Once a while we come across a film that shakes us to the core of our heart. Hansal Mehta’s Omerta is one such film. Starring Rajkumar Rao in a lead role of a notorious terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh, Omerta is a biographical crime drama film released in India on 4 May 2018. Though the film was a box office dud, it received tremendous reviews from critics and its targeted audience. Omerta is dark, chilling, thrilling and at the same time a “true fact” film without any chocolaty charm.
Omerta (in the language of mafia and terrorism) is a code of silence. It’s a silent refusal to give evidence to the police. However, the film is not about any code of silence. The title is probably a play on the name of its lead character, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British terrorist of Pakistani descent.
The film chronicles the criminal journey of one of the most dreaded terrorists whose name is linked to IC-814 hijacking, Mumbai terror attack, the murder of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl. Director Hansal Mehta tries his best to get into the mind of a criminal, a terrorist, a murderer. However, he ends up focusing more on the events and crimes Omar was involved in rather than his ideology.
In an engaging manner, Omerta shows how Omar gets trained as a terrorist in Pakistan and Afghanistan, his connections with top terrorist organization leaders and the time he spent in Tihar. The film also touches upon some of his crimes like the failed kidnapping of tourists in Kashmir, his involvement in 9/11, Mumbai Taj terrorist attack and Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl’s murder. However, the film never answers why an educated man, an economic scholar takes up part of Terrorism in the name of ‘Jihad’.
Omerta as a film is raw and real. The director has used ample real, news footage to give a documentary and realistic feel to the film. What works in favour of the film is its run time. Hansal Mehta hasn’t wasted a single minute and follows the subject from the very first scene. With water-tight screenplay and engrossing narrative, the film keeps you hooked throughout its runtime. Few scenes like the execution of Daniel Pearl are really disturbing and leave you with a thought that merciless terrorists like Omar is part of our world.
Talking about performances, Omerta is a Rajkumar Rao show all the way. It’s unbelievable how he gets into the skin of every character. The intensity in his eyes is so realistic that I forgot that it was he who is acting. He proves his mettle and justifies why he is probably the best among a lot. Though there isn’t much space for other actors, Timothy Ryan Hickernell as Daniel Pearl shines in a few scenes.
Though not a masterpiece, Omerta is an engaging and engrossing watch. It is a treat for those who love real-life crime drama films. Omerta is now streaming on ZEE5. You can watch it for free.
ZEE5 is emerging as one of the leading OTT platforms. It has a huge collection of movies, TV shows, and web series.