Is Operation Romeo Based on a True Story?

Directed by Shashant Shah, Netflix’s Indian film ‘Operation Romeo’ centers around Aditya Sharma and Neha Kasliwal, a couple who gets confronted by a policeman while they share an intimate time. The cop accuses them of threatening the morality of society and harasses them. The 2022 film progresses through Aditya’s attempts to take revenge on the policeman, only to learn more about his personal life. The romantic film explores several significant concerns like moral policing and misogyny in an Indian context. Since Aditya and Neha’s story is highly relatable, the viewers must want to know whether the film has real-life origins. Let’s find out!

Is Operation Romeo a True Story?

‘Operation Romeo’ is partially based on a true story. The film is the official remake of the Malayalam-language Indian film ‘Ishq,’ directed by Anuraj Manohar and written by Ratheesh Ravi. As per reports, the premise of ‘Ishq’ is partially based on an incident faced by Ratheesh. The screenwriter then developed the narrative of the film with Anuraj, enhancing it with fictional characters and their storylines. According to the screenwriter, moral policing incidents happen to numerous individuals in society, which inspired him to shape the narrative of the original film.

‘Operation Romeo’ explores and questions moral policing. In an interview with The Indian Express, producer Neeraj Pandey said that “all of us have faced something like this [moral policing] in our lives, in different degrees,” which makes the film a relatable one. In the Indian context, even though the Constitution doesn’t permit moral policing, the associated harassments are scarily common. Numerous couples and women have gotten questioned and harassed by civilian individuals or groups, threatening the victims’ constitutional rights by intruding into their privacy.

Like Neha in the film, several women in India have been getting targeted and assaulted by the “moral police.” Often, individuals get questioned about their relationships, nature of the relationships, alleged public displays of affection, etc., which results in traumatic consequences. Both ‘Ishq’ and ‘Operation Romeo’ also explore how women, emotionally and physically, are targeted in a misogynistic society by predatory men.

Both Ishq’ and ‘Operation Romeo’ not only question the actions of the policeman characters but also of the male protagonist, Sachidhanandan and Aditya respectively, who stoops to misogyny as the film progresses. Aditya or Sachidhanandan’s intrusion into the policeman’s life to exact vengeance on him, threatening the privacy and life of his wife, shows how women end up getting targeted and harmed without even being involved in the predicament. Aditya, like Sachidhanandan, retaliates against the policeman who harassed him and Neha by harassing his wife, which makes him no different from the cop.

‘Ishq’ and ‘Operation Romeo’ also offer a distinct take on romantic relationships. According to Anuraj Manohar, ‘Ishq’ questions male possessiveness and ego present in relationships. Both Sachidhanandan and Aditya are possessive boyfriends, whose nature gets eventually questioned by their respective girlfriends. Both characters succeed in portraying the gender dynamics present in contemporary Indian relationships.

The real-life inspired origin and fictional characters of ‘Operation Romeo’ make the film a commendable blend of fiction and reality. The Shashant Shah directorial explores one of the most significant concerns faced by India’s youth, moral policing, with a nuanced narrative.

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