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Old May 6th, 2018, 06:33 AM
ashdoc ashdoc is offline
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Ashdoc's movie review---Omerta



Review has spoilers

'Omerta' is a strange name for a film on a terrorist , for it is the code of silence and non co operation with authorities of the Sicilian criminal fraternity . The film's main protagonist is Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh , and 'Omerta' rhymes with Omar which is part of the main character's name . Maybe that's why the name was chosen for the film .

Omar was a person of pakistani descent raised in Britain , and was an educated man . His father wanted him to lead a normal life of a civilian , and was bitterly opposed to his radicalisation---something that is brought out in several scenes in the film . Even the neighbourhood maulana ( religious figure ) who was a radical himself , thought that Omar was used to too much luxury to lead the tough life of a jehadi because it is filled with too many privations .

But the scenes shown on television of the war in Bosnia and sufferings of muslims there made Omar choose the path of jehad in order to counter the atrocities that were supposedly being committed on muslims everywhere . Here too he was subject to taunts that he was a softy who had lived too much of the luxurious life in Britain to go on the path of jehad , but Omar showed what a hard individual he really was by savagely beating the person who taunted him .

In fact his education brought him to special attention of the notorious ISI ( inter services intelligence ) that is the spy agency of pakistan and masterminds the training of jehadis . Omar was picked to be future leader of jehad because according to one of the pakistani masterminds of terrorism it is the educated jehadi who instils real fear in his opponents minds rather than an illiterate one .

In pakistan Omar was introduced to every pakistani jehadi's favourite obsession which is Kashmir ( what else ) and his focus turned from Bosnia to Kashmir and the much hyped ( much exaggerated in pakistan at least ) so called sufferings of the kashmiris at the hands of the Indian army . And his attention turned to India .

The training in the jehad factory or rather terrorist training camp shows a scene of a terrorist jumping down from a cliff to his death just to show his readiness to follow his masters' commands , and as he falls everyone erupts in the war cry 'Allah-hu-Akbar' . After his training is complete Omar is sent to Indian capital city Delhi to commit jehad against India .

Here he uses a hindu name , but at a routine road checking the Delhi police recognise him for what he is and call him a ' mullah' . But naive westerners are fooled by his sophistication as he slickly uses his western upbringing to become friends with westerners---two british and one czech male and one american female . And kidnaps them and holds them hostage . But the Indian authorities catch him and put him in jail . He is hung upside down and beaten up .

But what follows is the most shameful episode for India as a nation . Actually it is quite clear that Omar is an pakistani ISI agent . Why is he allowed to live and not put to death by India ? Instead his father is allowed to meet him and he brings a lawyer who tries to extradite him as he is a British citizen . Omar even tries to radicalise the Indian muslim lawyer by asking him if he is happy in India but is rebuffed by the lawyer who says he is very happy . Then an Indian jet is hijacked and the pakistan backed terrorists who hijacked it demand that Omar be released along with others in order to let the hijacked passengers be let free . The Indian government releases Omar and Omar arrives in triumph in Pakistan to be paraded on the shoulders of other terrorists to the cries of 'Allah-hu-Akbar' .

Omar becomes a hero in pakistan and gets married to a pakistani lady . He openly boasts about being part of the pakistani establishment now and his house is guarded by security personnel . Another good point---the film does not shy away from admitting that a large part of the nation of pakistan supports terrorism and does take the usual bollywood hypocritical line that pakistan also equally suffers from terrorism as India . Women of good families are ready to marry terrorists like Omar and one scene has a character saying the Omar will become a hero for millions of muslims .

9/11 occurs ; the twin towers of the world trade centre of New York are shown falling , and Omar's name is linked to the plot . Pakistani authorities assure Omar that he will be put on trial in Pakistan only , but his wife is afraid for him .

The kidnapping and killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl is probably the highlight of the film and will interest westerners . Daniel is out in search of story on 9/11 , but asks too many questions and that too recklessly . The ISI wants him silenced before he publishes his story . And the man they turn to do it is Omar . Omar entices Daniel with the hope of getting him to meet some man named Geelani , but holds him hostage . Omar taunts Daniel for being a jew and his people killing muslims in Palestine and torturing pakistanis in Guantanamo bay prison . When Daniel tries to escape he is killed brutally with a knife by Omar himself . The killing is not shown as it is too brutal but the sound effects of the knife attacking the victim repeatedly give it's brutality away as does the blood spattered face of Omar at the end of the scene . Omar is currently in jail for this . But he is unrelenting ; smiles and waves to his followers whenever he is in front of cameras .

Rajkumar Rao has acted the role of Omar quite well . The movie does not show his upbringing at all . It moves at a quick pace with no songs and minimum fuss . Photography and background music is all good though the colours are little bleak due to the dark subject of the film . The film does not glorify Omar and hence is realistic .

Verdict---Good .

Four stars out of five .
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Last edited by ashdoc; May 6th, 2018 at 06:37 AM.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 05:14 PM
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Re: Ashdoc's movie review---Omerta

There is a part of Shahid also where Sheikh Omar tries to convince Shahid to join the Jehad route. But a peaceful Kashmiri played by Kay Kay convinces Shahid otherwise.

There is also a hollywood movie 'Mighty Heart' starring Angelina Jolie which is focused on Daniel Pearl kidnapping and beheading.

BTW, the finding was apparently that the actual Beheading was done by Sheikh Khalek blah blah. One of the many Al Qaeda number 2s arrested by Mush whenever the heat from Washington came.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ashdoc View Post
Shahid



I had never heard of Shahid Azmi till this movie came along....

Even the media which is neck deep into secularism had not dared to create a hero out if him , which is why I had never heard of him....

Yet the director keeps the tall ambition of painting Shahid as a hero---as a man who stood out for the rights of those who were wrongfully accused of terrorism without caring for his own life....

Problem is , by the movie's own admission Shahid's own past was not anything to be proud about....

He is shown to have been affected by the Bombay riots of 1993 and gone to POK ( Pakistan occupied Kashmir ) to train for jihad .

Now this itself raises controversy in my mind as to how come such a person can be treated as a hero .
question is , why did he go to POK to train for jihad....??

Did he lose any family member in the riots ?? Any near and dear ones ??
At least the movie does not show any such thing....
I would like to ask the director---did those muslims who lost their family members in riots all turn to terrorism ??
The answer is , most of them didn't....
Then why did Shahid , who didn't lose any family member in riots ??

Then how can the director justify Shahid's stint in a jihadi camp in POK ??

Similarly , may hindus are illtreated and subjected physical humiliation in Pak....
How many of them have turned to terrorism against Pakistan ?? Answer is---practically nobody....

Then how can Shahid's stint as a trainee jihadi in POK be treated as ' natural reaction ' to Bombay riots ??

The director wants us to pull off the amazing feat of believing that a would be jihadi is some kind of hero here in India....

Of course , Shahid remains only a would be jihadi....
He becomes disillusioned with the brutality of the training in POK and returns home to India....

Here the police is waiting for him and not only arrests him but also gives him the treatment reserved for jihadis . He is stripped naked and beaten .

Once again , the director makes the perfidy of wanting us to believe that this is a grave injustice , that he is being singled out because he is a muslim....

Tell me , what else do you expect if you go to Pakistani controlled jihadi training camps in POK ?? To be welcomed back in India with garlands of flowers ??

Then he is misled into signing a confession that he was involved in a terror plot , for which he has to spend years in Tihar jail....

Here he is again tried to be co opted for jihad by terrorists serving time in jail , but is saved by a former jihadi who himself was disillusioned by the jihad and who prevents Shahid from turning again to terrorism....

Instead he is encouraged to take up studies and becomes a lawyer....

The very fact that such a person with such a tainted past is eventually released from jail is testament to the fact that India has an impartial justice system , otherwise how could a former wannabe jihadi be set free by the courts ?? Yet the director acknowledges this fact only grudgingly , making one of the characters say that the justice system does work in India though it works only late....

Shahid Azmi takes up the opportunity to practice as a lawyer , where he is honest enough to refuse to take up cases of people who are real criminals---which costs him his job with a prominent lawyer....

His personal life is a major component of the movie , with his courtship with his wife Mariam leading to marriage . But the marriage turns upside down because he begins to get death threats due to the dangerous work he has undertaken lately....

So what is that dangerous work ?? It's that of taking up cases of people accused of terrorism against India....

Shahid proves to be a brilliant lawyer who is hard to beat in a courtroom debate , and the courtroom debates are filmed brilliantly....
The actor playing Shahid ( Rajkumar Yadav ) has acted all too well putting his heart and soul into getting into the skin of the character he is playing .

To be honest , the real life Shahid looks better than the actor playing him , but Raj kumar has compensated for his lack of looks by his superb acting , which may fetch him awards....

It is his high acquittal rate of those accused of terrorism which turns him into a hero , at least for some....

But he angers powerful people by taking up cases of those accused of being involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and as he begins to get death threats his wife leaves him....
His face is blackened by chauvinists...

Shahid is leading a very dangerous and charmed life....

So what will happen to him...??

To me the bigger question was , is he the hero that the director of the film has tried to make him out to be ?? Considering his past and considering the fact that he fought cases for the people of his own community , that is somewhat of a tall order....

Of course , at least some for whom he fought were declared innocent by the courts . So maybe he really fought for those he believed to be innocent....
And he didnt care about his life or his marriage in his pursuit of saving those people....
You certainly have to admit he had courage of conviction....

But a hero ?? That is for you to decide...to each his own.....

And like him or dislike him , you cannot ignore Shahid Azmi---not after this film , for it's that good....

Verdict---Good .
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Old May 14th, 2018, 04:09 AM
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Re: Ashdoc's movie review---Omerta

Another useless "realistic" movie. I did not like it at all.
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Old May 14th, 2018, 07:54 AM
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Re: Ashdoc's movie review---Omerta

I can sometimes understand the logic of making movies like Mighty Heart or neerja or airlift or zero dark thirty....

I never understand the logic of making movies on life of villains - Raees, Omerta or even Sanju. by default - realistic or not - they become glamourous.
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Old May 14th, 2018, 09:07 AM
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Re: Ashdoc's movie review---Omerta

Rajkumar Rao suits well for constipated kind of loser characters, never liked him, most of the time I will not watch any movies featuring him.. having him in the lead for this movie may be makes sense, but the movie itself I donno.
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Old May 15th, 2018, 04:20 PM
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Re: Ashdoc's movie review---Omerta

I can never watch films where a villain is glorified.
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