Director: Hansal Mehta
Language(s): Hindi with English subtitles
Runtime: 114 min
Festival year: 2016
Receiving standing ovations at festivals across the world, the latest film from director Hansal Mehta is a landmark in Indian cinema. Based on real-life events, this cinematically rich work is set in the heated moment between the Delhi High Court’s discharge of Section 377 (the anti-sodomy law enacted during colonial rule) and its later re-amendment. A 64-year-old poet and professor, Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras (played by the gifted Manoj Bajpayee), endures a home invasion by thug “journalists” who videotape him in bed with another man. This video leads to suspension from his teaching post at Aligarh University and growing condemnation from his colleagues. Meanwhile, Deepu, an ambitious journalist at the Indian Express, finds out about these events and tries to befriend Siras to uncover the real story.
Aligarh embraces hard questions about the legal unsteadiness of a post-colonial state and media ethics, along with more poetic questions of how one’s desire and sexuality are not always nameable. Framed by the haunting music of Lata Mangeshkar, the film shows what happens when a gentle man is caught in the war for social change.
Screening Sponsors: Vij’s Restaurant, McCarthy Tétrault
Please note: the visit by director Hansal Mehta listed in our program guide has unfortunately been cancelled.
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