Set in the city of Uttar Pradesh and based on true events, the plot revolves around Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras who taught Marathi at Aligarh Muslim University. He was sacked from his position of Reader and Chair of Modern Indian Languages, on charges of homosexuality. A sting operation was conducted by a TV channel which showed him in an embrace with a rickshaw puller, at his house inside the campus.
Aligarh is a praiseworthy to watch once for the powerful performances and a genuine sensitive story. !!
February 26 th, 2016
Presently, the Hindi film industry going through a transition, there are several film-makers who are endeavoring movies based on real-life episodes. This week's release ALIGARH also happens to be insured by a real life incident about a professor who was suspended from his job because of his sexual orientation.
The planning of the film's release could not have been better- at a time when homosexuality has been considered illegal by the Indian judiciary and words like intolerance and human rights are on all and sundry lips, Aligarh is the right film at the right time for the Indian viewers.
Based on true events, the movie deals with the struggles of Professor Siras (Manoj Bajpayee), who is terminated from service by the Aligarh University authorities when some staffers barge into his house and catch him with his pants down (literally speaking) with another man.
Even as Siras, who is considered an outsider in Aligarh because of his bachelor status and the subject that he teaches (Marathi), struggles to maintain his sanity amidst the constant media glare and the public scrutiny, he finds an unlikely friend in Deepu (Rajkummar Rao), a principled cub journalist, who wishes to share the professor's story with the world and fight for him.
Manoj Bajpayee, who became an instant star with his depiction of rude Maharashtrian gangster Bhiku Mhatre in Ram Gopal Varma's cult classic Satya, delivers another great act as Professor Siras.
As for the acts, the film only belongs to Manoj Bajpayee. Manoj conveys the humiliation, loneliness and pain brilliantly. He gets into the skin of his character so will that you can't imagine anyone else in the part. ALIGARH marks yet another milestone performance from this tremendously talented actor. As for Rajkummar Rao, he faultlessly adds great credibility to his character. The rest of the film's cast, Ashish Vidhyarthi and others, bring in their value added performances to make the film reach its goal.
Hansal Mehta had delivered a winner with his last movie Shahid and Aligarh too deserves a standing ovation. Mehta has taken the tale of Siras and made it about human rights and not just about homosexuality, for which, he should be lauded. Furthermore, Mehta has done it without getting preachy, which is another feather that he should add to his hat. Aligarh is a true 'David versus Goliath' story and has been treated with greatest honesty and thoughtfulness.
But, this is not to say that the film doesn't have its faults. The plot moves at a slow pace and the courtroom scenes when Siras challenges the decision of the University to suspend him, are bereft of any intensity or drama.
Overall, Aligarh is a praiseworthy to watch once for the powerful performances and a genuine sensitive story.