Riding on a strong casting, Aligarh is a must-watch movie throwing the light on everything that is wrong with public attitude towards the LGBT community. I loved the direction and the plots that the story covered. Brilliant acting by Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkumar Rao, something which was expected as well.
The story is written beautifully, not just focusing on the main plot but also two subplots. The main plot is based on the 2010 AMU (Aligarh Muslim University) incident where the renowned Indian linguist, author and a professor at AMU, Ramchandra Siras, was suspended due to his homosexuality. However, the story delves deeper than that into the life of the professor to depict that the lives of such people with a different sexual orientation are not as different as we think they are – be it with respect to intellectualism, hobbies, habits or the routine way of life. However, due to societal disdain, their day to day life becomes a nightmare. There are two other subplots. One focuses on the evolution of AMU, which was once known for bringing out the best intellectual talents in the country, has now been a victim of local politics which has tried to stifle every attempt of developing intellectual diversity that leads to debates. Debates have been replaced by violence now, thanks to the politics entering the campus. The second sub-plot focuses on the media attitude towards the issue and a complete insensitivity towards the community that leads to a lot of bad press. The character of Rajkumar Rao has been beautifully utilized in bringing out more from the story. He plays a budding journalist, untouched with the current sensationalism and TRP-oriented journalism, who actually is interested in bringing out the true story of what actually happened instead of just focusing on the homosexuality angle. However, he also represents, in the movie, an average Indian, for whom, homosexuality is a new concept – very tough to understand. Through the conversations between Rajkumar Rao and Manoj Bajpayee, the writer explained that not everything wrong with a homosexual’s life is because of his sexual orientation. Overall, a very well narrated story.
The movie has only three big names, as long as casting is concerned. Manoj Bajpayee plays the lead role of the professor and is absolutely brilliant in the character. Playing a role of a character, 14-15 years older than his actual age, is definitely challenging and he pulls it off very well. His expressions are absolutely spot on. Rajkumar Rao does an excellent job with his natural acting. However, Ashish Vidyarthi ends up being unnoticeable, something which is very unexpected even though he plays a key role of the lawyer representing the professor in the court.
Hansal Mehta is a renowned name as a director and he lives up to his reputation. He has little weird ways of projecting things on the celluloid, which is difficult to understand for an average audience. His use of above average length of scenes in the movie to stress on a particular aspect (with absolutely nothing significant happening in the scene besides that one thing) does make it a point at the end but it tests your patience a lot. His use of Rajkumar’s character was very smart and efficient. The courtroom drama was not overly dramatic but still managed to convey the point. His effort to show how the entire issue was blown away in a different direction than what it should have been, is very commendable. Overall, a great job.
Aligarh is a must-watch for its plots, acting and great direction. Definitely one of the best by Manoj Bajpayee.