Release Date: 26 February 2016
Starring: Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao, Ashish Vidyarthi, Dilnaz Irani, Sukhesh Arora, Sumit Gulati and Suman Vaidya.
Directed by: Hansal Mehta
Produced by: Sunil Lulla
Story: Ishani Banerjee and Apurva Israni
Music by: Karan Kulkarni
Duration: 2 Hours
Censor Rating: U/A
About Movie Aligarh
Based on the true story of Dr. S.R. Siras, a professor of Marathi and the head of the Classical Modern Indian Languages Faculty at the Aligarh University; Aligarh is the movie which has a hauntingly evocative theme. Its director Hansal Mehta has made an attempt to reveal the plight of homosexuals in the conservative Indian society. The role of the 64-year-old Professor Siras has been played by Manoj Bajpayee. Also, there is a rookie journalist Deepu Sebastian (played by Rajkummar Rao of ‘Queen’ fame) who sees Siras for what he really is. Aligarh is the journey of these two men.
Aligarh has Manoj Bajpayee playing Siras who teaches Marathi in Aligarh University. An incident changes his life overnight when members of the university staff catch him getting intimate with a Muslim rickshaw-puller. Being labelled as an outcast, Siras is suspended from his designation on an immediate basis. What follows is the entry of Deepu (played by Rajkummar Rao) – a journalist who finds the Siras case interesting and intends to highlight his situation. While the movie is loaded with long drawn moments of silence and pauses, there is an excellent element of poetry which will undoubtedly keep you engaged and tug your heartstrings.
Yet another offbeat film by Hansal Mehta, Aligarh has superb performances which will leave you spellbound. As professor Siras, the supremely talented Manoj Bajpayee brings his emotional best. The way in which he has pulled off the ‘love making’ and ‘caught in the act’ scenes deserves kudos. Not feeling for Manoj’s character is quite unexpected.
Next is Rajkummar Rao, who after playing the role of a dishonest would-be groom in ‘Queen’ has done complete justice to his role of a young Malayali journalist Deepu in Aligarh. His excellence in picking up the South Indian accent has allowed him to deliver a commendable emotional scene in the flick’s climax. The bond Deepu forges with Siras seems quite genuine but the reason behind his inclination towards the Marathi teacher’s case isn’t dealt with in the right way.
Playing the character of Siras’ lawyer, Ashish Vidyarthi has been a perfect fit for his role. Manoj Bajpayee and Ashish Vidyarthi would be sharing screen space after a whopping 22 years. The director has made an effective use of Ashish’s quite nature- assisting the latter in playing a role that suits his personality. As Siras’s lawyer, Vidyarthi supports the duo with an impressive realism.
While Aligarh does not have any mainstream songs, its soulful background music by Karan Kulkarni serves as an icing on the cake. The two evergreen Lata Mangeshkar songs “Aap ki nazaron ne samjha pyaar ke kabil mujhe” and “Betaab dil ki tamanna yahi hai” have been brilliantly woven into Aligarh’s script. The two songs encapsulated Dr. Siras’ desire to be loved. The passion with which Manoj’s character hums the songs is something you need to watch for sure.
Stellar performances by Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao clubbed with intelligent filmmaking by Hansal Mehta is definitely the USP of Aligarh. Heart-wrenching writing of Apurva Asrani also deserves applauds.
The slow pace of Aligarh might turn out to be the reason behind the movie being liked by a niche segment of multiplex audiences. Lack of songs might also make a wide group of movie freaks skip Aligarh this weekend.
As a sensitive flick, Aligarh is for all those who are emotional at heart. As a class-apart film loaded with simplicity, Aligarh is an experience more than a mere Bollywood movie.
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