Genre: Bollywood, Reportedly Biopic
Director: Hansal Mehta
Starcast: Rajkumar Rao
Rating: 1 Star
Title: From Wiki to Reel
Omerta is a Bollywood film, released in the year 2018, directed by Hansal Mehta, produced by Nahid Khan and stars Rajkumar Rao in the lead role essaying the character of known terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh.
Before getting into the review of this movie, here’s a general feedback to filmmakers that they should start getting more creative and write stories which require hard-work than to just pick up the lives of some known people (famous or infamous) and make a movie out of it. If you really want to make biopics, make it for ordinary people who live extraordinary lives, so that the society and the power mongers get to know the real lives of people than something which is anyways known in public domain.
Now, Omerta is the story of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a Pakistani terrorist of British nationality who was involved in the kidnapping of four foreign tourists in India in 1994, following which he was jailed and then after spending 5 years in Tihar Jail, Delhi, India, Omar was released as part of hostage negotiations after flight IC-814 was hijacked by terrorists and taken to Kandahar, in Afghanistan.
Post his release, he had a key role to play in 9/11 bombings of the US where he transferred $100,000 to facilitate the bombing on behalf of people from the United Arab Emirates and the following year, Omar killed a journalist named Daniel Pearl, who was a Jewish American and was writing to expose the terror cells of Pakistan. Daniel was killed mercilessly and beheaded after being kept captive by Omar and his men for over a month. Omar painted him as a CIA agent to justify his killing.
Following which, he was arrested and sentenced to death. He is currently serving his sentence in Pakistan jail. However, even from inside jail he made hoax calls to Indian and Pakistani Governments in order to provoke a war between the two countries in 2008 during the Taj attack on Mumbai by team Kasab. He dubbed the voice of the then foreign affairs minister of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee and called Mr. Parvez Musharraf that in wake of the Taj attack, India would retaliate with military action.
Following that call, he was placed in solitary confinement and all mobiles and sim cards were confiscated from him which he had obtained illegally during his jail tenure.
Now, you must be wondering, why did I write this whole thing here, when it is already available on the Wikipedia. That is because, this is what the whole movie is all about.
The filmmakers have done zero research on his life outside of Wikipedia. Even they could not do justice to Wiki also fully as they have missed the possible angle of the involvement of Omar with British Intelligence Agency, MI6, or let’s just say, they didn’t have the guts to do that. No details about Omar’s childhood, or his education has been shown. Even, it is not shown, how he became so radicalized and how he got the monstrosity to behead a person in cold blood.
The entire movie just focuses on justifying terrorism and why Muslims feel persecuted world over, which is leading to spread of terrorism and that terrorism is a noble act of carrying out Allah’s instructions on Earth. The over emphasis of the fact has defeated the purpose of vilifying terrorism by attempting to show its villainous streak.
The filmmaker forgot that barring the leftist “intellectuals”, no one has sympathy for either terrorists or terrorism and there’s no need to convince that terrorism is bad. Killing innocent people under the guise of religion is heinous and inexcusable, except for the leftist intellectuals who constantly sweat under the fear of infringement of the human rights of terrorists.
Direction wise also movie is very poor and many scenes look artificially sketched, especially the conversations of Omar with his dad. And the worst and most shocking part of the movie is Rajkumar Rao who speaks British accented English in Hyderabadi style and ruins the character. He fails to portray the coldness of a hardened terrorist, given the lofty lectures of jihad that he keeps on giving in the movie. Perhaps, Rao needs to rediscover his actor or Hansal failed to extract the needed from him as Hansal himself was unclear as to what should be shown.
Overall, a very pathetic movie, far from being a biopic, just a visual representation of the Wikipedia page of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Daniel Pearl. I give this movie 1 star rating. Spare yourself the torture.