As any person paying attention to world news knows, the subject of gay rights in India has provoked heated debate in recent years. In 2009, the Delhi High Court struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized homosexual acts, only to see the law reinstated four years later by a Supreme Court decision. As protests over that unjust ruling rage on, Hansal Mehta’s timely new film arrives as a heartfelt but firm demand for the right to love.
Mehta and screenwriter Apurva Asrani find inspiration in the true story of Dr. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, a linguistics professor at Aligarh Muslim University who faced suspension and possible termination due to his sexual orientation. Though many supporters rally to Siras’ cause, including a dedicated journalist played with great panache by Rajkummar Rao, Mehta and lead actor Manoj Bajpayee paint a portrait of the doctor as a gentle man more concerned with the beauty life and love have to offer rather than tooth-and-nail fighting over rights that no courts should be able to deny. Siras’ story is a heartbreaking reminder of the human cost of injustice, and inspires one of the most vital films to come out of India in recent years.
- Hansal Mehta
Indian filmmaker, writer, actor and producer Hansal Mehta began his career in television with the series KHANA KHAZANA and later moved onto films such as JAYATE (1999) and DIL PE MAT LE YAAR (2000). He is best known for SHAHID, which won the 2013 National Film Award for Best Direction. His latest titles include CITY LIGHTS, and this year’s ALIGARH.