally pronounced: Every person, irrespective of his sexual orientation has equal sexual rights and freedom to express love.
Refreshingly, the movie has its lighter moments and keeps the audience engaged. Ashish Vidyarthi, who plays Siras lawyer does enough justice to his role. The movie is lifted by its sheer acting prowess of Bajpai and Rao.
The agony of failure, the warmth of a listening partner, a powerful social commentary on the existing prejudices and a tragedy of harrowing scale unravels before viewers with unscathed truthfulness.
The contrasting setup for Siras – gloomy and uncertain of future and that of Deepu – enthusiastic, rookie journo seeking details on the case – is a contrast that audience will relate to, along with the well-meant pauses in the movie’s dialogues which are blend beautifully in the melancholy and solitude which this movie seeks to portray with regards to Siras’ life.
All in all, a realistic movie made with an appeal for the greater society for giving the due to all queers so that everyone is able to lead his life as he wants in his private affairs. This unsettling movie is a must watch for the sensitivity is lends to a burning topic of contemporary India.