Hansal Mehta’s Shahid (2013) Movie Review

Movie: Shahid
Cast: Raj Kumar Yadav, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Prabhleen Sandhu, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Baljinder Kaur, Vinod Rawat, Vipin Sharma, Shalini Vatsa, Paritosh Sand, Mukesh Chhabra, Pawan Kumar, Vivek Ghamande
Runtime: 129 Minutes
Censor Certificate: A
Music Director: Karan Kulkarni
Director: Hansal Mehta

After films like Jayate, Dil Pe Maat Le Yaar, Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai & Woodstock Villa Hansal Mehta is back with a biopic Shahid, tells the story of slain human rights activist Shahid Azmi, who was killed in 2010 by unidentified assailers in his office. Movie was part of Mumbai Film Festival last year, from then has been generating a lot of buzz.

“By showing me injustice, he taught me to love justice” – Shahid Azmi

Movie tells the true story of the murder of Shahid Azmi (Raj kumar Yadav) a former convict 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 cases of the poor, and after the Mumbai bombings, defended men who he was convinced were falsely accused of being murderous fanatics. His refusal to back down from such representation eventually led to his murder.

The problem is that it goes in a very narrowdirection and you just won’t feel like you got to know Shahid Azmi who this movie is based on. There is crime / drama but it just seem to lack the engrossing emotion to drive this movie forward. The intentions are good but it just seemed lacking in the moving department. And in the meantime there is a lot of bad things happening in India but it didn’t seem to delve enough into that issue to be inspiring.

It becomes so formulaic and narrow to the point it loses it flare. The first half of this movie is so dull to the point it becomes boring. It would have been more attention grabbing if it had better development to show how Shahid found his inspiration/how did he end up being a terrorist. But it doesn’t and it felt like a man just going from point 1 to 2 to 3. In fact the problem was that the movie just seemed to be a bit too forced at times. It does have its key moments though and during the scenes where Shahid defenceshis client on 26/11 bombing case stand out and will probably make you think, even if you thought about the issue at hand.

“Maarta bhi Insaan hai aur Martha bhi Insaan!!” – Shahid Azmi

The longer the film got on, the more I got involved. It’s not easy watching a man’s struggle for a right cause but it sure is worth it. Raj Kumar Yadav’s performance as Shahid is great to watch and he was able to make me root for the character. Md Zeeshan Ayyub received a lot of praise for his role in Raanjhanna, and in this film he`s good although he doesn’t have much screen time. Prabhleen Sandhu delivers a strong dramatic role. Vipin Sharma and Shalini Vatsa are good as defence lawyers. Raj Kumar had a nice cast to support him as he led the film in a proper direction. Music by Karan Kulkarni is average. Background Score suits the plot. Cinematography by Anuj is fair. Editing did leave a bit to be desired.

Shahid is a movie you don’t wanna miss if you like the biopic genre films. The movie starts with a bit lousy phase and progresses nicely towards the end. It would have been better if it was a more effective film that pulls at the heartstringsof the audiences with more fleshed out and developed characters and direction. On the whole, Shahid is a film with noble intentions, and while it is usually engaging, it never feels deep enough to reach its full potential.

Shahid opens this Friday, lookout for it.

Survi Review: 3/5

Theatrical Trailer:

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