The latest Bollywood news is that Omerta has finally released across theaters in India today, and JustInReviews is here with the review of this film.
Hansal Mehta’s Omerta does not talk about the Italian mafia, or anything related to silence or peace. Its name, maybe, is derived from the name of its central character. Yes, we are talking about the British terrorist of Pakistani origin i.e. Omar Saeed Shaikh. He cannot be a hero, he can never be, at least for us. Considered to be amongst the most feared terrorists who is inseparably connected to the hijacking of the IC-814 and the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl, how can he be a hero? He however remains, in any case, Omerta’s solitary focus with every second shot capturing him. With Omerta, director Hansal Mehta endeavors to look inside the psyche of a terrorist, a killer, staying away from humanising him, with Rajkummar Rao boldly essaying a man whose name keeps on being connected to different crimes against mankind.
Omerta seems to hover around an easier path like a long duration training schedule, a Pakistani wedding that appears cliché, stock footage that continues to run, an intense yet non-fruitful confrontation between Omar and American journalist Daniel Pearl. A film that is considerably shorter with regards to Bollywood films. Surprisingly, it skims over vital incidences such as his exchange for the hostages held during the Kandahar hijacking, his participation or the lack of it in 9/11 and 26/11 incidents.
The greatest test while making a movie based on a negative character is to not fall into the criminal mind trap. The risk of legitimizing criminal acts while endeavoring to comprehend them is dependably there. Omerta however, does not seem to fall into this trap – predominantly in light of the fact that Mehta and Rao’s cognizant choice not to do as such, also on the grounds that the film neglects to go past the three noteworthy incidents throughout Omar’s life.
With plentiful utilization of genuine, news footage from these incidents, Hansal provides a kind of documentary vibe to the film. One may feel that the film does not attempt to dive profound into the terrorist’s mind or his environment.
Omerta’s most honest moments can be said to be between the band of men gathered together in camps amidst nowhere, bearing their own envisioned or genuine slights, carried by little else but belief, in scenes that Mehta shoots well. The leaders sppeches here are short yet in dialect that seems to have risen up out of scorched grounds.
As expected, there are some mentions of how the police, system and even the public in general have specific religion-based discernments. For instance, when Omar tells a cop his name is Rohit Verma, the cop gazes at him suspiciously and says, “Mulla lag raha hai.” The cop even goes ahead to state, “Kyu, bura laga? Biwi Muslim hai kya?”
With the help of optimal editing and a running duration of 97 minutes, the film never allows you a chance to lose your attention and the engaging story telling style guarantees you are on the edge all through. Rao demonstrates his potential yet again as he easily gets into his icy character who can shift between accents and identities effectively – and does everything for the sole reason for serving the ‘holy war’. He influences us to trust that he happens to be the terrorist who transforms into a docile guide for voyagers, consumes milk as they chug beer and points a gun at them the next minute. The
hushes and close-ups that Omerta uses to portray Omar’s cold character and hard gazes sets up his chops as an actor.
This is what Omerta has to offer to the viewers. Watching or not, entirely your choice.