When Hansal Mehta's Aligarh was screened at the 20th Busan International Film Festival in October last year, it got a standing ovation. Upon watching the theatrical trailer of the film, one can completely understand why.
The film revolves around the controversial, real-life case of an professor from Aligarh Muslim University who was caught (on camera) having sexual relations with a rickshaw puller. Professor Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras was a Marathi professor at AMU, and not much else is known about his life.
In Aligarh, Manoj Bajpayee nails the loneliness and complexity of playing Professor Siras. From his first dialogue in the film, he has you hooked to his ethos. "Koi mere feeling ko teen aksharon mein kaise samajh sakta hai (how can I explain my feelings to someone in three letters?)"
What is most lovely about the Aligarh trailer, apart from the performances by Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao, is the fact that it doesn't waste time and screen space trying to place its protagonist's sexual leanings on a moral compass. The film, in fact, defends everyone's right to privacy and focusses much more on the stigma of not being "normal".
In a country where it's still illegal to be homosexual, Aligarh aptly portrays how it feels like to be different from the crowd, and not in a good way. The incident happened in 2010, and yet six years later, even through the film, there seems to be no solution to the infringement of privacy and moral policing we face everyday.
Aligarh starts a conversation that we need to be having on our dining tables.
A conversation about basic rights, of freedom, of choice, and of privacy. Needless to say the trailer of Aligarh will move you, and make you think. But more than that, Aligarh seems to be the sort of film that will not let you forget. The fight is still on.
The trailer ends with an apt tagline, "Come out and question, come out and talk, come out and love, come out." But more than that, there's a dialogue in the trailer that forms the social crux of the film so beautifully, that it will resonate with you till you watch the film; "What business does anyone have to look into someone else's bedroom?"
Watch the trailer here.