Aligarh - Review
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Have you ever put your favorite music on, hummed along with it, and entered the world that the melodies have created for you? Have you swayed your fingers and tapped your feet to the rhythm? So does Prof. Siras. Prof. Siras is also gay. Why do you need to know that? How is it relevant? It is not. And that is the point that Aligarh tries to make. They are human and the differences between them and other humans are nothing to create hue and cry about. However, can you really not do that without doing it? Can you say something is not worth giving undue attention to without bringing attention to it? And that is a trap that Aligarh falls into. Why try so hard to keep away from something that all you can do is get drawn to it? In this case – not becoming a gay rights activism story.
Aligarh tries to be about 'gay professor suspended' with focus on the 'professor', the person rather than the 'gay' part. This by itself is commendable because thus far Hindi films have either turned homosexuality into mockery or taken it too seriously. Aligarh tries its best to let homosexuality just be. That itself is worth a few rounds of applause.
However then, you have the romantic pauses which stay long enough to become over-romanticised. Again, attention is drawn to them, almost as if saying, “if we don't say it, you will miss the subtlety.” Aah..the irony. Is it good because it is better than a joke being explained in a slapstick comedy?
This once Hansal Mehta adds a touch of humor and lightness to the subject too. The hookah-smoking 'aunty' and the quirkiness that she brings along. The energy that comes with Deepu (Rajkummar Rao). Almost as if in response to feedback – your films are too serious. I am joking. The fact that the youth can make a difference if they care enough while living their lives comes through clearly. This even for matters that aren't relevant to them directly.
Rajkummar Rao does brilliantly to bring this through too. His performance is almost taken for granted because of the meek and subdued character Manoj Bajpai plays with such elegance. You know the blushing, nervous, anxious, angry, lonely facets of boring Prof. Siras because - Manoj Bajpai.
Even so, the film becomes stagnant after a while. It is not because of lack of action, because the case is interesting. It is not because of the lingering pauses, because the pace is set from frame one and you know it is going to be a lot about silences. It is about some decisions that didn't quite work. For example, was it important to have brought out Deepu's sexual orientation? It is also about repetitions. Sure, the same sequence is shown with a little additional information. But, that extra isn't weighty enough to warrant a repetition making the film seem stagnant.
It is an important film. It is a courageous film even. The film does some things really well. But, it isn't necessarily an absorbing one.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: A man being beaten up.
- Language: Clean
- Nudity & Sexual content: It is about a man being caught while having sex with a man. Though no explicit visuals as such.
- Concept: Man is suspended from his job because of his sexual orientation
Aligarh - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Karma Pictures, Eros Entertainment
- Producer: Sunil A Lulla, Sandeep Singh, Hansal Mehta
- Director: Hansal Mehta
- Lead Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Rajkummar Rao
- Supporting Cast: Ashish Vidyarthi
- Story: Ishani Banerjee
- Screenplay: Apurva Asrani
- Cinematography: Satya Rai Nagpaul
- Editor: Apurva Asrani
- Music Director: Karan Kulkarni
- Costume Designer: Pia Benegal
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 120 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
Aligarh - Trailer
If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube