Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – It’s like art imitating life. When Abdul Wahid Shaikh watched Haemolymph, a movie based on his nightmare in jail, he could not believe his eyes. Scene after scene, the movie depicted his ordeal with pin-point precision, so much so that the real-life character could relate with the protagonist with ease. To quote Wahid, an innocent man framed in a case related to Mumbai train blasts, the movie has revived the memory of the torture and agony he went through during his nine-year stint in the jail.
Wahid was falsely implicated by Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) in a trumped up case in the aftermath of 2006 Mumbai train blasts. After spending full nine years in jail enduring the pain and agony of routine torture at the hands of cops, he was eventually acquitted by court in 2015 absolving him of all the charges leveled against him.
While in jail, he wrote a biographical account of his experience. Later, this jail biography was published in a book form in Urdu titled ‘Begunah Qaidi’. The book was translated into English with the title ‘Innocent Prisoner’. Based on the book, the movie Haemolymph was made. Literally translated, the word ‘Haemolymph’ means the invisible blood.
His book became an instant hit with readers. In due course of time, as his story became talk of the town Wahid was approached by several Bollywood personalities with plum offers in lieu of his permission to make a film based on his book. But all of them, except Sudarshan Gamare, returned without clinching a deal. Sudarshan Gamare, a screenplay writer in the Hindi film industry, finalised a deal with him for the rights to use his story as a subject of a film and took up the onerous task of depicting it on the celluloid screen.
Recalling the moment of glory, sheikh, while speaking to Clarion India, said, “Finding a powerful plot for a film in my story, the director made up his mind to work on it. Though he had no previous experience of making a movie, he was confident that the theme would click at the box office if he made a movie on it.”
When asked what prompted him to make the movie on the jail account of a prisoner, Gamare told reporters, “The story is very close to my heart. I wanted to experiment on the theme with my first directorial venture as I had been contemplating on the story for the last few years. I wanted everyone to watch the struggle of a common man framed up in a false case.”
Produced by Tikatbari and AB Films Entertainment in association with Adman Films and written and directed by Sudarshan Gamare , Haemolymph with Riyaz Anwar in the lead role was released for theatres on May 27.
In just a few days after the release, the movie earned rave reviews from film critics while evoking overwhelming response from the audience. In its review, The Times of India described the movie as “a sincere effort at portraying a sensitive true incident” and gave it three and half stars.
The film has been well taken by moviegoers across the country for its power-packed emotional content which left a deep impact on most of them. Many of them reported that they remained heavy hearted long after watching the movie.
Many in the audience who were not aware of the fact that innocent people are often framed and incarcerated in terror cases got a rude jolt after watching the movie. Some even felt guilty about what happened to Wahid.
As for Wahid, he is content with the way the film depicted his real-life story. He too is getting positive feedback for the film from friends and acquaintances. However, some had a grouse with title of the movies. They found it odd apart from being a tongue twister.
“While watching the movie for the first time, I was moved by the sheer depiction of the pain that I once had undergone. As memories of torture and humiliation of jail started coming alive tears kept rolling down my cheeks. The scenes made me so helpless that I felt like crying inconsolably.” Wahid recalled.
Wahid wants to dedicate the movie to all the 2006 Bombay train blasts accused including the one who was given death penalty calling them all ‘innocent’. He hoped they too will be acquitted by the court one day. He holds the ATS responsible for destroying his life and that of other accused by implicating them in false cases. He is angry with the system which doesn’t fix accountability of the government and the security agencies for falsely implicating and incarcerating innocent people in jails.
“There is no rule of law,” he asserts, “the police whose responsibility it is to ensure rule of law are in fact law breakers. The brutality with which the police treat with the under-trials in the jails is nothing but hooliganism.”
The torture he went through has left deep scar on his psyche. He is suffering from some mental disorders too. He developed eye sour as a result of the torture. His legs and hands still pain in cold weather while he is still living in the morbid fear of being arrested and tortured all over again. To exorcise the ghosts of jail life, he keeps himself busy in prayer and human rights activities and ward off the trauma.