‘I saw YouTube videos to prepare for Masood Azhar: Sanjay Mehta

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 May 2018 09:56:56


By Pallavi Singh

THEATRE artist of Bhopal, Sanjay Mehta playing the role of Masood Azhar in the film ‘Omerta’. The film which is gaining accolades for the powerful subject and actors like Mehta playing the significant role of terrorist Masood Azhar, who convinces Omar Saeed Sheikh to join ISIS.
Sanjay Mehta has played role of a terrorist in the critically acclaimed ‘Filmistaan’ and has also acted in films like ‘Mohalla Assi’ and ‘Waah Taj’. Mehta is playing role of Masood Azhar- who is the founder and leader of the UN designated terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, active mainly in Pakistani administered Azad Kashmir. Pakistani authorities took him into protective custody after Pathankot attack in India. Talking about the role he said, “This film is based on real life events of Omar Saeed and how he got connected to ISIS through Masood, which is my character. Because the film is based on real life I wanted to bring character closer to the portrayal for which I saw videos of Masood Azhar’s speeches on YouTube to understand his style of speaking and how he convinced people to join ISIS.”

Mehta got the role through audition. He sent the audition recording to casting director Mukesh Chhabra. The role basically requires good Urdu as Mehta is from theatrical background it was never a problem. On asking how his role of terrorist in Filmistaan was different from this role he said, “In ‘Filmistaan’ the character of terrorist had no name and identity. But in this role, a definite identity has to be portrayed as it is a biographical film. The major part was how he convinces people which had to be studied specifically for the role. Costumes also differed in both the roles. In this role, I donned specks like the real Masood Azhar.” Talking about the working experience with Rajkumar Rao he said, “I have total five scenes in the film out of which two are with Rajkumar Rao. He is a very down to earth man. He is a good human and artist as well. Generally people get arrogant after tasting success but he is a very polite.”

On the question of him playing the role of villain in films like Waah Taj and Filmistaan and the fear of being type casted he said, “Generally the way you look and the roles that you get are opposite. The role of a villain is closer to character role and it has many shades. For example the role of terrorist in Filmistaan was completely different from the role of Masood Azhar. As an actor it gives lot of scope as far as acting is concerned.” Talking about the controversy regarding Mohalla Assi he said, “Parts of the movie posted on net by someone and people made an opinion on basis of that. Wgen they will see the full movie their opinion will change. Film has a point of view and everybody is free to put forth their point of view, politics should not be involved in it. When Hansal Mehta went to censor board for ‘Omerta’ he had said- Meri film ko katiye mat, A certificate de dijiye”.

Mehta is working on other projects for which conversation is ongoing. “I do not know about the role but they said that I will have to shave my beard for it. Let us see how it goes,” he added on a lighter note.