With exceptional direction, production, a stellar cast and beautiful writing, this riveting tale aka Mumbai Diaries 26/11 retells the horrors of the attack from the medical perspective.
A terrorist attack took place almost 13 years ago in the ‘Sapon ka Sher’, Mumbai that brought it to a standstill. It shook the city and the country to its core and it was a terrorizing 60 hours that we hope we never have to relive. While most of us were stuck to the Idiot Boxes at home, there were many kids who didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. And while this attack has been retold many times, it hasn’t ever been told from a medical perspective in the forefront. Maybe after the pandemic, we realize the power and the struggles of the medical front. Mumbai Diaries 26/11 tells us the story of the people who look at human bodies and not the character.
A government hospital with tainted walls crowded with patients, smelly toilets and construction going on, and a limited medical supply, these places usually are a battlefield in India for the medical staff without even a terrorist attack. Imagine if such a place is under attack and bodies start piling up in there! What wins in this show is humanity and kindness over a war that is going on and there are no heroes in this show but there are no villains as well, there are just normal human beings with their own demons. On one side there are brainwashed terrorists with guns in their hands shooting continuously as per order. And on the other side of the battlefield, the city’s various professions, from policemen, doctors, hotel staff, and innocent people to media doing what they think is best. Sexism, casteism, communalism, blind ambition, greed, selfishness, insecurity, deceit, courage, kindness, bravery, caring, fight- everything is at play here. What’s makes this series more of a reality rather than fiction is its moments of moving on from the experiences. Whether it was the death of somebody or 60 hours of being under attack, it changed something in each one of them but not too much to ride on a high horse of moralism or idealism.
With names changed, the makers Nikhil Gonsalves and Nikkhil Advani with Anushka Mehrotra find a perfect balance in telling this riveting tale of fact and fiction. Over the period of eight episodes, the series recreates the horror that the city was under piece by piece. With long continuous tracking shots and cuts between the hotel and the hospital (the two locations the series focuses on) DOP Kaushal Shah and editor, Maahir Zaveri keeps us at the edge of our seats with an immersive experience. Each character has a particular theme that is a major character in their life but doesn’t become so of the series. Each and every cast member is befitting for the role they are playing. From Mohit Raina being the rule-breaker Dr. Kaushik to social worker Das by Konkana Sen Sharma to interns Natasha Bharadwaj, Satyajeet Dubey, Mrunmayee Deshpande to irritating media person Mansi by Shreya Dhanwanthary to Tina Desai, Prakash Belawadi, Sandesh Kulkarni.
The production value of the series has to be given a shoutout cause for the first time ever we get to see what the doctors are actually doing onscreen. From surgical operations to hearts being thumped, everything is shown and that is something very new for our country in filmmaking. And the hauntingly beautiful background score with commendable action sequences deserves an applaud as well. The social commentary, the lack of medical facilities for the not-so-privileged class, everyone’s own professional and personal dilemma, and a terrorist attack. Nothing was done to death to make it sensational, neither was it underthrown the bus as well. This series tells a tale where your heart is in your mouth at times and at times you are in a pool of tears. Watching this series where humanity wins under such stressing and pressuring situations makes your heart heavy but also makes it warm.
But enough from us let’s see what the Janta has to say about Mumbai Diaries 26/11!
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