Aligarh Review - A must watch .
A poet scholar teacher of Urdu asking nothing much from life and the world than permission to live his life in solitude as he chooses to is contrasted with a young man on the cusp of greatness and a long life to look forward to. It is this contrast, between individuals and through then between India and it's many many contradictions is what makes Aligarh a gripping poignant watch.
The film follows the story of Siras, the professor who was suspended basis a sting operation about his sexuality that not only violated his personal space and sense of security as an individual but also brought into light how majoritarian and unaccommodating we are as a people. Relying on legal proceedings in the case and press reports , the film presents a not entirely authentic account of the events that lead to his eventual death. All of this sans any melodrama or sensationalism , with deep sensitivity and compassion.
Manoj Bajpaye as Siras embodies the role, every breath every twitch is Siras not an ounce of bajpaye in there. His lonely eyes seer your soul even as his stoic dignity in the face of unimaginable humiliation for no fault of his makes one reflect on how shameless we are as a society. Foil to this is Rajkumar Rao, energetic and optimistic. Also understanding of the bigotry that floats around us all yet trapped by this very duality.
Hansal mehta presents us with a tale of the outsider, the one who never fitted in and never would, of how his different nature is a threat to the rest of us monochromatic homogenous mass we call a nation. And how we would go to any lenghts to nip in the bud any sense of hope life or existence the outsider can even dream of. Siras here is a homosexual, but this could well have been the migrant labourer from city lights, the daily student from Hyderabad , the Muslim lwyer in shahid. Anyone who doesn't conform is a threat to the rest and that this is spelt out without any ambiguity and aggression is he greatest triumph of Aligarh.
From the pitch perfect performances to the soulful use of Latas songs and background score, moody , blunt and unflinchingly honest, Aligarh is the best watch at the big screens in a long long time. Not to be missed.