Of Love, Law and Human Rights: Aligarh

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

By Asma Sayed

Dr Asma Sayed is a lecturer at Grant MacEwan University, Canada. She researches and writes about South Asian literature and cinema.

Written by Apurva Asrani and directed by Hansal Mehta, Aligarh (2016) is an excellent biographical film. Based on the real-life story of Srinivas Ramchandra Siras, a professor at India’s highly reputed Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), the film details the events that led to and followed his suspension in 2009, due to the University’s discrimination against his sexual orientation. This brilliant film makes a timely contribution to discussions around LGBTQ rights in India, the world’s largest democracy, where homosexuality remains criminalized. 

Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

Dir: Louise Osmand
Reviewer: Sheila McGregor

‘If you say how the world is, that should be enough’, says Ken Loach at the start of this documentary, adding that ‘politics is essential’. His is a kind of politics which wants to show how working class people live, find their humanity and resist.

This is exemplified in films such as Kes (1969), which demonstrates how a young working class boy is able to develop his own unique personality through his relationship with a kestrel.

Loach won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival last month for the second time for his latest film, I, Daniel Blake. The film, an exposé of life on benefits which are being cut, is Loach’s response to the 2015 re-election of the Tories (or ‘bastards’ as he calls them). Loach has long been celebrated in Europe as an outstanding film maker while being ‘censored’ out of mainstream cinemas in Britain by a Tory media which has always hated his class guts and unwillingness to bend the knee to the rich and powerful.