The Attacks Of 26/11 Movie Review by Joginder Tuteja
How does one really begin to review a film like the Attacks of 26/11? Personally for me at least it has been a tough task to accomplish. A tragedy, which happened in real, to be brought on fore in a manner so compelling that it just makes you sit and stare at screen for long even as the end credits start rolling, is hardly the kind that you wish to revisit. However the manner in which Ram Gopal Varma recounts the horror from the past makes you stare wide eyed at screen even as bullets continue to be sprayed from all directions.
Wide eyed – this is exactly how I reacted to the film as the events unfolded. Call it a dramatic adaptation but one thing can be said for sure that reality would have been much more troubling than what one sees on screen. In fact to just imagine how the barbaric act would have taken place in reality is enough to make you throw up. While RGV doesn’t go to that extreme in his story telling (a right move, as a treatment a la Rakht Charita would have trivialised the issue) the fact remains that as a viewer you don’t skip a beat when frames continue to move at a rapid pace.
This means right from the time terrorists enter Indian shores via sea to the manner in which they spread out to areas in and around Taj bring you on the edge of the seat. However what follows next is something that you just can’t fathom even though hours of software is available around what actually unfolded that night.
As a result, the terror that unfolds at Leopald Cafe and an eyewitness recount of what really happened sets the stage for rest of the first half that follows. So whether it is the massacre at Taj to the firing at the CST to the encounter at Cama hospital, you stare at screen with disbelief. In fact as these unnerving sequences unfold, you wonder how it was sheer audacity in play when a few youngsters unleashed terror just on the power of guns in their hands.
Of course the film is not at all meant for the weak hearted since the entire two hours that follow are laden with disturbing sequences. So right from the point when a foreigner couple is shot down in Taj to a female staff getting killed in her attempt to save a kid to the entire scene unfolding from the eye of a girl to the sheer helplessness felt by a lone surviving cop at CST, there is no breather whatsoever. However most chilling is the point where a slum inhabitant is shot down seconds after terrorists had water at his place. Disgusting!
Meanwhile it is Nana Patekar who holds centrestage during the enquiry that actually narrates the series of events. He is superbly controlled, showcases the humane side of the cops and dons a perfect body language of a man who is perplexed by what indeed happened that night. Moreover he never once tries to ‘be Nana Patekar’, something that works tremendously in bringing on screen a character rather than a filmy figure. As for Sanjeev Jaiswal, he does get into a filmy zone at times but then given the circumstances, one can well imagine that as a man possessed, the real life Kasab could well have been as dramatic as is portrayed on screen. Moreover, despite ‘The Attacks of 26/11’ getting into a ‘movie zone’ intermittently in the second half, you don’t mind the shift in narration since both the monologues, first by Sanjeev and later by Nana, are thoroughly chilling.
Meanwhile as a storyteller Ram Gopal Varma ensures that he gets the core essence of the film right and two pillars supporting him are the background score (Amar Mohile) and action (Javed Aejaz). While former keeps changing pace as per the need of a scene, latter is bloody and gory, something that was the core requirement of a film like this.
Of course there are certain episodes that aren’t touched upon, most imprtantly the hostage situation that had erupted at Taj. Now that would have given further insight into what indeed happened in the hours that followed, especially the psyche of the terrorists who were controlling the affairs from inside. However it is apparent that RGV wanted to restricted his scope and had no itentions of going beyond the night of 26/11. Given the kind of content which is in the offering here, one doesn’t foresee any sequel to be covering that aspect.
In theatres the film has opened on the lower side, something which was expected considering the fact that especially in India, real life tragic tales like these can’t really find audience in hordes on the very first day. Moreover, the sheer violent content of the film, especially since it is fact and not fiction being told, would also restrict audience. However for those who have a stomach to relive a gory past like this all over again the film warrants a view for sure.
Did you watch The Attacks Of 26/11? Post your reviews in the comments section below.