Saturday, March 02, 2013

Movie Review: The Attacks of 26/11

26/11 struck very close to most Indians - whether it was the fact that it killed some of our best officers, or whether it was the fact that it hit the beautiful Taj, or simply because it was broadcast live into our homes for almost 100 hours. Terror was no longer faceless, the image of Kasab brandishing the AK47 at CST meant that the terrorist was very much a recognizable face and person.

Sadly, in a way that only RGV can, The Attacks of 26/11 takes such a powerful subject, so close to our hearts, and manages to deliver it in a way that evokes neither passion not patriotism, that exposes neither fact nor perspectives, that presents neither action nor story. All it does is shock us with gallons of tomato sauce poured over dozens of exploding human bodies. It presents the attacks from the perspective of JCP, Mumbai (Rakesh Maria) deposing before an inquiry commission, but focuses only on the first few hours of the attack, and primarily on Kasab, until his arrest. Maria then lectures Kasab a couple of times, and the movie ends with his hanging.

There is no mention of Chabad House, or of the Oberoi. No coverage of the Taj horror except the carnage in the lobby on day one, with the screaming of a child the overriding theme of the scene. That, the attack on Leopold Cafe, the attack on CST, and at Cama Hospital, is covered in gory detail - but only aspects that lead to blood and gore. There is no mention of the brave announcer at CST, who saved dozens of lives with his persistent announcements, in the face of grave threats to his own life. There is no coverage of the NSG's action. No coverage of the brave actions of the Taj staff. No tribute to the brave men and women who laid down their lives. No human stories. Only faceless, nameless victims and the helpless, clueless Mumbai police. At one point, a desperate Rakesh Maria screams to his govt bosses - it's not about whether we can do it or we cannot do it, the thing is, I dont know what to do!

Perhaps most silly is the message after the movie ends - how the commission appreciated the work of the JCP, and how he was promoted to Head, ATS shortly afterwards. Instead of honoring the bravehearts

Nana Patekar as Rakesh is strangely subdued and restrained, and the most interesting part of the movie is his sermon to Kasab, among the bodies of his 9 killed co-conspirators, where he lectures him on Islam, Jihad and Jannat.

The rest of the cast, the acting, the action, the cinematography, the presentation is rank amateur to say the least. The soundtrack is jarring and deafening, ensuring you will be shaken by the noise, if not the tomato sauce. And when it comes to detail - when you have a XUV 500, which was perhaps not even on the drawing board in 2008, parked outside Leopold - that says everything, doesn't it?

You have Mumbai Meri Jaan, you have Black Friday, and then you have RGV's 26/11. A very, very poor effort, even by his own standards.

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