When director Hansal Mehta and actor Raj Kumar came to the HT city office, we had a pretty candid chat with the duo. The two engaged everyone in a serious discussion on the film Shahid, and at the same time, entertained all with their funny one-liners.
Talking about why he chose the Human Rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi’s gunning as the subject, Mehta explained, “I found his story reflecting my angst, concerns and
dissatisfaction with my city, Mumbai, as well as the world we all live in. Shahid (the movie) is a very optimistic story. It is about us, the underdogs, who rise above circumstances.”
But wasn’t he scared that the same people who attacked Azmi might cause him harm? “I am used to my wife shouting at me all the time. No one can cause greater harm to me than my wife,” he joked.
Like most of us, Raj Kumar had only heard about the gunning of the lawyer. But when he heard the lawyer’s life story, Raj Kumar “was quite moved and inspired”. All the efforts of the team were duly recognised at various international film fests and by critics alike. However, it was the feedback from late lawyer’s family that validated their sincerity. “When his family said my portrayal of Shahid was quite close to Azmi, we were happy our honest efforts weren’t in vain,” said Mehta.
And Raj Kumar was elated when he got a call from actor Aamir Khan praising him for the film. But there are some family members who aren’t very happy. Raj Kumar’s nieces! “Both my niece haven’t been able to watch any of my films (because of A certificate). I hope there’s a way I can make them watch my films. They won’t be able to watch Shahid either,” laughed Raj Kumar.