Omerta, which is all set to release with just two cuts, is among the year’s most anticipated films.
Omerta, which is all set to release with just two cuts, is among the year’s most anticipated films. Director Hansal Mehta is justifiably concerned about how the film will be received, considering its extremely controversial subject. Here the director shares a few thoughts on the film:
Omerta is finally releasing this week. Any trepidation?
I want the film to be seen. It has been a gruelling journey from the time Mukul Dev narrated the story to me in 2005 until its eventual release. It was a difficult film to make and a difficult film to watch.
Why difficult to watch?
Difficult to watch because it does not choose to glamorise or glorify or have the audience sympathise with its protagonist. Rajkummar Rao plays an antagonist. It is a fast-paced thriller that could leave you angry, numb and/or asking for more. It is an unusual thriller and an unusual film in Rajkummar’s and my filmography. The film is a gritty thriller at one level but a disturbing document of our times at another. It is quiet but carries a disturbing undertone of remorseless violence. Even when Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh makes love it looks like war. The violence is graphic and while I wish a scene with sex depicting Omar’s violence even in the most intimate act would be retained, the film is still very disturbing.
How much trouble did you have it getting past the CBFC?
The Examining Committee asked for some cuts that were, frankly, quite ridiculous considering the fact that I entered the screening requesting an ‘A’ certificate. The Revising Committee was far more accommodating and asked for two major cuts. One is the frontal nudity in a scene where Omar has violent sex with a woman before embarking on his mission and the other is a scene where Omar shows his disrespect for our national anthem by peeing while it plays.
Very uncharacteristic of you to accept these cuts without a fight?
I would have liked to contest these cuts before the tribunal but I realise that my producers cannot be made to suffer because of my obstinacy. The narrative is unhindered by the cuts and the gruesome violence in the film and all other graphic scenes have been kept intact. Censorship must end in our country and lamenting a set of people who follow outdated guidelines is going to solve nothing. The truth is our government and I&B ministry just don’t care. We have to make films in an atmosphere of pseudo-democracy and tell our stories with as much honesty as possible.