India is never friendly or accepting of the homosexuals living in the country. In the year 2010, even professor Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras faced many misfortunes because of his sexual orientation.
Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras was a professor at the Aligarh Muslim University where he served as the Head of the Department of Modern Indian Languages. On 8 February 2010, his reputation suffered a massive blow when a few men invaded his home, deprived him of his privacy and caught him having sex with a man.
It was later proved that the people who entered his house were hired by the Aligarh Muslim University itself to catch him red-handed in the act and punish him for his sexual orientation. The very next day Siras was suspended by the university for having sex with a rickshaw puller. This matter was discussed in local TV channels and was also taken to court.
On 1st April 2010, Siras won his case and got back his job and accommodation. What followed was nothing less than shocking. Six days later Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras was found dead in his apartment.
Though the police suspected that the incident was a suicide, a case was registered, and six people were arrested for suspicion of murder. But however, the case was closed because the police could not find enough evidence to prove that the professor was murdered. This is the story of professor Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, based on whom the movie Aligarh was made.
The movie Aligarh deals with one of the most sensitive problems in India – crime against homosexuals. Manoj Bajpayee plays the role of Siras, and Rajkummar Rao plays a journalist who unveils the story of the gay professor.
While most of the country continues to treat homosexuality as taboo, the movie looks beyond what the society perceives of them. It focuses on the larger picture and discusses how the minorities of India are robbed of their basic human rights.
The movie has made every effort to bring out the inner trauma and problems that the LGBT community and other minority groups are facing. The director Hansal Mehta and even the actors have made sure that the movie does justice to what professor Siras actually went through in his life. Manoj Bajpayee while talking about the movie states that they have not ‘sensationalized’ the story of the professor, but have made an effort to bring reality to picture.
The film Aligarh looks into the personal life of the professor and pictures how a man fights for his privacy and basic rights that every citizen must enjoy. The movie also questions the role of media and how brutally the society treats a man because of his sexual orientation. This film received a standing ovation at the Busan International Film Festival.
Manoj in a few words sums up what the movie is all about. He says “Aligarh is not a controversial film about homosexuality, it’s about this man’s relentless fight for his right to privacy. If it helps to create a debate on the subject in our homophobic society, I’ll think our job is done.”