Director: Hansal Mehta
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao
A lonely character, who is a part of the society but is living with a pain in his heart. This is the story of Professor Siras played by Manoj Bajpayee, a character that he pulls off so beautifully. The mannerism, the accent, the intense emotions are all top notch.
Post a life changing incident, Siras’ world turns upside down. First, he is denied doctor's appointment, then his home’s electricity supply is cut off and he is told to vacate the house in a week’s time. In short, he is discarded by the society.
The movie is set from a real life incident (makers claim in the start that it is modified) when a professor loses his job while caught sleeping with a rickshaw puller. What follows is a legal battle to fight for honour, job and dignity.
When Professor Siras is exposed by the local media, having sex with a rickshaw puller, it highlights two sensitive things; the frustration of a man living in a closet to deal with such humiliation and the mind set of the society towards them.
During a scene, the professor is asked if he is gay, to which he replies, "I don't know the meaning of this word." This particular line in the film defines ‘Aligarh’ perfectly.
Apart from the man's journey which the film informs in detail, there is nothing about the film that holds you in totality. Manoj Bajpayee single-handedly carries the film on his shoulder. It appears that Hansal Mehta got too attached to the subject and got carried away. Showing the outside world through the eyes of the protagonist appeals when said once, but when he tries to convey again and again, it becomes to dragging and it loses its impact. At a point it gets boring to deal with director's stagnant vision when he fails to move ahead with the story.
The court room scenes are informative and Ashish Vidyarthi's (Lawyer) sharp performance is worth mentioning despite limited screen-time.
Rajkummar Rao who plays the role of a journalist (Deepu) is mediocre and is same like he has been in his earlier films. He had so much scope to shine but it is an opportunity wasted.
Cinematography Satya Ray Nagpaul is commendable bringing out the real essence of the life of the professor the way he has shot it. Sound design by Mandar Kulkarni works keeping in mind the mood of the film.
Manoj Bajpayee proves again that he can mould himself into any character and entertain the audience.