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What Happened That NIGHT....
Mar 03, 2013 10:05 AM 6526 Views





26/11 shall always remain as the unforgettable night for Mumbaikars. What initially was reported as a case of ‘random firing’ at few places in South Mumbai turned out to be the most shocking and ruthless terrorist act ever committed on Indian soil. Ram Gopal Varma’s much talked about The Attacks Of 26/11 attempts to chronicle the events that happened on the first night of the attack. Easily, one of the most impactful films from Ram Gopal Varma in recent times. Not to be missed!

The story of the movie: It is business as usual for Amar Solanki (Ganesh Yadav) who is fishing in his trawler Kuber with his crew off the coast of Gujarat. Suddenly, a trawler comprising of Pakistanis hijack Kuber, kill the crew and compel Amar to take a group of men to Mumbai. Around 10-11 kms away from the city, Amar is killed and the terrorists make their way to the coast in a dinghy. The group then gets divided and create mayhem in CST, Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, Hotel Trident, Café Leopold, Nariman House and Cama And Albless Hospital. Only one terrorist, Ajmal Kasab (Sanjeev Jaiswal) is caught alive. On the other hand, the Joint Comissioner (Nana Patekar) is caught completely unawares at the turn of events and tries his best to get things under control, but in vain.

The Attacks Of 26/11 is a 2 hour fare and grips the viewers from the first frame itself. RGV doesn’t hesitate in showing the real picture of the attack and hence expect lots and lots of blood and gore. The Leopold Café sequence leaves viewers numb. So does the Taj carnage scene. In order to avoid repetition, background score is effectively used in the CST sequence with no sound of gun firing at all. The second half gets more brutal as the firing of Cama Hospital, killing of Hemant Karkare-Vijay Salaskar-Ashok Kamte, arrest of Ajmal Kasab and the events thereafter are depicted. There are heavily alterations (but no distortion of facts) in the last 30 minutes. What unfolds on the screen at this point is something that never happened (Kasab was never taken to the morgue). But thankfully, these alterations are worth it. The climax in fact takes the film to a high and induces clap-worthy moments.

Sadly, there are glitches too. There are too many in-your-face and easily avoidable bloopers. Terrorists’ dinghy never passed through Gateway Of India, as shown in a scene in the film. It’s easy to make out that the station shown is Mumbai Central and not CST thanks to the timetable and ‘Western Railway’ signboards that are captured in the scene. Secondly, too much of time is taken by RGV to establish the premise of CST and Taj and to make the viewer’s realize that there are far too many innocent people out there who shall get killed ruthlessly in few minutes. Also, one wished that RGV had not missed out on some important incidents and brave heroes who went beyond their call of duty that night. For eg, Vishnu Zende, the announcer at CST who continuously alerted people of the movement of terrorists in the station premises and thereby helped many leave from the safest exit point. Lastly, the film focuses more on Kasab than any terrorist and yet Ram Gopal Varma choses to conveniently ignore his stint at the footover bridge (where a Times Of India guy took his snap) and his run-off with the cops at Metro Cinema junction. In fact, the latter is shown badly, with the bullet puncturing the car’s tyres. How it happened and who shot the car – no explanations given!

Nana Patekar is strictly okay in the committee sequence and other scenes but shows his brilliance in the climax. Hats off! Sanjeev Jaiswal does great as the ruthless terrorist on a suicide mission. In fact, his outburst and breakdown in the finale takes the film many notches higher. Ganesh Yadav was too good and so were Atul Kulkarni (cop at CST), Ravi Kale (surviving constable in the police Qualis), Jitendra Joshi (constable at CST), Anirudh Harip (doctor at Cama and Albless Hospital), Sunil Jadhav (Deceased constable Tukaram Ombale), Asif Basra (taxi driver) and the actors who play Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte. Leopold Café owner Farzad Jehani too features in the film and proves that he’s a great actor!

Rommel Rodriques, who wrote the story and screenplay (and also the author of book Kasab-The Face Of 26/11), does fine and could had been a classic, had the aforementioned points were not ignored. Dialogues (Rommel Rodriques, Rashid Iqbal, Prashant Pandey) are sharp and convincing. Harshraj Shroff and M Ravichandran’s cinematography is gripping but the video quality is sub-standard and hampers movie watching experience at places. Amar Mohile’s background score and the only track, sung by Sukhwinder Singh and chorus, is neatly woven in the film. Finally, Ram Gopal Varma, despite flaws, comes up with an absolutely riveting fare. He ensures viewers remain engrossed and to an extent, feel the pain that the victims and survivors went through during the carnage. At the same time, he pays tribute to Mumbai Police who did their best that night despite ineffective bullet-proof jackets, lack of training and absence of sophisticated weapons. The scene where constables throw stones in Leopold to ‘ward off’ terrorists is not mocking the cops; it’s showing how the officials tried their best to fight back despite limitations. Yet, one wished that the other heroes of that night had got mention too. Nevertheless, a brave effort by the filmmaker. Way to go!

Some of the best scenes of the film:

  1. Terrorists prepare for the attack on Kuber

  2. The firing at Leopold

  3. The attack at Taj

  4. The attack at CST

  5. The attack at Cama Hospital

  6. Terrorists hijack police vehicle

  7. Kasab arrested at Girgaum Chowpatty

  8. The last 15 minutes

On the whole, The Attacks Of 26/11 is a bold attempt by Ram Gopal Varma that pays off. The two-hour fare grips and makes viewers aware of the horrors that happened on the night of 26/11. However, few incidents of the night are ignored and facts altered at places. Yet, the film makes an impact, especially in the climax, when the film goes to an all-time high. Many have chosen not to see the film for different reasons and ultimately, the film might bomb at the box office. But it’s a victory for Ram Gopal Varma, who has been written off by many. The filmmaker proves his worth and that he’s here to stay and deliver good-quality films. Way to go, RGV!

My rating - * * * ½

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The Attacks of 26/11