Raj Kumar Yadav, the actor who went through the look test by the director, Hansal Mehta, felt he understood the attitude and the motivation of the character, also it was more important that Shahid’s character came through.
However, when Shahid Azmi’s mother visited first day of the shoot to check if Raj Kumar’s look was similar to her son. She was in misty eyes to see Raj Kumar in the lawyers attire, but also helped the director with some finishing touches.
Says Hansal Mehta, director of Shahid, “One of the first days of the shooting was at the Shahid’s office where Raj Kumar was dressed in a lawyers uniform and we were in Shahid Azmi’s office and Shahid’s mother came to visit us and she looked at Raj Kumar and she kept looking at him, she said the pen is missing, she made him put a pen…and she looked at his hair, sort of approved the way he was looking. Raj Kumar worked on how his hair was, their hair style was similar. He created similar physical characteristics.”
Shahid releases in theatres on October 18th 2013.
Synopsis - 'Shahid' is a true story of slain human rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi, who was killed in 2010 by unidentified assailants in his office. From attempting to become a terrorist, to being wrongly imprisoned under a draconian anti-terrorism law, to becoming a champion of human rights (particularly of the Muslim minorities in India), Shahid traces the inspiring personal journey of a boy who became an unlikely messiah for human rights, while following the rise of communal violence in India. The film features Raj Kumar as Shahid along with Prabhleen Sandhu and Baljinder Kaur.
Shahid has traveled to several film festivals including Toronto, Dubai and Mumbai witnessing critical acclaim. The film won the Silver Gateway Trophy at the 14th Mumbai film festival while Hansal Mehta won the Best Director award. Hansal went on to win the best director at New York Indian Film Festival and at the Indian Film Festival of Stuttgart. In the past, Shahid had a World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival 2012 (TIFF 2012), Opening Film at Dharamshala International Film Festival, Centerpiece at New York Indian Film Festival and Centerpiece at Chicago South Asian Film Festival.