Omerta (film)

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Omerta film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHansal Mehta
Produced byNahid Khan
Shaailesh R Singh
Written byMukul Dev
Hansal Mehta
StarringRajkummar Rao
Music byIshaan Chhabra
CinematographyAnuj Rakesh Dhawan
Edited byAditya Warrior
  • Swiss Entertainment
  • Karma Features
Distributed byNH Studioz
Release date
  • 8 September 2017 (2017-09-08) (TIFF)
  • 4 May 2018 (2018-05-04) (India)
Running time
96 minutes
Budget 18 crore[1]
Box office 4 crore[2]

Omerta is a 2017 Indian 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.[3][4] 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.[5][6] Produced by Nahid Khan of Swiss Entertainment and Shaailesh R Singh of Karma Features[7], it was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, the Mumbai Film Festival, Florence Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival.[8][9][10] Omerta was the closing night film in 2018 New York Indian Film Festival.[11][12] The first trailer was released on 14 March 2018 while second trailer was released on 23 April 2018.[13] Omerta was released on 4 May 2018 and received positive reviews from critics.[14]



The story of Omerta was suggested to director Hansal Mehta by actor Mukul Dev in 2005, who marks his debut as a writer.[15][16] Mehta said that at the time when Dev told him the story, the internet was "really slow". So he had to buy books, material from the archives and magazines for the research.[15] He started developing the script but made Shahid (2012) with Rajkummar Rao instead, as he felt the latter was an "easier film to make".[17] He credits Rao being a reason Omerta was made. "I had to meet Rajkummar and because I met him, he became an enabler and because of him, I could make this film."[15] Initially, Hansal was thinking of casting Riz Ahmed,a British actor of Pakistani descent, as the lead actor for Omerta.[18]

Mehta stated that his intention behind making Omerta was to explore evil as a "human characteristic".[15] He further said that he wanted to leave the audience with a sense of "awe, disgust, hate, surprise" and to examine the "ramifications of these [terror] events on their lives today."[19] Mehta called the villain of the film, Omar Sheikh, the "hannibal" of terrorism who could be planning how to outwit you even while talking to you."[17]

Omerta in the making

Mehta further told that the film "exposes state-sponsored terrorism and how it manipulates young minds into believing a sordid interpretation of Jihad."[20] The film was shot in real locations across London and Punjab, Old Delhi,[21] parts of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh in India,[22] while the scenes of Afghanistan and Pakistan were recreated.[23] Mehta, along with his crew, visited some of the places that Ahmed Sheikh had visited.[23] Mehta said that the film does not show the backstory of Sheikh and how he became a terrorist: "It is an uncomfortable film which will raise uncomfortable questions and answers that we have to compel our establishment to find".[15] Several real life footage's were purchased from different sources of the Indian Airlines flight 814 hijacking, media footage following the September 11 attacks.[24]

To prepare for the role, Rao watched several videos, documentaries and hate speeches of Sheikh repeatedly to "gather a lot of hatred and anger" inside himself.[25] He expressed that he was "disturbed" while shooting the film, because of the character he was playing and called it "easily the toughest character" he has played till date.[25][20] While filming, the November 2015 Paris attacks took place. Rao stated that he was in the character and appreciated the attacks, but soon realised that it was wrong.[26] The title of the film refers to the Italian term for a criminal code of honor that encompasses absolute non-cooperation with legal authorities.[27] Anuj Rakesh Dhawan and Aditya Warrior served as the director of photography and editor respectively.[28] Omerta was made on a budget of 18 crore (including marketing and promotions).[1]

Central Board of Film Certification cleared Omerta with an 'A' certificate,[29] with only two cuts, where the censor board has asked for the national anthem to be removed from an offensive scene[30] and a scene involving full frontal nudity that was showcased to portray the mental condition of the protagonist.[31][32] There was report that banned scenes were leaked online few days before film’s release.[33]

A special screening of Omerta was held on 29 April 2018,[34] the same day director Hansal Mehta also celebrated his 50th birthday.[35]


Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost praised the acting of Rajkumar Rao and gave it 3.5 stars.[36] Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN praised the gripping story line of film and gave it 3 stars.[37] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV stated Rajkumar Rao performance as pitch- perfect in this riveting thriller and gave it 3.5 stars.[38] Sweta Kaushal of The Hindustan Times praised the spine-chiling acting of Rajkumar rao and gave the film 3.5 stars.[39] Priyanka Bhadani of the Week praised the film editing and gave it 3 stars.[40] Economic Times states that Omerta is a brutal tale of terrorism and gave it 3 stars.[41] Meena Iyer of DNA praised the film as worth watching and gave it 3 stars.[42] Devesh Sharma of Filmfare praised the film as dramatic account of a terrorist life and gave it 3 stars.[43] Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter called it a "gripping study of evil that reveals nothing".[28] Dennis Harvey called it a "slickly mounted film" but criticised the lack of motivation behind the crimes.[27] Namrata Joshi of Hindu did not find the film clinical.[44] Shalini Langer of The Indian Express termed the film as a passion-less biopic and gave it 2.5 stars.[45] Tanul Thakur of the Wire did not find the film too compelling.[46] Nandini Ramnath of described the film as a damp squib.[40]

Box office[edit]

Omerta was released in 500 screens in India.[1] Omerta did not open well at the Indian box office.[47][48] It grossed 54 lakhs on the first day. The collections picked up on the first weekend and the film grossed more than 2 crores on Saturday and Sunday.[49] Omerta grossed 3.25 crores in the first week.[2][50] Director Hansal Mehta said that film's poor collections were due to bad show timings after the success of Avengers: Infinity War in India.[51] Omerta was not released in Bahrain, as Censor Board did not grant permission.[52][53]


On 26 April 2018, Supreme Court of India passed a judgement, demanding director Hansal Mehta to deposit Omerta's earnings in separate bank account to pay up dues of Adarsh Telemedia — a film production house financed by Amit Agarwal, Kolkata-based businessman.[54][55]


  1. ^ a b c "That old magic".
  2. ^ a b "102 Not Out Decent First Week – Omerta Disaster – Box Office India". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  3. ^ "The simplified terror in Omerta".
  4. ^ "Omerta review: Steely, concise portrait of a terrorist". Cinestaan. 18 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Omerta Movie Review: Brilliant performance trapped in a not quite brilliant film". 19 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Omerta first look: Hansal Mehta, Rajkummar Rao team up again for this intriguing looking film". Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  7. ^ Nathan, Leona (3 May 2018). "Rajkummar Rao Starrer Omerta Gets Thumbs Up From Critics – Read Reviews". Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Toronto Film Festival 2017 Unveils Strong Slate". Deadline. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  9. ^ Jha, Subhash K. (15 March 2018). "Hansal Mehta surprised by U/A certification for Omerta". The Asian Age. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Hansal Mehta: Happy that audience appreciated hard push against terrorism in Omerta". The Indian Express. 24 March 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Omerta, Nude to screen at New York Indian Film Festival, tributes to Sridevi and Shashi Kapoor planned".
  13. ^ "'Omertà' attempts to expose state-sponsored terrorism".
  14. ^ "Why Omerta should be remembered as a classic example of film editing".
  15. ^ a b c d e Kameshwari, A. (16 March 2018). "Omerta raises uncomfortable questions but does not provide any answers: Hansal Mehta". The Indian Express. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  16. ^ Parkar, Shaheen (16 March 2018). "Mukul Dev: Omar Sheikh Turned Me Into A Writer". Mid Day. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  17. ^ a b Bhattacharya, Roshmila (20 March 2018). "Omerta director Hansal Mehta: I am the outsider even after 25 years". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  18. ^ "It was this Hollywood actor who was the first choice for 'Omerta', not Rajkummar Rao!".
  19. ^ Srivastava, Shruti (14 March 2018). "Omerta Director Hansal Mehta Wants To 'Leave The Viewer With A Sense Of Disgust, Hate'". NDTV. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  20. ^ a b Srivastava, Shruti (13 March 2018). "Omerta First Look: Rajkummar Rao As An Antagonist Will Leave You Speechless". NDTV. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  21. ^ "'Omertà' traces a dreaded terrorist's footsteps".
  23. ^ a b "Omerta director Hansal Mehta: With Rajkummar Rao, no challenge seems insurmountable". The Indian Express. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Hansal Mehta: Purchased actual footage to keep Omerta as real as possible". The Indian Express. 20 March 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  25. ^ a b Kameshwari, A. (14 March 2018). "Rajkummar Rao: I was very disturbed while shooting for Omerta". The Indian Express. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  26. ^ "During Omertà filming, Rajkummar Rao had a shocking reaction to the 2015 Paris attacks". Times Now. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  27. ^ a b Harvey, Dennis (22 September 2017). "Toronto Film Review: 'Omertà'". Variety. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  28. ^ a b "'Omerta': Film Review: Mumbai 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  29. ^ "Hansal Mehta On Omerta's Censor Hurdle: Revising Committee Lopped Off Frontal Nudity".
  30. ^ "Rajkummar Rao-starrer Omerta's release date pushed to 4 May; CBFC clears film with 'A' certificate".
  31. ^ "Omerta: Hansal Mehta asked to chop off Rajkummar Rao's frontal nudity scene despite A certificate".
  32. ^ "'Omerta': Censor board demands two scenes cut from the Rajkummar Rao starrer".
  33. ^ "Omerta: Banned scenes leaked online days before film's release".
  34. ^ "Bollywood celebrities react to Rajkummar Rao starrer 'Omerta'".
  35. ^ "Omerta's Special Screening & Hansal Mehta's Birthday Party".
  36. ^ "Omerta movie review: Rajkummar Rao's stellar performance carries Hansal Mehta's gripping, clinical terrorography".
  37. ^ "Omerta Review: Rajkummar Rao Plays a Sociopath With an Iciness That Will Stay With You".
  38. ^ "Omerta Movie Review: Rajkummar Rao Gives Pitch Perfect Performance In This Riveting Thriller".
  39. ^ "Omerta movie review: Rajkummar Rao's film focuses on the terrorist's modus operandi, not his ideology". 4 May 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  40. ^ a b Ramnath, Nandini. "'Omerta' film review: A damp squib about deadly terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  41. ^ "'Omerta' review: A brutal and nerve-wracking tale of terrorism". 7 May 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018 – via The Economic Times.
  42. ^ "'Omerta' Movie Review: Rajkummar Rao-Hansal Mehta's film is worth a dekko if you like terror sagas – Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". 3 May 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  43. ^ "Movie Review: Omerta". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  44. ^ Joshi, Namrata (4 May 2018). "'Omerta' review: doesn't go beyond the clinical". Retrieved 13 May 2018 – via
  45. ^ "Omerta movie review: A surprisingly passion-less biopic of Omar Saeed Sheikh". 4 May 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  46. ^ "'Omertà' Fails to Go Deeper Than the Basic Facts – The Wire". The Wire. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  47. ^ Hungama, Bollywood. "Omerta Box Office Collection till Now – Bollywood Hungama". Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  48. ^ Hungama, Bollywood (4 May 2018). "BO update: 102 NOT OUT opens to 15%, OMERTA is a disaster – Bollywood Hungama". Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  49. ^ "Omerta Box Office Collection Day 2: Rajkummar Rao's Film Adds Rs. 1 Crore To Its Business".
  50. ^ "102 Not Out Is Rock Steady On Tuesday – Box Office India". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  51. ^ "Thanks to the success of Avengers, we were given very poor show timings: Hansal Mehta on Omerta collection". 6 May 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  52. ^ "BREAKING: Hansal Mehta's Rajkummar Rao starrer Omerta faces censor issue in Bahrain".
  53. ^ "After India, Rajkummar Rao starrer 'Omerta' faces Censor Board trouble in Bahrain – Censor Board controversies – The Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  54. ^ "Hansal Mehta can't use his earnings from Rajkummar Rao's Omerta, here's why".
  55. ^ "Hansal Mehta ordered by SC to deposit Omerta's earnings in separate account to pay up Rs 7 cr dues".

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