Director: Hansal Mehta
"“Omerta”" | Brutal, but fails to make an impact
This biographical drama on Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh – a British-born terrorist of Pakistani origin – has nothing out of the extraordinary, but what keeps you hooked to the story is Rajkummar Rao’s intensity.
Omerta briefly follows the life of Omar Saeed Sheikh, an educated guy living in London, who was deeply shaken by the atrocities and murder of Muslims in Bosnia and wanted to do something about it. This, eventually, leads him to the path of terrorism, kidnapping foreign tourists in India, and the abduction and execution of American journalist Daniel Pearl.
Unlike Hansal Mehta’s critically-acclaimed films like Shahid, City Lights, and Aligarh, Omerta, with its incident-to-incident scenes, fails to make an emotional connection with the viewers. In fact, somewhere in the middle of the film, Hansal Mehta decides to go back and forth in time which gets confusing for a few seconds. It seemed like the director was pushing his limits to make a “no-nonsense” film by rapidly shifting between scenes and including documentary-style footage, but all that failed to make a long-lasting impact.
Putting all these aspects aside, Omerta stands out amongst all those terrorist based movies due to its veracity of facts, locations, cinematography, unapologetic dialogues, and, most of all, the brutal portrayal of Omar Sheikh. Rajkummar Rao has perfectly portrayed all the nuances of the dreaded, complex terrorist, Omar. One particular scene that stands out in the whole movie is the sadistic execution of
Daniel Pearl (the journalist); it defines the brutality of the character and shows Rao’s command over any role that he plays. Apart from Rao, the father and the Maulana did not add much to the film, as the story progresses.
The background music of the film matches the intensity of Rao’s character and makes you shiver with what the protagonist is going to do next. In some parts, the movie became predictable and monotonous, and could not match the hype around it.
Overall, Omerta could have been a masterpiece about terrorism and terrorists but Hansal Mehta did not choose to go beyond the basic mentality of terrorists – justice for their brothers and sisters suffering at the hands of ‘foreigners’ – which was a logical decision as Omerta is based on real-life incidents. Without going into the details of how Omar planned and executed his attacks, Mehta just touches the base of a global problem, while Rao charms as the clever, barbarous terrorist in a limited script.