This Article is From Oct 16, 2013

I had no apprehension in doing a biopic, says Shahid director

 I had no apprehension in doing a biopic, says Shahid director

A poster from the movie Shahid

Highlights

  • Biopic is a territory where very few Bollywood filmmakers want to tread, but Hansal Mehta was not apprehensive to take on the real-life story of slain human rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi even though people dissuaded him.
  • Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Sunil Bohra and UTV, Shahid tells the story of Azmi's "death and life in that order". After travelling to some 14 international film festivals, the film hits theatres in India this Friday.
  • "I never had any apprehension while approaching or helming this project, though there were people who tried to dissuade me from the subject. The news of his murder sparked my interest and we started researching about him only three months after his death," Mehta told PTI in an interview.
  • Mehta is happy to see biopics doing well at the box office as he believes life-stories are the new literature in cinema. The director agreed that political biopics may face difficulties in India but recent projects may indicate a revival of the genre.
  • "Biopics have always been made in India. Even 1990 Ek Doctor ki Maut was one. Biopics are today's literature and Paan Singh Tomar and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are two recent examples of what they can do. It's always about demand and supply. The audience is waiting for good storytelling but we must also supply them the same," Mehta said.
  • Shahid, starring Rajkumar Yadav of Kai Po Che fame in the lead role, marks Mehta's return to moviemaking after 2008 Woodstock Villa.
  • The director, whose previous films include Jayate, Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar and Chhal and Ye Kya Ho Raha Hai, says the one thing that he has learned from his career is that to make films "fearlessly".
  • "I chose the film as Shahid's life offered a lot of optimism, which one doesn't find in a terror story... Real life or shadow biopic I have to make my film fearlessly," Mehta said.
  • Shahid's brother Khalid has called the portrayal of his elder sibling on screen almost 95 per cent accurate and the director takes it as a big compliment.
  • "I take it as a big compliment but I can't quantify. We have been very faithful to the research and the story of his mission. In the film we did not want to dwell on his death but his life," Mehta said.
  • Yadav, on his part, found the story "emotionally very draining".
  • "We received support from Shahid's friends, family and acquaintances and we had to deal with the issue with great sensitivity. But Rajkumar has essayed the role with due diligence. You can actually see his body language change as the story progresses," Mehta said.
  • The director said he found Shahid's family and friends very objective in recalling his "character and personality". "The film is not about Shahid per se but his life and others lives that he intersected. But, you can't understand someone's life without understanding his character, his thinking, his personality. And, that is what Rajkumar did," he said.
New Delhi: Biopic is a territory where veryfew Bollywood filmmakers want to tread, but Hansal Mehta wasnot apprehensive to take on the real-life story of slain humanrights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi even though peopledissuaded him.

Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Sunil Bohra and UTV, Shahidtells the story of Azmi's "death and life in that order".After travelling to some 14 international film festivals, thefilm hits theatres in India this Friday.

"I never had any apprehension while approaching or helmingthis project, though there were people who tried to dissuademe from the subject. The news of his murder sparked myinterest and we started researching about him only threemonths after his death," Mehta told PTI in an interview.

Mehta is happy to see biopics doing well at the box officeas he believes life-stories are the new literature in cinema.The director agreed that political biopics may facedifficulties in India but recent projects may indicate arevival of the genre.

"Biopics have always been made in India. Even 1990 EkDoctor ki Maut was one. Biopics are today's literature andPaan Singh Tomar and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are two recentexamples of what they can do. It's always about demand andsupply. The audience is waiting for good storytelling but wemust also supply them the same," Mehta said.

Shahid, starring Rajkumar Yadav of Kai Po Che fame inthe lead role, marks Mehta's return to moviemaking after 2008Woodstock Villa.

The director, whose previous films include Jayate, DilPe Mat Le Yaar and Chhal and Ye Kya Ho Raha Hai, says theone thing that he has learned from his career is that to makefilms "fearlessly".

"I chose the film as Shahid's life offered a lot ofoptimism, which one doesn't find in a terror story... Reallife or shadow biopic I have to make my film fearlessly,"Mehta said.

Shahid's brother Khalid has called the portrayal of hiselder sibling on screen almost 95 per cent accurate and thedirector takes it as a big compliment.

"I take it as a big compliment but I can't quantify. Wehave been very faithful to the research and the story of hismission. In the film we did not want to dwell on his death buthis life," Mehta said.

Yadav, on his part, found the story "emotionally verydraining".

"We received support from Shahid's friends, family andacquaintances and we had to deal with the issue with greatsensitivity. But Rajkumar has essayed the role with duediligence. You can actually see his body language change asthe story progresses," Mehta said.

The director said he found Shahid's family and friendsvery objective in recalling his "character and personality"."The film is not about Shahid per se but his life andothers lives that he intersected. But, you can't understandsomeone's life without understanding his character, histhinking, his personality. And, that is what Rajkumar did," hesaid.