By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: While the focus during the prolonged 26/11 trial was on Kasab who was executed in November last year, the acquittal of Faheem Ansari, who was accused of providing logistic support to Pakistani terrorists, by the Supreme Court, would have made slain lawyer Shahid Azmi very happy.
Shahid, who was once detained under TADA, made it his life’s mission to defend TADA detainees. Faheem Ansari was one of the terror accused whom Shahid Azmi had defended against terror charges. For defending Ansari, 32-year-old Shahid was gunned down by unknown assailants in Feb 2010 in his office in Mumbai in broad daylight.
Shahid’s family feels terribly hurt by the fact that he is almost forgotten today.
Says the slain lawyer’s brother Khalid, “He lost his life fighting for those accused of terror charges. At least he should be remembered now when guilty have been booked and the innocent have been acquitted.”
As Hansal Mehta’s film Shahid, which depicts the life of Shahid Azmi, gets ready for release, the family is more hopeful than ever getting justice for the murdered lawyer.
When the slain attorney’s family members saw actor Raj Kumar Yadav (of Kai Po Che fame) playing Shahid Azmi in the film, they were blown away by the uncanny resemblance.
Frankly the resemblance is uncanny (see pictures below).
Says Shahid’s brother Khalid, “I met the actor Raj Kumar Yadav. He was wearing an exact coat like my brother. His hairstyle was the same too. I think he has done justice to the role as he is very soft spoken, like Bhai. Even their noses look same.”
Says Khalid, “My brother was a lawyer. He had full faith in the Indian judiciary. So, do I and my family. I don’t watch a lot of films but, this one, I will. I think it will bring into public focus my brother’s fight and death. Yes, I do think cinema has a much wider audience because if it’s good it can reach out to many cultures. Then it occurred to me that if it affected a person so much that he wanted to make a film on his life it means he would have seen something in his life to have the urge to tell his story. Maybe this way my brother can be remembered longer.”
Film director Hansal Mehta claims actor Raj Kumar Yadav become so immersed in his character that he began to physically resemble the slain lawyer. Interestingly, Anurag Kashyap is the co-producer of the film.
The film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.