Shahid (film)

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Shahid Poster (2013).jpg
Directed by Hansal Mehta
Produced by Anurag Kashyap
Sunil Bohra
Ronnie Screwvala
Siddharth Roy Kapur
Alok Arbind Thakur]
Written by Sameer Gautam Singh
Based on Shahid Azmi
Starring Rajkumar Rao
Tigmanshu Dhulia
K K Menon
Prabhleen Sandhu
Prabal Panjabi
Music by Karan Kulkarni
Cinematography Anuj Dhawan
Edited by Apurva Asrani
Distributed by UTV Motion Pictures
Release date
  • 6 September 2012 (2012-09-06) (Toronto)
  • 18 October 2013 (2013-10-18) (India)
Running time
123 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 63.5 million (equivalent to 92 million or US$1.4 million in 2016)[1]
Box office 400 million (equivalent to 580 million or US$9.0 million in 2016) (Worldwide)[2]

Shahid is a 2013 Indian Hindi biographical film directed by Hansal Mehta and produced by Anurag Kashyap. It is based on the life of lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi, who was assassinated in 2010 in Mumbai.[3][4]

The film had its world premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival's 'City to City' programme in September 2012.[5][6][7] Shahid was selected for distribution by UTV Motion Pictures and released on 18 October 2013.[8] It received positive reviews from critics, and considering its budget the film had commercial success at the box office. It won the National Film Award for Best Actor and Best Director at the 61st National Film Awards ceremony.

The real life Shahid Azmi had defended the 2004 film Black Friday in the courts while it was languishing with the censor board for its controversial content. Anurag Kashyap, the director of Black Friday, went on to co-produce Shahid.[9]


The film opens with murder of Shahid Azmi (Rajkummar Rao) and goes into flashback to the violence during the Bombay Riots. There Shahid witnesses cold-blooded murders and in anger runs away to Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where he spends a brief period at a militant training camp. He soon returns. In Mumbai, he is arrested under the TADA, for an alleged conspiracy to assassinate some politicians. He is brutally tortured by police and forced to admit to the crime, after which he spends seven years at Tihar Jail in New Delhi. During his incarceration at Tihar Jail, Omar Sheikh (Prabal Panjabi) tries to brainwash him. But another inmate War Saab (K K Menon) inspires him to start his college education. Once he is acquitted of the charges, he goes ahead to study law in Mumbai.

After receiving his law degree, Shahid works with lawyer Maqbool Memon (Tigmanshu Dhulia) for few months, before starting his career as an independent lawyer with the financial support of his elder brother Arif (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub). During this process he meets Mariam (Prabhleen Sandhu), a Muslim divorcee, and marries her. Shahid soon starts picking up cases of Muslims charged under the POTA. He fights many cases pro bono in consultation with NGOs. Shahid gets his first major success as a defense lawyer when Arif Paanwala, who has been arrested under POTA in 2002 Mumbai bus bombing, is acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Shahid then represents the accused in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings, the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul, and the 2006 Malegaon bombings case. He is criticized for supporting terrorists and starts getting threatening calls that disturb his family life. On one occasion, Shahid's face is blackened by assailants outside the court room. While defending Faheem Ansari in the 2008 Mumbai attacks case, he gets shot by two gunmen in his office and dies on the spot. Later, Ansari is shown to be acquitted of all charges by the Supreme Court of India due to lack of evidence.

In a post-credits scene, Shahid's journey to the training camp is shown. It is edited out of the final cut to make the story tighter.




After making Woodstock Villa in 2008, Mehta, aiming to make a film on terrorism, had a brief meeting with Shahid Azmi in 2008. After Azmi was assassinated in 2010, Mehta changed the theme and decided to make a biopic. It took almost two years and several drafts of scripting with Writer Sameer Gautam Singh before film went on the floor.[5]

In his seven-year career as human rights lawyer, Shahid Azmi won 17 acquittals. The script focuses on his two cases: the 2006 Mumbai train bombings and the 2008 Mumbai attacks for dramatic effect. Azmi was eventually shot dead in his Mumbai office in February 2010 at age 32.[10]

The scene in which Azmi's face is blackened by assailants outside a courtroom was a re-enactment of an incident from Mehta's own life. In 2000, he was attacked by Shiv Sena members and his office vandalised, after the film Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar!! (Don't take it to heart), which dealt with the issue of migrants in Mumbai.[10]


It was made on a low budget and shot in complete secrecy.[10] Scenes were shot in Azmi's office and colony at Kurla locality of Mumbai, where his neighbour allowed the crew to shoot at their home, without charge. Shahid was also shot in Nagpada, where Faheem Ansari's wife Yasmin lives.[5]


Shahid made its theatrical release on 18 October 2013. The film was made on a budget of approximately Rs 8 million and was released in nearly 400+ screens worldwide.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Shahid was well received by Indian and international critics.

Mohammad Kamran Jawaid, senior film critic for Dawn, gave the film a positive review writing that the two-hour time constraints "means there's little room for the traditional expansion we get from biopics, and if at times "Shahid" feels like an expanded best-of Mr. Azmi's life, it’s because it is". Jawaid ends by "(wondering) if Mr. Mehta would be able to tell "Shahid" in a better way than what it is right now; it may not be "Best Picture" worthy – but I doubt if many of the films in every year's nomination are".[12]

Madhureeta Mukherjee of The Times of India gave 3.5 out of 5 and stated that the film is brutally honest, brave and above all a fascinating humane story.[13] India Today gave 4.5 out of 5 and stated that the director has put in his best and has managed to touch the right chord with the viewer.[14] gave 4 out of 5 and stated that Shahid is a must-see film with an absolutely impeccable sub text that can be read as an urgent warning against the politics of isolation practiced by many political parties.[15]

Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times gave 3.5 out of 5 stating "Shahid is Raj Kumar’s triumph. His Shahid has strength, anguish and a controlled anger, but also real charm. His smile lights up the frame. See Shahid for him."[16]

Box office[edit]

The film opened to low occupancy of around 25%-40% on its first day. It had a collection of 20.5 million[17] in the first weekend. Shahid had a first week collection of around 26.5 million at the box office.[18] The film's final worldwide gross was accounted at 400 million at the box office. Considering its budget and its final collection, the film was declared a 'Hit' at the box office.[11]



  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ "26/11 accused Fahim Ansari's lawyer Shahid Azmi shot dead". The Times of India. 11 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Ajit Sahi (27 February 2010). "A Grain In My Empty Bowl: A crusader for justice is silenced. Actually not ..". Tehelka, Vol 7, Issue 08. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c "The 'unlikely' lawyer as an unlikely hero". Indian Express. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Anurag Kashyap's film at Toronto Film Festival". MiD DAY. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Shahid". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Against the Tide". TheHindu. 7 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c "Film remembers Indian lawyer Shahid Azmi as symbol of hope". BBC. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ Mohammad Kamran, Jawaid. "Movie Review: Shahid". Dawn. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Shahid - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b "61st National Film Awards For 2013" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  21. ^

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