Cast: Raj Kumar Yadav, Kay Kay Menon, Mohammad Zeeshan, Prabhleen Sandhu, Shalini Vatsa
Director: Hansal Mehta
Rating : ****
What’s it about
“Der lagegi, par kaam ho jayega”, says Shahid. Defending an innocent victim of religious prejudice in the court of law, he unflinchingly offers, his friend who has been wrongly convicted in a case of terror attack, these words of solace. But this isn’t where the chapters of this beautifully written and superbly directed film begin. Based on the real life story of a lawyer who pays the price of his life for protecting the helpless and fighting communal injustice, Shahid is made with love and passion.
While the media covers every terrorist strike and probes all angles, often the collateral damage are those who are imprisoned simply because their last name or facial features indicate that they are part of a certain community. The film takes up the cause of these unfortunate victims who even after being proven not guilty spend most of their lives under the shadow of social ostracism.
Raj Kumar Yadav has time and again proved how meticulously he takes to his characters. Give him any genre or role, he takes to it like a chameleon camouflaging in a lush landscape. Shahid works largely because of his ability to become this person and eat sleep and breathe his life. Despite the heaviness of the subtext, there are fleeting moment s of joy and romance in the form of Prabhleen Sandhu who plays his love interest. Hansal Mehta takes us into the living room of a Muslim household, showing us subtle and at times stark glimpses of how they live their lives. Their interaction with one another, understanding of what’s happening around them, or even the simple tradition of wearing a burqua, all of these flashes put together a beautiful canvass. Performances are exemplary with a remarkable supporting cast of Mohammad Zeeshan who plays Shahid’s helpless brother and the fiery public prosecutor Shalini Vatsa who shall go down in movie history as the most authentic portrayal of a lawyer!
The first half has a few hiccups. Scenes of Kay Kay Menon and Yadav in jail get lengthy when not required.
What to do
Shahid shakes you from within compelling you to think, something not many films can boast of doing these days. A compulsory watch for anyone who relishes intelligent cinema.