As the movie “Aligarh” makes its way to the screens, it does so with a dense cloud of both curiosity and controversy over it. The movie directed by Hansal Mehta focuses on the sensitive issue of homosexuality.
Being a biographical drama film, it revolves around the life events of Dr. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, an Indian linguist, author and a Marathi professor at Aligarh Muslim university, who was suspended on the basis of having a different sexual orientation and later on, found dead under suspicious circumstances.
Now what brings this movie into controversy is the intervention of Central Board of Film Certification. The censor board has lashed an ‘A’ certificate on the movie. Even the three-minute trailer of the movie has been deemed out of bounds of the under 18 bracket.
Moreover, the director has been requested to delete certain scenes from the movie, which according to the board do not qualify as appropriate for the audience. This decision of the board not only hampers the promotion of the film but also the visibility of the film in theaters.
Now there can be many aspects as to why the movie has been certified ‘A’, but one could easily suspect the subject of the film to be the root cause of it.
By not allowing the film to be introduced to young viewers, the board has already cornered the highlighted issue in the movie, which anyway suffers from a large scale prejudice in our country. The censor board has portrayed exactly that by alienating the young audience from a subject that needs to be spread and understood by all.
In a country like ours, where the law doesn’t acknowledge the presence of a rightful practice, a movie like ‘Aligarh’, is a statement of a rebel. The movie not only showcases homosexuality but also the human spirit and its struggle to exist despite hostile and suppressive surroundings.
The ‘A’ certificate has not only angered the cast and crew of the film but it has also led to a strong opposition by the audience. They feel that the censor board is being unduly unfair to the subject and this decision is based on pure prejudice towards homosexuality.
The censor board, on the other hand, states that the director of ‘Aligarh’ is making an issue out of the certification to gain publicity. They also defended themselves by stating that the certificate has been issued due to the content of the movie. They have clearly and openly stated that the movie is based on homosexuality which, according to them is not a subject for kids and teenagers.
Now this is where the crux of the matter lies. The censor board has entirely missed the core point, the director is trying to convey to his viewers.
Homosexuality is not a crime and it should not be treated as one. It is, in all due respects, a very natural practice. Its presence should not be ignored but should be wholeheartedly accepted by all. People need to be sensitized to it and moreover, be told that we today live among those who presently live in their closets.
It’s only us and our acceptance that would encourage them to come out and be who they are. Now by not showcasing the current situation to the youth, the censor board is depriving them of the reality that they ought to see and understand.
By highlighting the story of Dr. Siras, the director is appealing to the law and pleading to expand its vision so as to empower those who are struggling to hold their identities in our society.
In a democracy, people should have the right to rights, opinions, and sex according to their own personal choice. No law and order should dictate or deny them this right.
The censor board only reflects the narrowness that exists in our society and Hansal Mehta’s film Aligarh is all set to break them.