Inspired by a real-life incident, Hansal Mehta’s ‘Aligarh,’ written by Apurva Asrani, revolves around Professor Siras (Manoj Bajpayee), who was reportedly suspended by the Aligarh University due to his sexual orientation. He says, “It’s a man’s love story with his life that is interrupted by the society. The institution he worked for invaded his privacy and converted his solitude into loneliness. People isolated him from the world, which was unfair.” The director lost his mother about a year ago. His father became lonely and his plight also inspired the story to some extent.
Hansal is all praises for Manoj, who has been his friend since 22 years. “This complex role needed a certain ease of a trained dancer and he could bring that to the character. Rajkummar Rao is effortless too,” he adds.
While there’s a popular notion that the film intends to champion gay rights, he explains, “I don’t like making movies about issues. I was attracted to the character. Labelling people (as gay) is something that Siras is trying to fight. As long as it makes people watch the film and ponder upon their own prejudices, I am okay.”
The filmmaker hopes the audience embraces his layered storytelling. “I feel ‘Aligarh’ is my most nuanced film. It doesn’t have the melodrama you expect from a Bollywood movie,” he sums up.
‘Aligarh,’ produced by Eros International and Karma Pictures, releases February 26.