Shahid TIFF Review & Interview

Posted 11 years ago by myetvmedia

Directed by Hansal MehtaShahid was recently premiered at the 37thToronto International Film Festival. Hansal, who directed and written films: Dil Pe Mat Le Year!! (2000), Chhal 2002), Dus Kahanivaan (2007) and Woodstock Villa (2008) to name a few, speaks to myETVmedia about his career trajectory, his inspiration to make Shahid, and his rough journey with making the film.

The film tells the true story of the murder of  Shahid Azmi (Raj kumar Yadav) a former inmate turned human rights lawyer. Azmi’s family was terrorized by a murderous mob during the riots in Mumbai in 1993, and he was imprisoned for years, falsely accused of terrorism.

Shahid spent his time studying during his detention in prison and decides to become a lawyer in an effort to defend the human rights of poor and innocent Muslims, often wrongly accused of terrorism. He was gunned down while defending Fahim Ansari, accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, 11 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India’s largest city, by Islamist terrorists. Azmi was a defense lawyer in other high profile cases like the 7/11 train bombings, which also caused him to be a target of the underground.

Part thriller, part biography, part fiction, the film is a realistic, inspirational portrayal of an idealist who dies for the human rights cause and at the same time it is much more. It is a powerful picture of the Indian society with its predominant anti-Muslim boldness; it’s police, its injustice and inequality; the judiciary system, the government and the people.

Praise to Raj Kumar Yadav (Love, Sex and Dhokha) who is an absolute revelation, his performance is commendable. The cast is solid and shines in brief roles with Prabhleen Sandhu (as Mariam) and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub (as Arif).

Overall the film is a powerful exploration of mistrust, hatred and segregation. Freedom has different connotations for different people. The same laws are applied differently to different people. Human beings are now labeled by their color, caste and religion. To be honest, I am not a pro Bollywood fan but in the end “Shahid” won me over.

-Christophe Chanel




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