Saturday, October 19, 2013

Shahid (2013) - Review

This review was first published on Times City.

Starring: Raj Kumar Yadav, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vipin Sharma, Kay Kay Menon, Prabhleen Sandhu
Director: Hansal Mehta
Producer: Anurag Kashyap, Sunil Bohra, Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Shailesh R Singh
Release Date: October 18, 2013

Shahid takes from the true story of human rights lawyer Shahid Azmi, who fought for one of the accused in the 2008 Mumbai blasts, and similar cases in a span of seven years.

The docu-drama unfearingly questions, besides other significant thought-provoking issues, the sour reality of our legal system, our judiciary and rightly so. [It resonated more with me for someone who's very close to me is living this reality everyday (though not as severely)]. At no point does the tone of the film get haranguing to create a certain effect. There's no filmic dialoguebaazi. It's raw, uncut, unrehearsed. And that tone is held almost throughout, particularly in the courtroom scenes. It's as if the characters are performing to a hidden camera. Their conversations and arguments are real. Minimal resort to music further lends it a very uncinematic, undramatic finish.

Hansal Mehta's Shahid is laudable not only because it's a gutsy attempt to present facts in an unaffected manner but also because its well made. At 120-minute runtime, the film keeps you riveted and entertained, while at no point compromising with its style of storytelling.

All actors are perfectly cast. Tigmanshu Dhulia, Kay Kay Menon, Shalini Vatsa stand out in their brief roles. Rajkumar Yadav playing Shahid, leaves a mark yet again as a firebrand lawyer, after his performance in Kai Po Che. The sincerity with which he approaches his role and the naturalness he brings to it is to watch out for.

A minor slip-up: The first guy Shahid is defending serves two and a half years in jail, as declared at the time of his acquittal. But when the defendant comes out of the court, he's mobbed by the media which says, "you've been in jail for 15 months." Did anyone notice that?

Overall, Shahid is not the kind of film rountinely made in hindi cinema. Don't miss it!

I'm waiting to hear from those of you who have seen it. Your thoughts on the film? Let's talk in the comments below.