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Omerta  : The True Face of Terror
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Friday, May 4, 2018
Drama
Hansal Mehta
Rajkummar Rao, Rajesh Tailang, Rupinder Nagra

Omar the terrorist is from the West, he’s against the West and his story is also told by Hansal Mehta for a Western audience. With English as the main language and only a fistful of lines in Hindi, Omerta is clearly tailored for the western viewer. Even the title Omerta, the code of silence where nobody tattles to the authorities, is not a word that the Hindi film audience would instantly understand.

 

But the story is universal and it’s chilling. Besides, Omar did operate in New Delhi.

 

Based loosely on the real life story of fanatical terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh who was raised comfortably in the UK but was radicalised to the point of turning beastly, Hansal brings out Omar’s pathological hatred for the West and his twisted belief that Islam was in danger.

 

Identifying, befriending and then kidnapping British and American citizens in Delhi, Omar was one of those terrifying militants who was unfortunately released by the Indian authorities. He was handed over to militants when an Indian Airlines plane was hijacked at the turn of the millennium.

 

Let loose although he was a known danger, Omar was the terrorist who went on to butcher Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl and also played his part in the much-televised 26/11 attack in Mumbai from the safety of a jail in Pakistan.

 

What comes through is the complicity of Pakistan in international terror and the bloodthirsty fanaticism of terrorists like Omar. But where is he today? He continues to live and operate with impunity in Pakistan.   

 

It’s a story that the world needs to know about and Hansal Mehta does it without losing vision. The whole film rests on the shoulders of able actor Rajkummar Rao who changes his accent to sound like a Pak-origin Britisher.

 

Verdict: Hansal Mehta’s direction has a documentary feel to it that will clip its appeal in India. But for a film on terror that speaks well to an audience with Western sensibilities, Omerta gets a 3* rating.

 

Direction: 4/5

Screenplay: 3/5

Story: 3.5/5

Dialogues: 2.5/5

Music: 3/5

 

Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author

 

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