Rajkummar Rao’s Omerta is based on the life of Omar Saeed Sheikh, a terrorist of Pakistani descent, responsible for the 1994 kidnapping of four foreign tourists in Delhi and the 2002 kidnapping and murder of journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan among others. The Hansal Mehta directorial has been creating the right amount of buzz among movie buffs for a long time now. One, for the actor-director duo of Rajkummar Rao-Hansal Mehta reuniting for the movie and second, for the gripping plot of the film.
While talking about the film, filmmaker Hansal Mehta said, “I wanted to explore evil as a human characteristic.” and actor Rajkummar Rao, speaking about his role in it said, “My first as an anti-hero and exhausting as an actor. To feel the hate towards another human-being without any remorse can take quite a toll.” Here, we list the reasons why you should not miss Omerta at the theatres.
1. Rajkummar Rao
Rajkummar Rao is the latest superstar of the Hindi film industry no matter how much he refuses to accept the title. He has always had his way with biopics – be it Shahid Azmi in 2013 film Shahid or that of Subhash Chandra Bose in AltBalaji’s web series Bose: Dead/Alive. In his own words, Rao likes to “give my heart and soul to my characters”. In Omerta he essays the central role of Omar Saeed Sheikh and his role is a major shift from his last silver screen outing Newton, which was India’s official submission to Oscars in 2018. There he played the role of a conscientious election officer and in Omerta, we will see him as an antagonist. It will be interesting to see Rao portraying an evil man.
Hansal Mehta has even credited the success of the film at International Film Festivals to Rao as he said, “You know the exploration of evil as characteristic with an actor like Rajkummar, he made it so real and palpable like it’s happening just in front of us and immediate. I think that makes the film really special.”
2. Hansal Mehta
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta is synonymous with content-driven cinema. He has given cinephiles some of the finest works with films like Shahid, Aligarh and Citylights all starring Rajkummar Rao. He is courageous in picking up the subjects of his film, be it about a human rights lawyer who fought cases of the marginalised in Shahid or about villagers trapped in the big bad city in his 2014 film Citylights. With Omerta, the director has attempted to explore “evil as a human characteristic”.
Omerta is a gripping account of the life of London born terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh. He was involved in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, 9/11 World Trade Centre attacks and the Mumbai terror strike. The trailer of the movie explores the journey of Omar, from him joining a terrorist outfit to him killing people to finally being at the receiving end of the torture during interrogation sessions. Speaking about the plot of the film, Hansal Mehta had said, “Omerta is a recounting of events. A film which will raise a lot of questions but would not offer any answers.” He also intends to leave the viewers with the feelings of “awe, disgust, hate, surprise” with the movie.
4. Reviews from International Film Festivals
Omerta opened to positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, MAMI Mumbai Film Festival and Hong Kong International Film Festival. The film was appreciated across countries. Hansal Mehta, while talking about the film’s response at the Hong Kong International Film Festival said, “The festival always attracts the best of global talent, and for Omerta to represent India was a proud moment for everyone associated with the film. I am very happy that the audience appreciated the hard push against terrorism in the film and how it inspires to open dialogue into the matter.”
Bollywood’s latest obsession with the genre of biopics has another addition to the list with Omerta. With a storyteller as fine as Hansal Mehta and an actor of Rajkummar’s calibre, the film is definitely worth a watch.