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The Attacks Of 26/11  : Bloody Intent
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Friday, March 1, 2013
Crime, Thriller
Ram Gopal Varma
Nana Patekar, Sanjeev Jaiswal, Atul Kulkarni, Ganesh Yadav and Jitendra Joshi
26/11/2008, the fateful day when Mumbai was left at the mercy of a handful of bloodthirsty young terrorists, will be etched forever in the memory of every Indian. But will Ram Gopal Varma’s effort to immortalise it on celluloid be as indelible in anybody’s memory?

The plot: 10 terrorists armed to the teeth took the sea route from Pakistan to Mumbai with only one goal: kill as many people as you can, maro ya maaro (kill or die killing). Hear the murderous mayhem created in India’s commercial capital from the deposition by the then Joint Commissioner of Police before a committee, as the terror team gunned down men, women, kids, mercilessly all over South Mumbai. And watch it as they menaced their way through the high seas right until the only terrorist caught alive goes to the gallows.

The good: RGV’s intent was perhaps laudable in wanting to put on record the shameful terror plot that was hatched across the border. And Amar Mohile’s background music somewhat supports the mood of the film.

The bad: The basic question asked would be, has RGV got something new to tell, something that hasn’t already been seen umpteen times as TV news bytes or as a National Geographic documentary? The answer to that is a disappointing, ‘No’.

What RGV does come up with is his usual stand issue gore – heads being split open in slow motion, blood spurting out, a red sea all over the Taj, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and other spots, dead dogs and kids… we’re sure you get the bloody picture. Unable to cram in all of it, Ramu lingers so much on the stomach-churning bloodshed everywhere that important points of attack like Nariman House and the Trident are only mentioned in passing. The camerawork (Harshraj Shroff) is clumsy with RGV’s stock, shaky hand-held shots all over, and close-ups that don’t add to the narration. 

Nana Patekar (as the Joint Commissioner) needs no introduction for his acting skills but has little space to perform. In fact his incredibly slow pace of dialogue delivery is painful on the ear. Sanjeev Jaiswal as Kasab has indeed a striking resemblance to the Pak terrorist but with his gnarled expressions, foul language and filmi dialogues, he looks more like a screen villain than the real Kasab. Ajmal Kasab, as per news reports, showed no remorse over what he did. Ramu has him weeping over his dead brothers and bantering with the Joint Commissioner on the rights and the wrongs of his ideology, all of which only make you squirm restlessly. Ideally, the film should have ended with the date Kasab was hanged.

Instead RGV goes on and on until he is shown hanging, thereby shifting sympathy to him and reducing the impact of the havoc wrecked on the city.

Ultimately, the noble intent one may have awarded Ramu at the beginning is negated, as the 26/11 attacks only seem to have been picked up by the filmmaker to give full vent to his predilection for splattering the screen with blood and bits of human flesh.

Overall: If you think this is the kind of terror attack that needed to be documented, RGV with his bloody intent was not the man for the job.

– Priyanka Ketkar
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