wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

quick review:

Hansal Mehta’s latest film Shahid, based on the life of slain defense lawyer Shahid Azmi, is a powerful story about a man who stood up for what he believed in and paid the price for it. Powered by the belief of the director and a convincing cast that manages to suck you in, the film is the kind that will stay with you long after the lights turn back on.

Read more
Director: Hansal Mehta
Running time: 126 minutes
Categories: Festival Diary, MAMI 2012
More Movie Info

If I had to pick one Hindi film this year that shows the largest heart, that truly symbolizes the victory of sheer passion towards cinema and storytelling, then it would have to be Hansal Mehta’s comeback film after a hiatus, the touching and eye-opening Shahid. The film traces the real life story of criminal lawyer Shahid Azmi, who was murdered for his defense of a Muslim man accused of being an accomplice in 26/11.

Shahid’s story begins when, as a youth living in Govandi (an eastern suburb in Mumbai) and traumatized by the Bombay riots of 1993, he flees to a jihadi camp for ‘training’. The conflict between his own interpretation of Islam and that of the ‘trainers’ at the camp forces him to come back to Bombay, albeit into the arms of the police. Then begins his journey on the path of justice, something that he believes in till the very end.

Shahid Azmi’s story was clearly bursting to be told; a man who decided to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves; a man who paid the price of justice with his life. I’m glad that it was Hansal Mehta who was destined to bring his story back into public consciousness. After the interesting Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar and the truly underrated Chhal, a slew of highly forgettable films made a promising career head southwards. With Shahid, hopefully that career will head towards where it should.

While the film’s biggest strength undoubtedly is the story of the Shahid himself, what really makes the cinematic version of it memorable is the cast of the film. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Shahid’s older brother is excellent. He is the actor who played the role of Manu Sharma in the recent screen adaptation of Jessica Lal’s story. Anyone who loathed him then (because he was so good in the negative role) is bound to have a change of heart after this film. Prabhleen Sandhu as Shahid’s wife Mariam has a pleasing presence. Kay Kay Menon in a small, but significant cameo is an absolute delight to watch. One really misses this incredible actor. Tigmanshu Dhulia and Vipin Sharma in small roles are terrific, as are the rest of the supporting cast.

But the film ultimately belongs to Raj Kumar Yadav, the man who plays the title role. He invests himself into the character with such aplomb that one can easily feel his helplessness, his confusion, his ambition, his purpose and the rough edges that the character has. With every single performance of his, Raj Kumar underlines the fact that he is one of the most talented and dynamic young actors India has today. Hopefully, filmmakers will be able to channel his talent and challenge him with even more complex roles.

Strictly as a film, Shahid isn’t without its flaws. With budget and financial viability being perhaps the foremost reasons, the film suffers from technical and production-related problems. Right from issues like DSLR footage not blending in with the rest of the film, production value not being up to the standard that a film like this should ideally have had, to the fact that even though the film tracks nearly two decades of Shahid’s life, he doesn’t visually age at all – these problems stick out like thorns in the intense experience that the film otherwise is.

Also, the film could and should have been crisper. Often, a lot of time is spent highlighting Shahid’s character traits, especially right at the start of the film and then later in the film. I’m not sure if this has some connection to the fact that the editor of the film, Apurva Asrani, is also one of the screenplay writers. Either way, shortening the film could possibly have strengthened its impact.

Still, it isn’t often that the conviction and passion of the director and his team shines through in a film that clearly faced a number of obstacles in its making. Just for that, Shahid is a film that deserves to be seen on the big screen.

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at

32 reviewers(?) - 32 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Anna MM Vetticad , annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...Shahid is an uncomfortable film, holding up a mirror to us and showing us what we’ve reduced our world to. This cautionary tale is a tale of hope though – and that’s what makes it lovely.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K. Jha, Apun Ka Choice : ..."Shahid" is a must-see film with an absolutely impeccable subtext that can be read as an urgent warning against the politics of isolation practiced by many political parties.... full review

Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...And in case you wish to know more about The Man before making a decision then do read this article at the link given below and then go for it at the earliest!... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...SHAHID is a brave film. Its gripping story, exceptional execution and bravura performances continue to reverberate much after the screening is over. Strongly recommended!... full review

Thumbs up, by Khalid Mohamed, Deccan Chronicle : ...And in the process, he resurrects the life of a man of courage. Shahid will not be forgotten. Catch the film right now.... full review

Thumbs up, by aneela.zeb.b, Desi Martini : ...- A Must Watch ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rony D'costa, Desi Martini : ... Shahid is a very important film that is much needed in drastic times of south Indian remakes that has inflicted Hindi cinema.... full review

Thumbs up, by Inspector VIjay, Desi Martini : ...One of the best films this year that must be watched ... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhil Arora, Desi Martini : ...Shahid is a brilliant film with a searing performance by Raj Kumar ... full review

Thumbs up, by Tushar Joshi, DNA : ...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... full review

Thumbs up, by Mihir Fadnavis, FirstPost : ...An entertaining movie about an under-appreciated man... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, : ...Prabhleen Sandhu too gives off a terrific performance, beauty with brains! Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub who acts as Shahid's elder brother and Baljinder Kaur (his mother) along with the assorted cast, cast a spell, in their own individual way without taking anything away from the performance of the other. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Anupama Chopra, Hindustan Times : ...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. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...The film itself is brave and unflinching, and oozes the kind of sincerity that you long for in most Hindi films... full review

Thumbs up, by Mridula Roy, : ...The film itself is brave and unflinching, and oozes the kind of sincerity that you long for in most Hindi films... full review

Thumbs up, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Shahid stops short of hero worship and is a fitting tribute to an inspiring figure.... full review

Thumbs up, by Faheem Ruhani, india today : ... An honest film made on a difficult subject like this is rare to find... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Shahid' is gritty, wrenching and powerful. It needed to have been made... full review

Thumbs up, by Mohar Basu, koimoi : ... I would strongly recommend you to watch Hansal Mehta’s Shahid.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...the performances of Sandhu, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Baljinder Kaur are efficient and convincing. At the centre is actor Kumar’s perfectly pitched lead performance... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubha Shetty-Saha, MiD DAY : ...Watch this movie if you have the appetite and sense to digest certain gritty, uncomfortable realities. Not often do we get the opportunity to watch a relevant movie that depicts the times we live in, with unblinking directness.... full review

Thumbs up, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...A must watch!... full review

Thumbs up, by Aakash Barvalia, MoviezADDA : ...Shahid is a fitting tribute to the late human activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi, and a worth watching to the cinemagoers who craves for some good cinematic biographical experience... full review

Thumbs up, by Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror : ...DirectorHansal Mehta has done a remarkable job chronicling the true tale of slain advocate Shahid Azmi and bringing it to the mainstream... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...The fact that Shahid has got to a multiplex near you should also be applauded and made the most of. Go and watch the film – it is one of the most important films to come out of Mumbai in a long, long time. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Mansha Rastogi, Now : ...Filmmaker Hansal Mehta makes such a stark biopic as Shahid with aplomb and ample conviction which translates well into the film. Shahid is not just gritty and gripping but also a highly inspirational and emotionally stirring. One of the must watch films of the year.... full review

Thumbs up, by Namrata Joshi, Outlook India : ...Portrays the psyche of the Indian Muslim in the changing, increasingly polarised India with war­mth and simplicity ... full review

Thumbs up, by Prasanna D Zore, Rediff : ...Shahid, after all, is the story of every Indian citizen who gets overwhelmed by their own circumstances, go astray and yet come back to do what their conscience asks them to do.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...Shahid salutes the man who walked a unique path, almost as if he were destined. Powerful, engaging and thought-provoking, the film does full justice to the man and his extraordinary life. Watch! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Roshmila Bhattacharya, Star Blockbuster : ... Shahid Azmi was all soul and substance… So is Hansal Mehta’s film on him! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Madhureeta Mukherjee, Times of India : ...You might not like this film if gritty, real-life dramas are not your idea of entertaining cinema... full review

Thumbs up, by rajesh, Upper Stall : is an important story to tell and Mehta does a service to the populace by bringing it in the mainstream. ... full review

69 tweeters(?) - 68 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

YashVyas99: Hands down, respect to my mama for making #Shahid. I'm off to the cinema for the 6th time.

vishakhasingh55: #Shahid gets a unanimous #ThumbsUp !! Truly well deserved!

Vimarshmunsif19: #Shahid deserves all d accolades..picture perfect..sheer reality..such movies need to be considered for Oscars & applauded..small 1s r best

varunvarghese: Also, every performance in the film is a standout be it even for a few minutes and Rajkumar Yadav , Bravo! #Shahid @utvfilms

UnknownRtist: #Shahid Amar Rahe...

Tutejajoginder: R...Rajkumar is seeing some hype building for it on a gradual manner. The film would undoubtedly be Shahid Kapoor's biggest opener till date

TimesofBullshit: Go and watch 'Shahid'. For your Sunday morning kick-in-the-gut. Bravo @mehtahansal for having the courage to tell this story.

tikulli: Two must watch movies #Shahid and #Gravity

theonlysmartass: Shahid - Reality! On so many levels... - Saw Shahid yesterday. Its a really really good movie… The crux,  as...

SuthirthaGhosh1: Thank u Hansal Mehta for giving us #Shahid , bollywood need it very much , it's one of the best film of the year !

SushanSushant: Congrats Raj Kumar, Akash Sinha, Hansal Mehta, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub for the awesome film Shahid....

suhailkk: "Shahid" -Dont miss this newly released film... #Shahid - He must b the role model 4 all justic loving youth of...

subhashish_sap2: Saw #Shahid good movie . #rajkumaryadav is of the same league as #irrfan or #nawazuddn . Shows a diff side . Great acting by every1

StorytellerAman: Not every film aims at showing mirror to the society, #Shahid has, and has done it well.

SomyaSaxena: #Shahid is a brave film. RajKumar Yadav gives another power performance! Very convincing

siddharthbharti: What a movie !!! Shahid

shrootishenoy: But, but, but, #Shahid! WHAT A MOVIE!

SanketMinion: A really good movie #Shahid

samee5892: plz watch movie SHAHID

RuchiToshniwal: #Shahid good movie and so was #Gravity

ritesh404: Shahid is a must watch movie. it gives you insight, of which we didn ever get any sight of it.Raj kumar yadav in d role of Shahid is cmndbl

pragatiwari: #Shahid .. Such a brilliant peice of work.. #recommended

PrabhleenSandhu: "@krnx: Don't wait for the review. Just watch SHAHID."

PoohBear_Goa: #SHAHID a winner from Hansal Mehta who makes it engaging,poignant yet entertaining.Inglorious chapter of an activist well portayed @utvfilms

path2shah: SHAHID- eye opener .All who criticised sushi kumar shinde on writing to state govts regarding arrests of innocent people should watch SHAHId

Nikhil4uJain: #Shahid Is a biopic that deserves all the accolades. Picture perfect. Sheer reality & amazing showcase of acting. Deserves a watch!

mohapatrapratik: Go watch Shahid if you like real, de-glamourized cinema and superlative performances.

MiVijay15: watched Shahid Yesterday !! One of the finest film of the year !! Fantastic performance by RajKumar !! A must watch film !!

mithilng: While the mumbai folks are busy diving in the pool of best of world cinema,I caught up with one of our indian best- #Shahid TY @mehtahansal

mehtahansal: Do watch #Shahid today!

MaybeUrWrong: This is what i call quality cinema.This is wat a muvi shud be.But then,it takes a lot of guts to make a muvi as strong as #Shahid @utvfilms

maqsoodmk: #Shahid I really got tears in my eyes. Minorities are really helpless. We need more lawyers like shahid azmi.

krutikapdi: A movie that reli left me speechless and dumbstruck... Shahid. Have tons to say but may be later when iI will be able to think.

KiranKumar_AAP: Shahid Azmi:"आप सियासत की लढाई केवल उसमें रहकर ही कर सकते हैं, उससे अलग रहकर नहीं !" #WearAAPCap Do not miss movie "Shahid".

khannaved0: if u really want 2 see real movie go watch #shahid its show how mature our #bolyywood these days thanks @utvfilms 2 bring us ds movie..

Khadu92_: Watch #Shahid! Such brilliance is a rare sight in #bollywood!

jenaanindya: It seems Rajkumar Yadav will sweep all the awards #BestActor #CriticsChoice #Shahid

jaanidushman: #shahid film = most excellent and inspirational

ishahbaazk: Finally a year long wait has ended and I got to watch the movie "SHAHID" This film is a winner all the way,...

IBODatabase: #shahid is fascinating, riveting and a carefully branched film. It's inspiring ...The cruel part is that its a true story... Watch it today.

hits_sharma: #shahid ek behtareen movie with superb performances. Great performances..

fzlsammy: Terrorist? Lawyer ? or Saviour? Whoever he was but had the guts. #Shahid, is a must watch.

eeemajid: Gritty, gutsy, bold and brave. Go and watch #Shahid 4/5

dyf_rent: Go Shahid(witness)..@mehtahansal 's #Shahid its a piece of genuine secular work.

DocotrEvil: It's been a while since I watched a movie that had a lasting effect. Shahid a must watch

deyab29: What a movie #Shahid is!! Loved it

dedhpase: #Shahid - makes you appreciate the other side of the coin..

curentbollynews: #Shahid picked up well in all circuits.Must watch

chiragshah450: Shahid - a nice story put across in a brilliant manner

CheeseToast_: Goosebumps.. #shahid :)

burnytosif: Must watch the movie "Shahid"...........................

bookeeda: An advice. Go watch #Shahid . Thank me later.

BhatiaApurv: On a personal note , I loved Hansal Mehta s #Shahid ..leaves a lasting impression.. Raj Kumar was 'rock solid' .. 4* kinda.

BeingHash: Pheewwww thank god its fun day happy sunday to all and do not forget to shahid its aswm movie by RT @mehtahansal !!

BalaNanban: #MustWatch Rt"@vishakhasingh55: #Shahid gets a unanimous #ThumbsUp !! Truly well deserved!"

AzmiShabana: Shahid is a MUSTWATCH film. The actors director DOP producers take a bow! Heartened dat films like Lunchbox and Shahid are finding takers

azeem2112: Thank u for a story untold , thank u for making us believe in Indian cinema Rajkumar best actor of the year Thank u for shahid @mehtahansal

ashumishraswt: " SHAHID " must watch... with Muhammed Dhaiya

ashishraikar: #shahid is the best movie this year much better than #lunchbox and definitely better than #boss but.....#shahid a must see

Ashishonmap: Shahid was a memorable film. I would rate it way higher than Lunchbox which was the other much lauded film that I recently saw.

anyjain: #SHAHID : Hansal Mehta’s film on real-life slain lawyer Shahid Azmi is a masterpiece of fearless work.. A MUST RECOMMENDED MOVIE @utvfilms

annavetticad: Despite one grouse against #Shahid's Hindu-Muslim equation, I found it a lovely lovely film:

ankitbit73: #Shahid is a very important film . A story which needs to be told more regularly. Do watch it.

Anis_Husain: Yesterday watched shahid, excellent movie a must watch, court room never ever look so real in indian cinema.

AltamashHKhan: #SHAHID - A very neat and 'focusing only on facts' film by @mehtahansal. No 'one particular community is the victim' business. #TakeABow

abhifilmy: A brilliant philosophy behind #Shahid: “By subjecting me to injustice, the Lord taught me the importance of fairness.”

AawaraChora: And shahid have the best starting I have ever watched.

_yash_sharma: Another best in itttt.... @shahid_loverz @shahidkapoor

TrulyAditi: Also, saw #Shahid yesterday. Though a tad bit stretched in between, its a film which stands our for its simplicity.

2 readers - 2 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Fan

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Minuman Berenergi : Bethune

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A few riots scenes, murders, etc.
  • Language: Some expletives.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Partial male nudity in prison scenes.
  • Concept: A real life story of slain defense lawyer Shahid Azmi.
  • General Look and Feel: A grim colour tone and palette that goes with the theme of the film.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (4)

Click here for new comment

Abhay Shivgounda Patil

Would be good if you could also include the Censor certification (like A, U, A/U etc.) and USA rating (whenever applicable like PG13, NR etc.) in the specs.

@Abhay yeah, has been on my mind. Will add to To-do list. Would want to do it retrospectively, though.

Shahid is going to be good movie of this year.This film is based on a true story of a terrorist .


Watched this film recently when it was playing on TV. Nice film - as long as we consider it a work of fiction.

I take offence with statements like "who was murdered for his defense of a Muslim man accused of being an accomplice in 26/11". This was never proven, there was never enough evidence to prove this. Paradoxically, Shahid fought his life to liberate people against whom there was no evidence - and for his murder we want to come to a conclusion on the culprits without any evidence.

I also take offence to that because I cannot see why anybody would kill a lawyer of 26/11 accused. That was not a homegrown event - thus even though the emotions with 26/11 are high but not to that point that people want a "home grown" person or group to pay for it. So would seem bizarre that somebody would resort to murder of the lawyer defending a 26/11 accused other than Kasab.

Leave a Comment