Friday, 26th February 11:55 AM IST
tiring background score, drags at places
Watch it for very relevant context and superlative performances
'Aligarh' has got immense critical acclaim and buzz among critics even before release. Film is inspired from true events and has stellar cast full of powerhouse performers.
Saru, full name Saraswati, is an obedient daddy’s girl. Inder is a broody, massively-tattooed loner. And ‘Sanam Teri Kasam’ , not to be confused with the ’82 film of the same name, is a manual of how Not to make a contemporary romantic film.
Picture this: a heavy-handed father who thunders, flinging out instructions on how wife and daughters ought to behave. Falling in love with an unsuitable boy, ‘aiyyo rama’. Acting on your own will, ‘parmeshwara’. Doing what your heart tells you to, ‘aaj se thum mere liye marr gayi’.
Which leaves Saru (Mawra Hocane) to smile, simper, weep. Hesitate. Propitiate. And to look at her stony-faced father (Chowdhary, trying very hard to be a credible South Indian patriarch and failing) who’d rather conduct a wake than understand his daughter’s desires, and wait for his ‘permission’ before she can take a step forward. (Read: Ghayal Once Again, Sanam Teri Kasam to clash at box-office today)
Inder (Harshwardhan Rane, armed with impressive bod, limited expression), who has daddy issues of his own, scowls and growls. The deep hurt caused by his dad is revealed much too late, and much too cursorily. The rest is filled by these two unlikely characters—Inder and Saru—developing feelings, over a brain tumour, impending tragedy, and more tears.
Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras (Manoj Bajpayee) is getting on in years. As befits a teacher and author, he is a man of letters. He likes poetry. He likes a glass or two of the good stuff when the day is ending. Above all he is alone, sharing his loneliness with Lata Mangeshkar’s soulful songs, and occasionally, a tryst with another human who just happens to be of the same sex.
Deepu (Rajkummar Rao) is the Delhi-based reporter of a national daily who stumbles upon the Siras ‘story’ in a local Aligarh paper, and pursues it with his photographer colleague Tashi (Gulati).
Siras’ ‘case’ segues into the historic 2009 Delhi High Court judgement which decriminalized homosexuality, and is fought by a legal eagle (Ashish Vidyarthi) who places privacy in a bedroom beyond the ‘moral’ pale, and sneering guardians of ‘morality’. The hectoring tone of the public prosecutor in Allahabad is of a piece with the general castigation brought to bear upon the LGBT community, and Siras’s exoneration feels like a victory, even if short-lived.
Film has heart in the right place and has very realistic intense yet poignant tone. Film has superb writing and screenplay never goes out of the line. Film drags only at places in 2nd half.
Performance wise Manoj Bajpayee is superb and gives his best performance. His eyes convey more than dialogues. His pain, anger and bewilderment keep you hooked throughout. Rajkumar again proves his worth with gem of the performance. Ashish Vidyarthi proves his worth in a neatly written role.
Film has real story and amazing screenplay screenplay. Film has below par editing. Background music is below par. Cinematography is very good, production design is perfect and costumes are apt.
Director Hansal Mehta continues to give relevant and important films which depict mood of our times and raise some really crucial pertinent issues of society. He deserves full marks for such delicate and perfect handling of such a over-abused subject in Bollywood.
Film released today and it will get glowing reviews but it will not get any kind of opening as has no face value plus subject is limited to very niche audience. Film has clash at box office with coemdy sequel film 'Tere Bin Laden Dead Or Alive' which does not matter much but hit film 'Neerja' will curtail its business big time.
Go for this one for a powerful relevant piece of cinema.