The closing film of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, Omertà is based on the convicted terrorist, Omar Sheikh and the assassination of Daniel Pearl. A drama film by Hansal Mehta, our newest golden boy, Rajkummar Rao, takes on the role of the lead antagonist.
Background and Story:
While the film chronicles events of Omar Sheikh’s life, it mainly begins 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) 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. While the act itself was not shown directly (the camera focused on Omar, not Daniel), the sound effect is enough to give you an idea of how brutal the murder was. Omar is shown holding up the severed head, as it was shown in the video that was captured at the moment. This act of violence finally sent Omar to prison in Karachi, where he is held until date.
Why You Should Watch:
Nothing about Omertà leaves you with a positive feeling. The purpose of this film is to depict the story of a terrorist from his perspective. It does not try to sympathize with him but simply gives the viewer a look into the mind of a radical extremist. Rajkummar completely embodies the character and this is undoubtedly his best role so far. Omertà 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.
Hansal Mehta leaves no room for disappointment with this one. Their combination (CityLights, Shahid, Aligarh) has always 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 beheading scene, where the brutality of it is conveyed through the aural senses alone.
Look out for this film in theatres. 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. Rajkummar fans and/or film buffs simply cannot miss seeing the actor in his best role ever.