Last week I went for a Hindi movie, Aligarh. The movie is inspired from the life of Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras. He was a Marathi professor in Aligarh Muslim University but was sacked when a video of him having gay-intercourse surfaced.
Manoj Bajpai plays the character of Prof. Siras and oh! with such elan and class. His dialogue delivery, quite desperation and eyes filled with river of emotions never for a second makes you feel that this is the same guy who had played the malicious, womanizer and revengeful Sardar Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur. And that’s where an actor wins. When an actor is known by his character and not by his name. He is very well supported by another talented actor, Rajkumar Yadav.
So, why does it make an Indian sad?
To say the least, the audience. Here is what the people around me were speaking in between some scenes of the movie:
–The beginning scene where Prof. Siras’ house is shown from outside for roughly five minutes.
Comments: Pssst…Yaar kya bore kar raha hai….uff (Geez! why they are boring us with this scene!)
–There is a scene where Prof Siras enjoys his whisky alone while listening(at the same time murmuring the lyrics) to Lata Mangeshkar’s song:”Aapki Nazron ne Samjha“
Comments: Kya yaar…ab isko gaate hue kyu dikha ra hai? (Why man! Why are they showing him singing the song?)
–In one scene Prof Siras says how he hates his emotions being confined to the three letter word,Gay.
These are just a few of the many comments which people were passing throughout the movie. Only they didn’t realise that the house signified the imprisonment of the poor guy from the wicked world, once his privacy was sabotaged in that very house. The song was his elixir which liberated his troubled soul from all the worries of the world even if it would have been for a few seconds. Homosexuality was his sexual orientation and he felt violated when this was narrowed down to a three letter word.
Oh! I forgot to mention one important detail :
I watched this movie in a multiplex where it is assumed that the audience is sophisticated and capable of reasoning. God, I had so misunderstood!
But people did seem excited at some places. For instance, when a love making scene between a guy and a girl on terrace was cut to homosexual love making scene, people were laughing and enjoying. Because hey, a gay make-out scene is freakishly funny!
Also, towards the end of the movie, the screen throws a trivia stating that theSupreme Court of India has upheld section 377, thereby criminalizing homosexual activity. To this one “funny” guy told his friend to keep his hands away from him or else they will be jailed. Both started laughing fanatically.
So much for broad-mindedness.
What I find weird here is that this is the same audience who say Indian movies have no standard. These are the same people who loathe Shah Rukh Khan saying he has degraded nowadays. These are the same people who went ecstatic over Leonardo Di Caprio’s maiden Oscar win.
If such treatment is given to a class movie like Aligarh then why should anyone dare to make a strong movie? Why should SRK waste his energy when he knows people just like to see him shake his leg and romancing with girls half his age and not electrifying villages?
We love Leo,right? So proud that he won, aren’t we?But was The Revenant an entertaining movie? No!
The Revenant was a very slow movie with very few dialogues. Same goes with other masterpieces like The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, Interstellar,Inception, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Imitation Games, The Theory Of Everything and many more. Aren’t these our favorite movies? So, either we are so downright double -standard people that we fail to recognize the gems of our own country or we are simply those who love the imported products in order to shine our status in public.
Aligarh was a tragic movie which ends on a sad note but people were hardly moved. A guy next to me said to his friend-“Third-class movie!”.Besides, people were busy making their way out. After all,the exit doors are open for few milliseconds!
End result: A movie so strong in both its story-telling, narration, direction and acting failed to impress anyone…well mostly.
I agree everyone has their own opinion. Forcing everyone to like a particular movie is downright stupidity. But when you hear a collective outburst against such a nice movie, one does feel very sad. Truly speaking,the scenario of Indian movies are never going to change. We won’t let it change.
In the end I would just say that Aligarh was not about preaching about Gay-rights or moral values. It was more about a person living through his troubled times with a glass of whisky and Lata Mangeshkar songs as his only solace.
So if you just want to sit back and laugh at every gay references or have a misplaced sense of “Dostana” expectation from this movie then please don’t watch it or even take trouble of downloading it!