Hansal Mehta dismayed over ‘Aligarh’ being snubbed at National Awards

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Hansal Mehta

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta said it’s disappointing that his critically acclaimed film ‘Aligarh’ was not considered worthy of an honour at the 64th National Film Awards . However, he hopes the debate around LGBTQ rights is not ignored.Set in a town in Uttar Pradesh from which the film takes its name, ‘Aligarh’ is the story of a professor played by actor Manoj Bajpayee, fired for his sexuality, and a young journalist essayed by Rajkummar Rao, who tells his story to the world.

After the 64th National Film Awards were announced on Friday in New Delhi, Mehta expressed his sentiments via a Twitter post. He wrote: “I am getting calls asking me if ‘Aligarh’ was entered for the National Awards and if I was disappointed with the results. Yes, ‘Aligarh’ was entered and while we are disappointed like many other colleagues, I would like to congratulate all the the winners.

The filmmaker said that the jury has a difficult job every year and there are bound to be disappointments for many. “Some fine films have been rewarded and some excellent work has been recognized. To all my colleagues who poured their hearts out into ‘Aligarh’, let’s just keep making our films with love and care – awards or no awards. There is no point brooding over the results. There is merit in only moving on and continuing to work, to make movies that we believe in.”

He said it’s more important that the fight for LGBTQ rights continues. “If ‘Aligarh’ has shone a light on these issues and if India’s ignored LGBTQ’s population are able to move forward with dignity rights, and unconditional integration into the mainstream, we will consider our task in making ‘Aligarh’ accomplished,” he said.

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