There is a harrowing sequence in Hansal Mehta’s Omerta where the leading man Rajkummar Rao’s car was stopped at a check-post and he was called to step out by a burly policeman who wanted to know if he was a Muslim or married to a Muslim.
Mehta said he too had faced such cultural discrimination once.
“It is the beard. There was a time when I used to keep a beard. My music guru Ghulam Mustafa Khan asked me not to keep a beard because it made me look like a Muslim. None of his sons was allowed by him to keep a beard as he didn’t want his children to be identified by their beard as Muslims. That experience stayed with me. I used it in ‘Omerta’,” Mehta said.
“It’s a frightening situation where the young Muslim men would not want to keep a beard for the fear of religious identification whereas Hindus would also shun the beard for the same reason. The beard may eventually become a thing of the past,” he said.
Omerta with its hard-hitting chronicle on the evolution of a terrorist’s mind has opened poorly across the country.
“Thanks to the ongoing success of Avengers we were given very poor show timings. There was not a show that suited the conventional audience. Plus there is the ‘Adults’ censor certification. That automatically puts off a major chunk of the audience,” says Mehta.