It looks like forgiving and forgetting comes easily to Anurag Kashyap. No wonder that the filmmaker is one of the co-producers of a biopic on slain human rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi. Way back in 2005, Azmi represented the petitioners who were seeking a stay on Black Friday, Anurag’s film on the communal riots that ensued post the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai. Anurag’s new project premiered at the Toronto Film Festival recently.
Anurag states that as a filmmaker, it’s his responsibility to help a good story hit the big screen. “Yes, we stood on the opposite end of the argument then but we were just doing our respective jobs. He was fighting his case and I was fighting mine. Perhaps we were both right in our own way. I decided to be part of this cinematic endeavour because here is a guy (the late Azmi) whose courageous life makes an excellent story and it needs to be told,” says Kashyap who recently turned 40.
Directed by Hansal Mehta, the film is basically a courtroom drama that also focuses on the circumstances that led to his murder. So did Anurag contribute to the creative aspects of the project? “No, not at all. It is completely Hansal’s film. I’ve done my part as the producer but that’s it. We are looking forward to the film’s release next year.”
Who’s that guy?
Frustrated by the communal riots, teenager Shahid Azmi allegedly fled to Kashmir to take up arms against the Indian state. He was arrested on his return the following year for plotting to kill some politicians and charged under TADA. He later spent around five years in prison where he completed his higher education, deciding to study law and journalism after his release. Post-26/11, he represented Faheem Ansari who was accused of providing logistical support to Pakistani terrorists. Faheem was eventually acquitted by the Supreme Court. 32-year-old Shahid was found gunned down in his Kurla office by three assailants in February 2010.