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Upperstall Review



Hindi, Drama, 2013, Color

Hansal Mehta's filmography can best be described as erratic, from the high of his debut with Dil Par Mat Le Yaar (one of the first films previewed by Upperstall) to the lows with films like Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai. However, he proves his mettle with Shahid, which is easily not just his best film, but also one of the finest of the year.

Shahid is a biopic on the life of lawyer Shahid Azmi, who was assassinated for his work defending falsely accused Muslims. It is a heart-rending tale that spans many years and Mehta wonderfully brings together snippets of his personal and professional life and in the process forming a cohesive, dramatic narrative that has you in rapt attention for most part. Above all, it is an important story to tell and Mehta does a service to the populace by bringing it in the mainstream.

The writing is malleable: sharp in the courtroom scenes and tender in his interaction with family. Every character speaks reams of backstory without exposition. Particularly outstanding are Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub (who plays the brother), Prabhleen Sandhu (lover), and Vipin Sharma (state prosecutor). Of course, this is a career-defining performance by Rajkumar Yadav who pulls all stops to deliver a mature, perfectly-graphed performance.

That Shahid is made on a very limited budget is never obvious. On every occasion it seems Mehta gets the ideal locations, takes, and performances he's after. More proof that it's not about the budget and stars, but about a story, performers, and above all,a filmmaker's conviction.

Upperstall review by: rajesh

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