Aligarh (2016)

Director Hansal Mehta is adept at handling tricky and sensitive subjects, so ‘Aligarh’ was something he tackled appropriately. From the moment the film opened, the mood, tone and pace of the film were set.

The unfortunate real life story of Professor Siras at Aligarh University, is retold by writer / editer Apurva Asrani in a sensitive, dignified manner, always facing the truth and relaying the facts.

Manoj Bajpai as Siras is the restrained shining beacon in the film. What could be a National Award worthy performance, he charms our hearts and wrenches our soul with his simple, docile manner. Charged for homosexuality, he beautifully and repeatedly asked for love not to be labelled or defined.

Rajkumar Rao is his usual dependable self, seeking out troubled waters and trying to calm the ripples by reason, logic and pure reporting. Ashish Vidyarthi as the lawyer gives us an insight into the laws as they were and are. The treatment of the subject is mature without resorting to melodrama or spite.

The troubled world for the LGBT community and the laws that are in place for them are brought to the fore in this tale told with patience and strength. The vision to bring this story to the audiences deserves every credit.



Shahid (2013)

Based on the real life of lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi, this biographical film is intense and an eye opener.

The journey of Shahid from fear, to being recruited, being imprisoned and turning into a rebellious lawyer is captured effectively, with a very good supporting cast.

What Shahid tried to do in his lifetime, this movie has tried to continue, shedding light on the many loopholes, injustices, power games and prejudices that exist in India. The true villain behind some horrific events was always shrouded in mystery, but here many conspiracies are exposed.

Director Hansal Mehta has worked on a variety of films before, but this one is perhaps his most sincere effort. Raj Kumar Yadav, now known as Rajkummar Rao, effortlessly carries the film, portraying many emotions with restraint and his ambition with abandon.