Starring: Raj Kumar Yadav, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Baljinder Kaur, Prabhleen Sandhu, Tigmanshu Dhulia
Directed by Hansal Mehta
Shahid is a biographical film on a modern-day hero, the activist-lawyer of Mumbai, Shahid Azmi, who was killed while defending Mumbai bombing accused Fahim Ansari. The strength of Shahid is not just in bringing us face to face with heroism. It’s in how Mehta captures the psyche of the Indian Muslim in the changing, increasingly polarised India. Shahid’s lower-middle-class Muslim family, its highs and lows, togetherness and differences, are portrayed with warmth and simplicity. The film takes us through Shahid’s life-altering encounters with riots, jehadist camps and jail. He realises that only by facing these injustices can he learn to fight for justice, that he can change the system by becoming a part of it. So he studies law to defend those wrongfully accused as “anti-national”. Despite obvious lines like “this country doesn’t care about its minorities” and “ek qaum pis rahi hai”, Mehta’s film remains gentle in its approach. Shahid shows how right casting can enliven a film and introduces wonderful new talent. Like Prabhleen as Shahid’s fiery wife or Baljinder Kaur as his Ammi, Mukesh Chhabra as “momos-in-Nepal” witness. Each actor stands out. Be it Raj Kumar Yadav playing the lead role with dignity, or Shalini Vatsa’s fierce rival lawyer; be it Tigmanshu packing in a punch as Maqbool Memon or Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub as Shahid’s supportive brother who says a lot by just saying “mein thakk gaya hoon, kab sochoon apne baare mein”.