21 October 2013 | bobbysing
A must watch for its superb performances and for the man, who never lived for himself.
A true story of a selfless protagonist, fighting for the freedom of falsely framed victims of a minority community, this is about SHAHID AZMI, a noted lawyer who was killed in his own Kurla office in February 2010 by some unidentified men. With a mix of more facts and less fiction, director Hansal Mehta makes this best film of his career in a pure realistic style, as an absorbing documentation of the life of Shahid Azmi which is going to be a fascinating yet disturbing cinematic experience for many. Shot at actual locations with an immensely likable touch of romance in this otherwise unkind portrayal, the film reaches its peak with all the gripping courtroom scenes filmed in the most authentic manner rarely seen before in a Hindi film in particular. SHAHID grabs you from the collars within the first 10 minutes itself, especially in the scene wherein even a mother is scared to open the door of their hideouts in the riots, listening to the voice of her son knocking at it constantly. And once you get into the grim, shocking world of Shahid's valuable life, Mehta never lets you move out of it even for a minute, in the next 100 minutes of his film very convincingly.
Apart from its scary & unbelievable kind of real life account of a lawyer, what makes SHAHID hit you hard is its sharp editing, flawless casting and superb, realistic performances from the entire talented cast. Perfectly played by Raj Kumar Yadav, the actor goes deep down the skin of his character and surely becomes a strong contender of many worth deserving awards this year. Such is the authenticity in his performance that after watching him, one feels like having met the real SHAHID and for that both the actor and his director truly deserve all the praises showered upon them in the last few months. Other than Raj, there are two names in the film playing the female Muslim characters perfectly and the ease, with which they play their respective difficult characters, clearly proves the true talent of these ladies undoubtedly. The names are Prabhleen Kaur and Baljinder Kaur (Shahid's mother) and they do provide a strong visible support to Raj Kumar's towering performance along with subtle Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub,silently playing his helpful brother. As the public prosecutor, Vipin Sharma once again proves that he is a remarkable actor. Plus Kay Kay Menon & Tigmanshu Dhulia, truly impress in their small cameos, as expected. Also Shalini Vatsa, Prabal Punjabi and Mukesh Chhabra turn out to be a very valuable addition to the supporting cast with their truthful acts.
Considering the film from a general public viewpoint, one might find few glitches in it related with Shahid's Pakistani training camp days and his escape from there, shown in just a few scenes. Moreover Kay Kay simply vanishing from the story progression to never return later may also tease many (like myself). But these few points are not solid enough to bring down the excellence achieved by the team in its overall depiction and thus need to be ignored to attain a bigger and much important social objective as desired.
Personally, more than the film, it is the message, the purpose and the mission of the man named SHAHID, which forces me to include it in my must see movies list right away, particularly for the Indian viewers, who are facing this religious clash everyday like an inseparable issue of our multi-cultured society.
Specifically talking about the unsung hero of many victim families from the minority, SHAHID is an important document bringing to us an iconic name of our social system, not known to majority of people living in the other parts of the country. And the reason for this shameful mass ignorance ironically lays in the way our media works, which actually holds back the positive news for their obvious reasons and always spreads the negative word around in a much stronger and deliberate manner to gain some instant attention. Probably that is the reason why we very well know about the men who made important arrests at those crucial times of crisis but don't really know about the man who got many innocents out of the jail after few years, rightly fighting the court of law with his own sincere efforts.
For instance, be it Mumbai, Kashmir, Punjab, Gujarat, Assam or any other region of our country, we always get to hear and read the news of suspected terrorists arrested from anywhere and it's at once all over the media as their main focus. But whenever the same court serves justice making those 'framed people' free after having proved innocent, very seldom we get to hear about them on the channels or respectfully mentioned in the headlines on the first page. The poor coverage of such cases, don't let us know about many courageous and human right activists like SHAHID AZMI and therefore the film presented on his life is indeed a very vital and major contribution made by Hansal Mehta and his team to Indian Cinema as well to Indian social system, embracing diverse religious beliefs since centuries. Practicing as the lawyer for such special framed cases, Shahid had an astonishing record of getting 17 acquittals from the court in his short career span of only seven years. And even thinking about those 17 families greeting their wrongly framed members back in home is enough to make you realize the relevance & importance of this historical achievement made by the makers of SHAHID.
So if you are willing to see a rare kind of alarming as well as enlightening biographical film made on a true fighter who always fought for others in his forcibly shortened life of only 32 years, then do watch SHAHID as a must and celebrate this new triumph of Indian cinema made for a cause.