Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 18th October, 2013
Time : 129 minutes
Director : Hansal Mehta; Writer: Sameer Gautam Singh; Music : Alex Karan Kulkarni
Starring : Rajkumar Yadav, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Prabhleen Sandhu, Baljinder Kaur, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Kay Kay Menon, Vipin Sharma, Shalini Vatsa, Yusuf Husain, Pawan Kumar, Paritosh Sand, Yusuf Husain

Shahid tells the true tale of Shahid Azmi (played by Rajkumar), suspected terrorist, convict and later human rights lawyer and activitst, who’s life went through more twists and turns than most ordinary people do in a few lifetimes.

Whats unique here though is not just the story but the way its told and the issues raised

• When someone does something good or bad, there is no loud music accentuating the fact…it just happens, as in real life

• The family that Shahid belongs to is refreshingly ordinary – no histrionics, a mom who finds his choices tough, and a brother, Ayyub, who is a bit tired of bearing the financial burden of the entire family

• The romance between Rajkumar and Prabhleen is so simple – right upto the proposal in the coffee shop – that its almost funny, unintentionally

• The distance between Rajkumar and the jihadis is never too far. Even in prison, there is an attempt to re-enlist him but luckily Kay Kay and a professor, Yusuf Husain, save him and show him the path towards education

• However, the tag of a terrorist, is not an easy one to shed – leave aside, the innocent people he is trying to save later, even Rajkumar is not spared at times

• I’m not sure at all about the logic and validity of a non-time bound TADA, the whole myth of National Security - as events around the world have shown, it has inverted the whole philosophy of the legal system, one where we are content to let lots of innocent people suffer, as long as we catch a few bad guys in the process. And as pointed out earlier, the tag of a terrorist can stay with you for life, even after you’re found innocent

• There have been enough films on corruption, sadistic cops, the unfair system – this touches upon the same issues yet shows another way out

• Being a lawyer isn’t easy…the bread and butter seems to come from defending the guilty…with only a little time spared, if so inclined, to try and fight against injustice

• Regardless of how ‘liberated’ we are, somehow, there is a tendency to lapse into a hardline religious position when it comes to our parents…the burqua incident was quite telling that way

• Another topic, one close to my heart and one that the director of the film, Hansal Mehta has also personally been through, is the unchecked rise of the radicals in our country…splinter political groups, usually funded or encouraged by the larger mainline political parties, founded on pure muscle, with the sole objective of creating disturbances on minor moral issues to thrust themselves into the limelight (aided and abetted by our non-discerning news channels). These groups, more than anyone else, are responsible for the stifling of Freedom of Speech in our country. There exist enough evidence of hate speeches, hooliganism to put them away behind bars, yet the state machinery looks the other way. And unfortunately, people who are killed or beaten up by these idiots can never get any form of justice

The tone of the entire film is somber, grim…just a few flashes of humour, with most of the movie being shot in dark or not too well lit interiors. I also found the lead character a bit na├»ve at times – with his intelligence, contacts surely he could’ve taken some of the threats against himself (especially for the sake of his family) a bit more seriously and actually done something ? Also, he seemed to disconnect from his brothers and mom a bit too easily. The acting was good uniformly, with Vipin Sharma and Shalini Vatsa as the two prosecutors standing out in their brief roles.

Its not an easy watch, not really a genre that I’m comfortable with…but am glad I watched it – a little dose of reality is a good thing in the otherwise escapist fantasy world of our Hindi films…


Anonymous said...

Thought provoking

Niranjan Actor said...

I have not viewed the movie but the poster is looking funny to me.