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Shahid traces the true story of slain human rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi. From attempting to become a terrorist to being wrongly imprisoned under a draconian anti-terrorism law to becoming a criminal lawyer Shahid traces the inspiring personal journey of a boy who became an unlikely messiah for human rights while following the rise of communal violence in India. This story of an impoverished Muslim struggling to come to terms with injustice, inequality and rising above his circumstances is an inspiring testament to the human spirit. Written by
A strong evidential piece of cinema that enlightens!
I feel ashamed of myself for not knowing Shahid Azmi- a slain lawyer and an altruistic humane activist before Hansal Mehta came up with a strong evidential piece of cinema that does not merely solve the purpose to entertain but also dares to enlighten our unresponsive- unsympathetic minds confined into its own safe but scared place to stay put. We probably have become either numb to whatever happens in our neighborhoods or blatantly reactive about just anything that comes in way without assessing what is right and what is not.
'SHAHID' is the need of the hour. It demands and shows the guts to start a never-ending movement, if not on the roads, definitely in our heads, to bring change in the system by joining it and not wiping it out or denying its very existence.
Shahid, played by 'Kai Po Che!' fame Raj Kumar could be anyone of thousands who gets trapped into the torturous custody of Indian Police known for its tactical power-driven machinery and is thrown into Jail for beholding a name that comes from a certain section of people in minority but where the most would disappear in the galore to turn radical against country & its governing bodies, Shahid decides to stand out. While his tenure in longing to get set free, Shahid keeps his conscience alive and opts to be a helping hand for those who have nothing but an assurance of not being guilty.
SHAHID is an extraordinary effort in terms of writing and direction. Based on the real-life criminal lawyer-cum-human rights activist Shahid Azmi, film amalgamates facts and fiction beautifully. It is a biopic that is handled with sheer honesty, clarity in thoughts, rightly positioned screenplay, brilliance in execution and a very very significant memorandum to all human beings. Hansal Mehta never and never loses his grip on the subject. He keeps it as real as it is happening in a gully adjacent to my living place. Special mention to the replication of Indian courts' undramatic-nontheatrical-dreary modus operandi where there is no usual Bollywood 'order-order' but an actual exchange of verbal spats. Camera work by Anuj Dhawan captures the environs and the emotions equally good. Dialogues are crisp, colloquial and taut.
But what make it an exceptional biopic are the performances. Shahid's fearless-in your face-uncomplicated character could never come so strong if Raj Kumar has not given it his flesh & blood. This man can make you laugh with his charmingly simplistic behavior, watch it when he is trying to be comfortable with his lady-love still unaware of his feelings, and also can make your heart bleed with his heartrending silence when attacked for his forgettable past. Extended applause for his bravura performance! Prabhleen Sandhu as his wife too is a gifted actor. She brings with herself an unpolished charm that hits every chord she aims to. Md. Zeeshan Ayyub here has not much like in RAANJHANAA to overwhelm you but still he keeps your expectations fulfilled. Kay Kay Menon and Tigmanshu Dhulia play their parts efficiently with a sparkling presence on screen.
After PAAN SINGH TOMAR, here comes an earnest biographical drama that I hope could change the way Indian Cinema thinks about our real life heroes. This is also a film that raises many a questions about humanity and its survival in today's times. It also shows our judiciary system in true lights. As said in the film by the character Kay Kay Menon plays, "It takes time but it works." Painfully correct!
On the whole, very few people dare to rise and take a stand to tell a story that might have been vanished from lives & in files if not attempted. Hansal Mehta joins the same league. Respect for giving us SHAHID- a film that will find a place close to your heart very easily but not without stirring-shaking & moving your soul. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!
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