There is a harrowing sequence in Hansal Mehta’s “Omerta” where the leading man Rajkummar Rao’s car was stopped at a check-post and he was called to step out by a burly policeman who wanted to know if he was a Muslim or married to a Muslim.
Mehta said he too had faced such cultural discrimination once.
“It is the beard. There was a time when I used to keep a beard. My music guru Ghulam Mustafa Khan asked me not to keep a beard because it made me look like a Muslim. None of his sons were allowed by him to keep a beard as he didn’t want his children to be identified by their beard as Muslims. That experience stayed with me. I used it in Omerta,” Mehta said.
“It’s a frightening situation where the young Muslim men would not want to keep a beard for the fear of religious identification whereas Hindus would also shun the beard for the same reason. The beard may eventually become a thing of the past,” he said.
Omerta with its hard-hitting chronicle on the evolution of a terrorist’s mind, has opened poorly across the country.
“Thanks to the ongoing success of Avengers we were given very poor show timings. There was not a show that suited the conventional audience. Plus there is the ‘Adults’ censor certification. That automatically puts off a major chunk of the audience,” says Mehta.
Earlier in an interview with indianexpress.com, Hansal Mehta had said that for him, it is not important for his films to be in the race of achieving Rs 100 crore or Rs 150 crore benchmarks, but to recover the production cost.
“What matters to me is that the film recovers its cost that enables you to make your next film. That is crucial. So, what I ensure is that the film is made on a tighter budget. That way you are minimising risk. It’s a combination of non-theatrical, theatrical revenues,” the director said.