Mumbai: Actor Rajkummar Rao who is busy promoting his upcoming flick ‘Omerta’ has said that makers of Omerta are not trying to glorify the heinous act of terrorists through the film. Rao interacted with media to promote Omerta on Friday in Mumbai.
When asked Rao whether makers of this film trying to glorify terrorist activities, he said, “It is not the case with this film. We are not trying to glorify the heinous act done by these terrorists. In fact, I think this film will create awareness among people who don’t have much knowledge about this issue. Any filmmaker doesn’t make a film with the motive to hurt sentiments of people or to create a controversy through a film because there is thousands of people’s hard work and a lot of money at stake to make a film so, no one will want to have controversy on a project which is made with a lot of heart”
On being asked what prompted him to play the dark character of terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh, Rao answered, “As an actor, we get very fascinated with villains sometimes. If you see, Shah Rukh (Khan) sir has played grey or negative character in Baazigar and Darr, Aamir (Khan) sir in Earth, Sanjay Dutt in Khalnayak and recently, Ranveer Singh in Padmaavat. There is something edgy about these villains that we get attracted to as an artist. I don’t know if it’s about the power these characters has or the limitless approach that these characters have that we want to explore and it was same with me. I think I wanted to explore this villain inside me with a film like Omerta because I always played either grey characters or good boys and Omerta gave me that opportunity”
Talking about the meaning of the title and basic plot of the film, Rao said, “Omerta means silence between the two people regarding certain thing and which they don’t share with anyone else so, in gangster term it is called Omerta. It’s a story of Omar Saeed Sheikh and many young people like him who get brainwashed and be a part of terrorist activities. In last 15 years, if you see any big terrorist happening or attack which have taken place like 9/11 in America, Mumbai’s 26/11, Kandahar plane high jack, kidnapping and killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl in all these incidents, Omar was part of that criminal conspiracy. It’s a thriller and a story of a world about which we don’t have much idea. It’s a fourth time I am collaborating with Hansal Mehta sir and whoever has seen it is saying that this is by far his best film”
Talking about the preparation that he went through to play the character of British terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh, Rao said, “You need a lot of preparation especially when you do a film like Omerta because it’s based on real-life character and that too based on an individual with whom I cannot connect at all. There was no connection I could find with him to start my preparations so I really had to start from the scratch. I had to read a lot of books and watch a lot of documentaries and disturbing videos. It’s a dark space where these guys exist so I had to cultivate a lot of hatred and anger inside me to understand his psyche and mindset. Omar is from British terrorist so; I was also in London for three weeks to learn the accent and to understand the culture. I grew my beard for three months, gained some weight and built some muscles to look like him”
When asked Rao what was challenging part to play the character of real-life terrorist, he said, “To understand this world. I think when you do a film like Newton or Bareilly Ki Barfi in that, somewhere you have a reference that I know a guy like him and I can relate with his honesty that he is showing it onscreen because I have that honesty but when you play a character like Omar, there is no connection. You don’t have that hatred and anger then the challenge is to make it believable for the audience, to be true to its nature and not to glorify it. It was tough to be in that mental state for 3 months for the shoot of the film.
Omerta is a biographical crime drama film directed by Hansal Mehta and stars Rajkumar Rao in the role of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, British terrorist of Pakistani descent. The film explores the 1994 kidnappings of Westerners in India for which Omar was arrested and served time in prison and the plotting of murder of Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. It was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, the Mumbai Film Festival, and the Florence Film Festival.
Omerta is scheduled to release on April 20, 2018.