‘The Attacks of 26/11’ review: A moving sketch of ghastly terror attacks

Resham Sengar

The dreadful terror attacks on November 26, 2008 that rocked not just the city of Mumbai but also the entire nation, have indeed left an indelible scar on each and every one of us. The ghastly episode shook one and all leaving us emotionally drained. ‘The Attacks of 26/11’, a film by Ram Gopal Varma, recreates the terrifying events on celluloid. The filmmaker has categorically said that the film is a tribute to the incident and rightly so, for he has been able to sensibly weave sentiments attached to the event.

Nana Patekar has essayed the role of the then Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police, Rakesh Maria, to unfold the events that had occurred on that ill-fated night.

A pensive Nana as Rakesh Maria initiates investigations by connecting the chain of events to unravel - how the attackers stepped onto the shores of Mumbai, the strategy they employed to execute their plan of killing as many people as possible, how the Mumbai police force and the government dealt with the terrorists – in a very crisp yet in-depth manner. The focus keeps shifting back and forth from Rakesh Maria to the actual events with the former reflecting deeply and presenting his insights over the happenings.

He briefs the viewers about what is going to unfold, ponders on the details of the dreadful event, and comes up with valid reasons to support his actions. In its running time, the makers have focused on covering the entire episode of the Mumbai attacks till the death of Ajmal Kasab in 2012.

The movie superbly throws light on the many aspects of terrorism in a mature and moving way. The film highlights how the ulterior motive of the terrorists is self-centred, their philosophy is hypocritical and how no one can escape the deadly paws of terrorism. For example, there is a sequence showing the attackers incessantly shooting the innocent crowd at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and how they spared none - be the burqa-clad Muslim women, the Hindu priest, the rich and the poor, the foreign nationals, children and even animals.

It is a film that is completely performance driven. I would like to throw a word of praise for the casting director here. Debutante Sanjeev Jaiswal, as one of the two key members of the cast, has worked extremely well to portray Ajmal Kasab`s character onscreen. For Nana, this film substantiates the fact that he can pull off thoughtful, powerful and serious roles like a pro.

After a string of flops, for RGV (who had earlier delivered successful films like ‘Satya’, ‘Company’) this is a comeback of sorts. `The Attacks of 26/11` will help the filmmaker redeem the ‘brilliant director’ tag. Now I know why he said that this film has been his most challenging project till date. Because recreating terror and its aftermath on celluloid is no mean feat!

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