Verdict: Hansal Mehta and Rajkummar Rao impress yet again, this time in a film that leaves you speechless and frozen.
Hansal Mehta‘s latest film Omerta, after having won praises in international film festivals, finally comes to Indian theatres this week. If you know what or who this film is about, it will hardly come as a surprise to you that this crime drama is not for the faint-hearted. We are talking, of course, about the convicted terrorist, Omar Sheikh, and the assassination of Daniel Pearl, where Bollywood’s golden boy, Rajkummar Rao, takes on the role of the lead antagonist. This was the closing film of last year’s Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, where people flocked in large numbers to witness the story sans censor cuts. While the trailer of the film was passed with a U/A certification, the director can only hope for a smooth release this Friday without any cuts.
What’s Omerta About:
The film chronicles the events in the life of Omar Sheikh, starting with his first job as a reported ISI agent. The kidnapping of American and British nationals in New Delhi in 1994 sent Omar to prison for five years before he was released in exchange for the passengers aboard the hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814. In a flashback, we see how the massacre of Muslims in Bosnia gave rise to radical feelings during his University years. He then left England (where he was raised) to undergo training with Pakistan’s ISI in 1993. Omar was determined in his radical thoughts and even five years in jail could not break him.
Later, we also see how Omar rose to be an important member of his militant group, with ties to the Al-Qaeda and Taliban. Towards the end, we come to the abduction and murder of American journalist, Daniel Pearl. This act of violence finally sent Omar to prison in Karachi, where he is held until date.
Hansal Mehta leaves no room for disappointment in Omerta. As always, this director-actor combination (CityLights, Shahid, Aligarh) has produced brilliant results and even with this dark film, we can’t help but be in awe of the duo. Scenes are shot exceptionally with brilliant use of light and sound. Sound plays an important role, especially in the scene of the beheading, where the brutality of it is conveyed through the aural senses alone.
Rajkummar Rao completely embodies the character and this is undoubtedly his best role so far. You have adored him in movies like Bareilly ki Barfi and Newton, but Omerta will make you fear him. The actor has also taken diction classes to get into his role of a British-Pakistani. It is refreshing to see an actor experiment with different kinds of roles as he has done.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Nothing about Omerta leaves you with a positive feeling. While this isn’t a drawback, since the purpose of the film is to depict the reality of a terrorist’s dark life, it is not the kind of movie you watch to feel better.
Why You Should Watch:
Watch it not for the antagonist it portrays but the brilliant work of art Hansal Mehta, Rajkummar Rao, and the entire team have put forth. Omerta does not try to sympathize with terrorism but simply gives the viewer a look into the mind of a radical extremist. Rajkummar fans and/or film buffs simply cannot miss seeing the actor in his best role ever.