Rajkummar Rao: Uncomfortable with cliche depiction of gay men in films

Rajkummar Rao says he is proud to be a part of 'Aligarh' as he feels the movie doesn't take the conventional route of depicting gay characters on screen.

Rajkummar Rao
Rajkummar Rao

'Aligarh', also starring Manoj Bajpayee in the lead role, is based on the life of Aligarh Muslim University professor Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, who was suspended because of his sexual orientation. He was later found dead in his room.

Rajkummar said it is high time the cliched representation of gay characters is done away with.

"I am uncomfortable with how gay people are shown in comedies and films... I don't agree with it. I anyway have a problem with anything that is caricaturist or over-the-top in nature. 'Aligarh' is an important film because it shows these people like anyone else," Rajkummar told PTI in an interview.

The actor said there was not an iota of apprehension in him to come on board for the Hansal Mehta-directed drama as he fell in love with the script.

"A good script is rare to come by. 80 per cent of what we get is plain boring or conventional. 'Aligarh' is one of the most beautifully written scripts ever. I can't say no to a story like this nor can I do anything (bad) to my craft.

"I knew we were making something very important. This would make people talk about the issue. As an artiste there was no hesitancy on my part. We wanted to tell this story with full conviction."

Rajkummar's character is inspired by journalist Deepu Sebastian, who covered stories related to Siras.

The actor said though he could not meet Sebastian during the film's shooting, he got to speak to the journalist over phone which helped him pick little nuances of the South Indian man, from his accent to his commitment to work.

"My character is based on this guy called Deepu Sebastian. I spoke to him a number of times, tried to figure out his way of working. He was very open about everything, supportive and was all for the cause and the movie.

"He shared many recorded interviews with me which helped me pick his accent. I got a commitment and energy from him that I tried putting in my character. I could not meet him at that time though."

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