I went today to watch Aligarh and let me be very clear about one fact, this movie is not about homosexuality. It’s a portrait of loneliness of a man in not even the gray shades that lies between black and white. It’s the sad shade of orange that colors up the sky just before the sun sets. That is Aligarh for me.
Its about a man who does not even know the difference between “He is a gay” or “He is gay” but definitely understands the longing of love. He refuses to be typecast into labels without any activism, He shies, he is embarrassed on taking a photograph, he is sad but not aggressive , he is betrayed but not bitter and Manoj Bajpayee creeps into the soul of Dr Siras with his expressive eyes, the tearful eyes, eyes which do not meet our eyes, eyes which stare in a distance but the eyes which make us uneasy. Does Manoj Bajpayee realize he has surpassed himself as Dr Siras and when he embarrassingly smiles after a selfie, you just want to go and hug him.
Hansal Mehta is ready to take risks and his risks are being made into a classic through brilliant writing by Apurva Ansari. Apurva: I have followed Dr Siras case and the stereotypical reactions that ensued it but when Aligarh was announced I could not imagine how will it be written. Be it the poetry reciting at the party or the beautifully calm boat ride, you came out with a script that does not scream for decriminalizing homosexuality, rather you showed us what lies behind the loner journey of coming out.
Last year I went to Bangalore for a study report on AIDS where I met a cooperative run by hundreds of people all of whom were “Men who have sex with Men”. After a long session of interaction, filming and documenting their stories, their struggles and their coming out, we decided to leave. They insisted to stay back for a while as they had prepared some cultural program and refreshment for us. Well we stayed back and a young man started his dance number “Munni Badnam hui” in as seductive way as possible. I giggled and today after watching Aligarh, I wondered why did I giggle? Why i don’t giggle when fat aunties try to act sexy and dance on the same number. Doesn’t that one giggle make me a part of the same mob that paints their profile pics in colors on a judgement in favor of homosexuality but are never free of the hypocrisy of prejudices surrounding sexual orientation. I want to say them a SORRY today.
Bravo team Aligarh. You wrote a poetry out of a chaos.