Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hard-Hitting, Powerful Movie

SHAHID (2012)

Produced By: Bohra Bros, Anurag Kashyap and others
Director: Hansal Mehta
Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Prabhleen Sandhu, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Baljinder Kaur and others
Pros: Excellent acting, powerful story and narrative, no misplaced song-and-dance sequences
Cons: Poor start
Rating: ***** of 5 (5 of 5)

In the glitzy world of Bollywood, it is difficult to find a movie with a real story and even more difficult to find one that is also told well. It is for this reason that Shahid came as a whiff of fresh air in the filthy stench of formulaic films. Based on the true story of a would be jihadi turned celebrated human rights lawyer, it is a hard-hitting story that bring together two themes: the abject failure of India's colonial-style police system to protect the innocent and the dangers of a mob mentality entering the judiciary.

A lot of good things come together to make this movie so good, not least of which is the excellent story. But that's never enough - it takes good acting to make a good movie as well and here, Rajkummar Rao, the actor from the south who has become quite popular in Bollywood, makes his mark. There is something peculiar in the way he changes his facial expressions - it's not too subtle but it's not glaring at you either. Minor changes indicate a change in mood - whether that's natural or practiced, it makes for some excellent acting.

The only problem I could find with the movie is its slow and rather shocking start (I'm not a big fan of shocking your audience right in the start and then leaving them with that same though for 30 min before the story moves on). However, that is rather subjective. And on the topic of subjectivity, this movie does not have any silly song-and-dance sequences to bore you, which gets a huge thumbs up from me. Overall, one of the best movies yet from Bollywood, strongly recommended for viewing. (OTFS)

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