February 20, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Hansal Mehta who started his career as a director with a TV film on legalese called Jayate is ready to make another film entitled Jayate on the slain defense lawyer Shahid Azmi. Interestingly, Hansal has been researching on the defense lawyer from long before he was slain.
Says Hansal, “In fact, I got interested in Shahid when I was researching for my first film Jayate. I got to know that at the age of 16 Shahid was accused of conspiracy against the State and arrested. He spent 5-6 years in Tihar jail. It’s there during his years as a Tihar inmate that Shahid became interested in the legal system and in defending the indefensible.”
And now Hansal Mehta is all set to do the same. Defend the seemingly indefensible, that is. He has already completed a major apart of his scripting and intends to shoot by year-end.
Says Hansal, “I plan to meet Shahid’s family members as soon as they’re out of mourning. I want to assure them that I’m not making this film to grab a portion of the headline. I was fascinated by Shahid Azmi’s life from the time I got to know he spent years in jail practicing to be a defense lawyer.”
Hansal may have to defend himself against political parties in Maharashtra which may describe him as a Paki-lover.
Protests the tough filmmaker, “But I see no reason to be hostile to Pakistan or Muslims. My wife is a Muslim and my two daughters Kimaya and Rihanna have kept their mother’s name Husain. I think the worst thing we as filmmakers can do is to surrender to these forces. I’m so glad Shahrukh didn’t give in. Come what may I’m determined to go ahead with my film on Shahid Azmi. His story must be told. I believe every person accused of a crime has a right to be defended. Shahid was doing a thankless job. I want to understand his motivations.”
Hansal wants to sign either Shahid Kapoor or Ranbir Kapoor to play Shahid. “They can make the transition from the age of 16 to until his death.”
Now the question is would these mainstream actors be willing to play such a controversial character?
-Subhash K Jha/ Sampurn Wire