I was little skeptical about watching the critically acclaimed "Aligarh" directed by Hansa Mehta. For those who came late, this movie is based on the late. Prof. Shrinivas Ramachandra Siras, a Marathi professor, from Aligarh Muslim University suspended on the basis of his sexual orientation. Siras later fought against his suspension and finally got reinstated only a day after his death. The movie was brilliant with powerpacked performances of Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao.
The movie, even though, is based on the theme of sexuality doesn't go there.. Instead it fights for the protection of an individual's privacy, especially for what happened consensually within closed walls. Whatever the society may think of homosexuality, but when it happened between two individuals with mutual consent, someone films those private moments and releases it without their permission, it is clearly a case of violating the privacy rather than moral policing.
Aligarh brings those morbid moments of an old man who was reprimanded by the society for his sexuality. Manoj Bajpayee is visibly fragaile, his eyes inflicted with loneliness and a wobbling gait. Siras is uncomfortable when he is addressed as gay, vulnerable to the suspension conferred to him for being a homosexual and infact he didn't choose to fight against the suspension until the LGBT support activists force him to take it up. Manoj brings life to the professor Siras on screen making the audiences empathise what Siras might have undergone in his last days.
Rajkummar Rao plays Deepu Sebastin Edmond, who helped Siras by writing the articles for him. Rao brings the cheerful person onscreen playing a perfect foil to the otherwise grim Manoj. There had been few cinematic liberties taken for this character like the friendship between Prof. Siran and him (in reality both of them had never met once) and also includes a love making scene at the office terrace. Infact this lovemaking scene juxtaposed with the gay lovemaking scene throws a question to the viewers in deciding which one is wrong among those two?
The Highcourt case hearings argued ferociously for Siras by a legal hawk played by Ashish Vidyarthi and the prosecutor of Aligarh Muslim University by Anjali Gopalan even though makes the viewers see both the parties in a human angle. The AMU prosecutor gets violent as the proceedings pass by whereas Ashish retains his cool by keeping the case stick to the point - individual privacy.
The movie was lethargically paced and even makes the viewers restless with it painstakingly detailed or snail paced scenes. It would have been better if I had played the movie in 2X speed. If the director's intention was to make the audience empathise with the protagonist Siras, it would have been made better with details like what kind of professor he was at work, the dynamics of his marital life etc. Also the final scene where Siras is found dead in his rented house doesn't make much impact which it needed to.
More details of this case can be found over the internet and about the involvement of Aligarh Muslim University staffs / professors who wanted to sabotage against Prof. Siras for his impending posting as Chairman.