Acclaimed director Hansal Mehta has released the first image from his latest project ‘Aligarh’.
The image features actor Manoj Bajpayee in the role of tragic Aligarh University professor Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras who was found dead two months after he was suspended from the famous university over his sexuality in 2010.
Dr Siras was a widely-respected linguist and author who was on the cusp of retiring after a distinguished academic career.
However, just a few months before his retirement authorities at the publicly-run Muslim university were given a video tape showing Dr Siras having sex with another man inside his private residence.
His suspension was thrown out by a local court and Dr Siras had returned to work and had even told a reporter for the Indian Express of his desire to travel to America where he would be “free to be gay”.
Two days later his body was found inside his bedroom. Police later said Dr Siras had committed suicide.
Professor Ramchandra Siras
‘Aligarh’ is the latest big screen adaptation of a real-life drama from National Award-winner Mehta.
The 46-year-old said earlier this year that Dr Siras’ life was reflective of countless others in India.
“The film is based on many such true incidents which are happening in our country for a long time. Marginalisation of people based on religion, caste, gender and sexual orientation is not new. I feel the debate on sexual orientation should be a part of mainstream
“We all face marginalisation for different reasons in a regressive society. Such minorities make a big part of our country. Their wishes should not be cornered,” he told the Press Trust of India.
Mehta is no stranger to bringing the lives of tragic heroes to the big screen.
His 2013 biopic ‘Shahid’ explored the life of Shahid Azmi, the lawyer and human rights activist who represented some of those accused in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai and who was murdered for his work.