Filmmaker Hansal Mehta says honesty is key in the making of his new film "Shahid". Based on the true story of Shahid Azmi, the story is half biopic and half fiction.
Azmi, a 32-year-old lawyer, was shot dead in Mumbai in 2010. He had been arrested in 1994 on charges of conspiring to kill politicians, and while in prison, had studied law and encouraged fellow inmates to seek justice. On his release from prison, he had worked first as a journalist and later as a lawyer and teacher.
"I make my films with honesty. This is the way I decide the script," Mehta said, as he interacted with reporters ahead of the screening of the film at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival Friday.
"The film is part fiction, part drama and part biopic. But we have retained the essence of what we wanted to say," he said
Presented by Reliance Entertainment, this year, the 14th Mumbai Film Festival will showcase over 230 films from around the world. Organised by Mumbai Academy of Mumbai Image (MAMI), it will have a mix of classic and contemporary cinema with special event segments dedicated to French, Italian, Afghan and Indian cinema.
The festival kick started Thursday, and will end Oct 25.
After making "Woodstock Villa" in 2008, he went on an extended sabbatical. It was during this time that he thought of making "Shahid".
"The film stemmed from a lack of inspiration. I didn't have a story to tell. I was working on a different script and I was researching, but that didn't work out. One day I saw the story of Shahid Azmi in the headlines and I knew there was a story there," he said.
For the filmmaker, patience and perseverance are important to make a film.
"Patience and perseverance are important and luck follows. The subject of this film evolved into a mission for me. The film has totally transformed me," he said.
Talking about the shooting of the film, he said the entire film was difficult. But the pleasure of going back home and looking forward to the next day is a feeling which I have not had for a long day," he said.
The film is moderately budgeted but the director feels the pressure of spending money on marketing and promoting the film.
Co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga and then Sunil Bohra, the film features actor Raj Kumar playing the role of Shahid Azmi.
The director is eagerly awaiting the release of his film which will happen beginning of next year.
"I am still involved with "Shahid". It has changed my life. I will not repeat the mistakes which I have made in the past," he said.
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