Aligarh is one of those rare films which has a great plot, critically acclaimed actors, skillful director, very appealing trailer and a movie made very passionately but still doesn't connect with audience. I have immense respect for LGBT rights and deeply moved with atrocities meted out at Prof Siras. But, I could barely keep my eyes open towards the end of watching Aligarh.
Movie is made at an extremely slow pace and darkness of cinema hall, comfortable seats and soothing conditioned air makes it an irresistible combination to doze off. If it wasn't for Rs 350/- ticket + 250/- popcorn, I wouldn't have battled with my eye lids. This story isn't about homosexuality because that point of view wasn't discussed and justified in the film. This film is a biography on a person Prof Siras, who has a distinct outlook towards life, society, current generation and also happens to have a different sexual orientation.
It is one of the best played roles of Manoj Bajpayee. A dynamic actor like him who is known to play aggressive roles mouthing fierce dialogues have played a role of such calm and composed professor. You'll admire his grip on characterization when he closes his eyes and gets lost in himself, when he feels shy, immense pain which is reflected from him eyes but not from his words. It is remarkable to see Mr Bajpayee playing this role with so much perfection. If there is anything to be watched in this film then it is Manoj Bajpayee's acting prowess. For Rajkummar Rao, this was one of the easiest roles ever played which didn't give him much room to challenge himself and show his acting capabilities.
Now when everything is so great, what really went wrong?
1. If this movie was about homosexuality (or any other social matter for that matter) then it would have still got the audience attention. But this film was about Prof Siras characterization. Does anyone really care who he was and what he really cared for?
2. Pace of the film is extremely slow and people don't have so much patience to understand, assimilate, ruminate and then digest characterization of a person.
3. Many of the threads were left open, which might be intentional but seems like a technical fault. For e.g. Whether Prof Siras partner was hand in glove with journalist or not. What was the animosity between AU faculty and Prof Siras. Was it political for the power or it was a related to religious bias?
Verdict: This movie isn't of everyone's taste. Be very careful before you choose to watch it. You should have a deep interest in philosophy and slow paced films should be your type. There aren't any explicit scenes or usage of bold language, so it is a safe film from that point of view. Ideally, to be watched alone if you are a thinker. Don't drag your friends or partner along if it isn't their type of film.