Aligarh: The Fight of A Man For his Life, Dignity and Career Against Section 377

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To begin with, I would like to mention, Section 377, IPC reads as: “377. Unnatural offences.—Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.” Aligarh is a true story , set months from the ruling of 2009 ruling of the Delhi Court that held the Section 377 as unconstitutional.

After a string of amazing movies by the Bollywood fraternity, Aligarh’s aura has taken the expectations of the Hindi movie lovers to a much higher level for the upcoming movies.

Based on the struggle of a professor of the Aligarh Muslim University, Dr. Srinavas Ramchandra Siras in order to defend his sexual orientation as a gay against his colleagues and the system, Aligarh is slow, descriptive and does what most real life stories fail to do, impress on the smallest of the details.

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Director Hansal Mehta’s direction is well assisted by some stellar performances by Manoj Bajpai, the lead guy supported by Rajkumar Rao and Ashish Vidyarthi, playing a journalist and lawyer fighting for Dr. Siras’ rights against Section 377.

Most of us remember Manoj Bajpai for his energetic and negative performances in Rajneeti, Aarakshan and Gangs of Waaseypur, but his transformation to a silent, introvert, scared and frustrated professor is worth the applaud. It is nothing but this amazing performance that empower this real life event. Aligarh has been set up in a dark, melancholic and pensive mood full of silences, anger and frustration, which is well complemented by Manoj Bajpai’s performance.

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As the movie takes it course and Dr. Siras seeks judicial help to save his job and dignity in the society. It is during these court arguments we realise the backward and down trodden mentality of some of the members of the judicial and education systems of our country. Aligarh, though slow, loses interest at some points losing its lustre, which makes the proceedings a little dull at times.

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In addition to all the high scales it has been able to touch, Aligarh unleashes its  most powerful tool on the audience-  it’s dialogues. Writer Apurva Asrani uses the tools of symbolism, metaphors and imagery to its fullest to make the viewers drool over the movie. With most of the shooting in parts of Aligarh, New Delhi and Allahbad, Aligarh does not have much to offer on accessories of locations, music or action. It’s a movie that revolves only around its storyline and acting performances.

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Despite being roped by allegations and questions regarding his sexual orientation, Dr. Siras is engrossed in his poetry and continues to quote heart touching lines from his collection of poems.  He finds the court proceedings dull, and is intrigued by the society’s approach towards his private and sexual life. Struck by pain and anguish, Dr. Siras questions that how can people explain his feelings in just 3 letters, offering logical arguments and questions to his haters .

Aligarh may be classified as a low budget movie by the Bollywood pundits and may not be able to mint much money, but it strikes the right chord posing a serious question to Section 377, which rather than upholding the rights has become nothing but a means by the Indian society to torture the homosexual community. Aligarh ends on a sad note posing a serious question before our constitution and our citizens: For how many more years will the system and society system continue to torture the poor and incapable on the basis of bind laws ?

My rating: 4.0/5

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