Hansal Mehta is known for his sensitive, quality films that have a substantial story to tell. Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), the prestigious Asian film jamboree has recognized this National Award winner’s ability to tell unusual human celluloid stories by lending its platform for the World Premiere of his next, Eros International and Karma Pictures’ Aligarh in its section "A Window on Asian Cinema". This year the BIFF runs from 1-10 October 2015.
The film follows a young reporter (Rajkummar Rao) who takes on the case of a college professor who is fired because of being gay (Manoj Bajpayee) after he is caught on camera in a sting operation. As we get closer to the truth of the case, the professor’s personal charm and the truth of that day emerges.
Based on a real life incident in Uttar Pradesh, Aligarh focuses on the real meaning of love alienated from society.
The real life incident ended in tragedy. In April 2010, NDTV reported:
Dr Sreenivas Siras, a Marathi professor at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) sacked for being gay, was found dead on Wednesday evening. He is suspected to have committed suicide.
Siras, 64, was suspended by the conservative institution after secretly shot videotape surfaced, showing him having sex with a rickshaw puller. Last week, the Allahabad High Court had stayed the suspension ordered his reinstatement.
"Now, I can go back to my beloved university," Siras had said to NDTV, after the court ordered AMU to not just take him back, but provide him accommodation till he retires later this year.
"I spent two decades here. I love my University. I have always loved it and will continue to do so no matter what. But I wonder if they have stopped loving me because I am gay," Professor Siras had said after the incident first made headlines.
The first look poster of Manoj Bajpayee was released in March 2015 and sets the tone for the film. Producer Sandeep Singh explained:
"This film is based on a true life incident. One that has left a deep impact on people and we wanted to achieve the same with the first look of Manoj's character. The film is turning out wonderfully and we really hope that with this look, audiences can see what we've been seeing. This is just one of the many aspects of the film and we are eager to give the audience more glimpses into our film gradually."
The most applauded and keenly watched film festival in Asia, BIFF brings together some of the best film-making talent from across the world. Speaking on this, film-maker Hansal said, "I think it’s a special reward to a fantastically dedicated team that worked on making Aligarh so special. Busan is Asia’s biggest film festival and being selected as part of such an excellent line-up is an honour. "
Producer Sunil Lulla, Managing Director, Eros International Media Ltd, "We are elated at the selection of our film, Aligarh for its World Premiere at a prestigious film festival like BIFF. This strengthens our belief at Eros in backing the vision of directors like Hansal who make meaningful cinema with a human touch."
This year the BIFF will also be hosting a special line up of European parallel cinema, and will become a hub of global cinema.
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