Interview By: Hasti Doshi
Hansal Mehta is an Indian film director & writer. He started his career in television and later moved on to movies. Hansal Mehta is best known for film ‘Shahid’ for which he won the 2013 National Film Award for Best Direction. He then went on to direct ‘City Lights’, ‘Simran’ and now coming up with ‘Omerta’. We had a quick conversation with him regarding his upcoming film and his connection with Rajkummar Rao. Excerpts-
“Raj, Ranbir and Ranveer the three R’s along with Varun are this generation’s phenomenal actors”
How did the clear vision and story of “Omerta” came to you?
I guess in 2005 when Mukul Dev told me the story and since then it’s developing, we are writing, researching and all other work. Also I feel the film is made when it is supposed to be made, I struggled a lot to make this film and then I let it go. Later ‘Shahid’ was made and more others. I think this was the time when Rajkummar is in my life and my films, I am glad I made this film with Rajkummar. This is the time when he is riding his way towards popularity and people are waiting to watch his next work and this is the right time for me to do this film.
Is Rajkummar always your option for this film and also for your other upcoming films?
I didn’t know him before Shahid happened, and now I have worked with him in four films and one web series. And it’s always good to work with him.
How would you describe Raj as an actor?
I would say, he is one of the most finest actors we have right now in this generation. Raj, Ranbir and Ranveer the three R’s along with Varun are this generation’s phenomenal actors. The variety of roles he does is amazing and he tackles different sort of subjects and his confidence is great. People are slowly warming upto him and I felt if this film was done earlier when no one knew him wouldn’t have such great impact. Playing an out and out villian in a film is a challenge and only Rajkummar would have done that.
Do you feel this totally hatred and negative role would affect his image as an actor?
I don’t think so, for me it’s just a role and a story. He agreed for it and it was great. Yes it is a challenge for him and us but that’s what works for anyone.
To bring Omar on screen, how did you go about it?
I researched and spoke to few people around. Also there has been a lot of research again for that which takes time and it was quite difficult, but finally that’s how a character sketch is made. You have to find your way to a narrative, then the actor takes up the written work and interprets in his way and that’s what has happened on this one too. Raj has interpreted in his way which seems too close to how Omar really was.
Omar is totally a negative character, but as our Indian cinema has always shown some good in bad, is there something similar in this case?
No it’s totally a negative character and there’s no positive shown in the film. He is a family man and loves his father, his father is sad about the things he does and tries to get him back but couldn’t. It’s a paradox. In Padmavat the main focus was on the sacrifice of padmavati, but people celebrated Allaudin Khilji character because in that film there was a balance of negative and positive together, but in Omerta it’s more of negative, so it was a challenge.
It’s your third biopic, are you thinking to try out of that zone?
I don’t see them as biopics, there are just stories to me and the ones that fascinate me, I take those. Everything is different the storytelling, actor and motive. So I don’t think of making a fiction or biopic, I think of how to convey the story. My ideas, vision, story and direction is based on more of real life.
Are you working on any projects for now?
I am working on a couple of things.