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Aligarh-hindi movie by Hansal Mehta

28 Feb

I’m glad I went to see  the hindi film “Aligarh” this afternoon. I almost missed it . My daughter had booked my ticket online , but at the counter I was told that it had been booked for yesterday . I rechecked the message delivered on the mobile and realised that it was sadly true. Fortunately, lots of tickets were still available for the current show and so apart from the money  she lost, all was well.

 

One vaguely remembered reading about the newspaper reports that spoke of a professor of  Aligarh Muslim University, in North India ,  being caught on video in a compromising position with a young rikshaw-puller  and his subsequent suspension from his post , at a time when a High Court had revoked Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code  which made homosexuality a criminal offence.  Some journalists had broken in into his house, barged into his bedroom and filmed them. Almost immediately, four of the faculty members had turned up at the place and from that point onwards, life had become a nightmare beset with persecution and humiliation for the sixty four year old professor who had spent over two decades , teaching Marathi in that University.  Two days after the petition filed by him in the High Court was decided in his favour for revoking his suspension , he was found dead  in his rented house. The post-mortem  had revealed that there were traces of poison in his blood.

professor siras

 

Hansal Mehta’s cinematic version of this true-life incident is remarkably well executed.  Manoj Bajpai ,  enacting the role of Professor Srinivas Ramachandra Siras is superb. As the soft-spoken, unobtrusive, almost nondescript professor whose lonely evenings were spent with a glass of spirits and old hindi songs of Lata Mangeshkar,  his portrayal etched the character indelibly in the viewer’s mind, I felt.

 

Raj Kumar Rao, in the role of the young  Delhi based journalist  Deepu Sebastian Edmond, then working with the newspaper Indian Express, who had followed this case along with his photographer colleague Tashi Tobgyal, is also very impressive.

deepu sebastian.jpg

 

It was Deepu  who had  highlighted the culpability of the persons who had intruded upon the right of an individual to his  privacy and against whom no action had been taken.  In actuality, Deepu and Professor Siras, had never met and there had been only one conversation on the phone after the judgement was delivered. In the film,  they are shown to have met several times and the mutual understanding , respect and affections that developed between them have been very   touchingly depicted.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JezwsQKpXuU

 

“I don’t like the word gay”, the professor objects in the film.” To me it is like poetry, an indescribable urge”

And how can that be a crime if that relationship is  between two consenting individuals , if it doesn’t  impose or intervene or disrupt another’s space or rights or well-being?  That it is  unnatural , is the reason provided by  almost all religions and the law. How can an individual help the way he feels about love or it’s expression if that is how his nature is ? Isn’t Nature itself a testimony to the fact that homogenity is against the very nature of Nature itself , with it’s myriad forms, colours, contours , climates, niches and nurturing ,  food cycles and courtship and reproduction.

 

In this age of taking sides , of information and counter-information and misinformation,  of strident voices dominating  every aspect of human existence , of confusions and helplessness, how does one sift through the incoherence and arrive at any conclusion? How does one know for sure that what one is standing up for is indeed the Truth in the shifting sands of morality , patriotism, religious beliefs, definitions of propriety, social norms, traditions , culture   and so on?

The truth is perhaps that one may never know . May be the only way we can justify our perceptions is by gauging the truth of  our own feelings . For me, the touchstone would be whether  my alignments are motivated by love or animosity for my fellow human beings. Which side I am on is not perhaps of  any significance .

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

Posted by on February 28, 2016 in Community, Movies, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

5 responses to “Aligarh-hindi movie by Hansal Mehta

  1. Sue Dreamwalker

    June 16, 2016 at 8:26

    I missed this very moving account of the Professor life portrayed within the making of the film.. Many thanks for sharing this story with us. We hopefully have moved a long way in tolerance of those who do not fit into the boxes of society .
    And I have had many friends in my life who are ‘Gay’ .. This subject matter is poignant right now given the mass murders in Orlando recently in a Gay nightclub..
    Thank you for giving us much to ponder upon Nadira..
    And I have enjoyed catching back up with you again..
    Love and blessings
    Sue ❤

     
    • dreamingthruthetwilight

      June 16, 2016 at 8:26

      Yes Sue….it is so depressing that an individual is able to whip up so much hatred within himself in order to commit violence of this scale. How dark must be his inner world. How very alone he must be, enveloped as he is by his homophobia. Sad indeed.

      Connections like ours that we’ve managed to find amidst all this chaos , one sure is grateful for. I have to catch up with your posts too. A big hug till then.

       
      • Sue Dreamwalker

        June 16, 2016 at 8:26

        Dear friend I know how busy you are so no worries about catching up.. We know we visit when we are meant to..
        And yes, such sadness, we have to join in the one thing which pulls all of mankind together.. And that is Love.. Sending you lots of love Nadira xx ❤

         
  2. AmyRose🌹

    March 6, 2016 at 8:26

    There is a good deal to think upon here. ❤

     

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