Special Presentations

Omertà

Hansal Mehta

Omerta 01

Hansal Mehta recounts the story of infamous British-born terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who kidnapped and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.

One of India's great directors, Hansal Mehta, who in 2012 brought us the Indian National Award–winning film Shahid, returns to the Festival with this dramatization of the complex and dangerous life of Omar Sheikh. A convicted terrorist who many believe had financial connections to 9/11, Sheikh is widely known as the man responsible forthe 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

In 1994, while pretending to be an Indian citizen, a young Omar Sheikh stalked, manipulated, befriended, and kidnapped three Britons and one American. They were held captive with threats of beheading unless the Indian government freed 10 Pakistani militants imprisoned in Kashmir. This is our introduction to Sheikh, a merciless idealogue, played brilliantly by one of India's great young actors, frequent Mehta collaborator Rajkummar Rao.

Employing a non-linear structure, Mehta swiftly navigates through various stages of Sheikh's life. From activist standing up for Muslim lives in Bosnia in the early 1990s to enlisting himself in Al-Qaeda as a crusader for Pakistani rights, then allegedly becoming a financial middle man during the attacks in 2001, Sheikh gets progressively bolder, and Rao immerses himself in the role, taking us right into the motivations behind remorseless political violence.

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