“Aligarh” was a life-transforming experience for Rajkummar Rao, who played a journalist in Hansal Mehta’s real-life inspired story about Aligarh Muslim University professor Shrinivas Ramachandra Siras.
The National-award winning actor said he has become more compassionate towards the same sex people and their problems as he got to know more about Siras, who was suspended because of his sexual orientation following a sting operation.
“’Aligarh’ did affect me personally. I care about everyone. I don’t judge people based on their sexual orientation. Through this film, I got to know Siras’ journey. I could see the internal struggle homosexual people face and how they go into their own shells.
“There is a certain section of society which is not accepting them. I could see the pain and agony these people go through as they can’t come out in open,” Rajkummar told PTI.
The actor said he was moved by the powerful script of “Aligarh”, also starring Manoj Bajpayee in the lead role, and was onboard for it at the first go.
“When Hansal sir told me about ‘Aligarh’ and said if I would be interested in doing a part, I told him that I would love to do the film. But he wanted me to read the script first. It was so well written.”
A section of intellectuals are unhappy with Mehta’s film, which released today, for showing Aligarh in bad light.
“I think the problem with them is the title of the film. They feel naming the film ‘Aligarh’ leaves a wrong impression about the city. My request would be let them see the film first. Siras was completely in love with the city as he spent last 30 years of his life there.”
Rajkummar, who is playing journalist Deepu Sebastian in the film, feels his telephonic conversations with the scribe helped him to understand the character.
“My part is also based on a real-life character of Deepu Sebastian. I spoke to Deepu and got his whole perspective on the tragic incident. He was the one, who shared the closest rapport with Siras. I got to know about his bonding with Siras and why he wanted to become a journalist.”
Sharing screen space again with Bajpayee after historical war drama “Chittagong” helped Rajkummar to give a one-notch higher performance.
“I have always been a great admirer of his (Bajpayee) work. His acting impacted me when I was growing up as an actor. Getting a chance to work with him again is overwhelming. On sets, we both tried to be in our character truthfully and we improvised a lot.”
Post “Aligarh”, Rajkummar will be seen in Ramesh Sippy’s “Shimla Mirchi”, which also stars veteran actress Hema Malini.