The Attacks Of 26/11 is based on the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. It is the cinematic interpretation of the tragic events of 26th November, when 9 trained terrorists held Mumbai hostage for 60 hours causing Mumbai under terror.
The Attacks Of 26/11 is based on the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. It is the cinematic interpretation of the tragic events of 26th November, when 9 trained terrorists held Mumbai hostage for 60 hours causing Mumbai under terror. less
“The Attacks of 26/11 is a disturbing reconstruction of the terrorist attacks and one of RGV's better films. Watch it if you can sit through an intense experience.”
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The Attacks of 26/11 should have just been called: Attack. I'll leave you to figure why. It is based on the terrorist attack in Mumbai on 26th November 2008. When I am being shown a film based on tragic events like this, it better be a great film, anything less is unacceptable. I'm not expecting a masterpiece but I'm only expecting a film that deserves to be its cinematic representation. It must be informative, powerful and leave me with questions. It would help if there is a plot, or a story or at least we get to know some characters who are affected by it. I did get a cinematic depiction but the information given was something TV news channels had already done. There is no plot, just an arc highlighting the events from the attacks to the final resolution, which occurred in November 2012. There are two characters - the hero and the villain. But we don't get to know them; or what we do get to know is unimaginative and tawdry to say the least. If you want to witness disturbing images, you get them.
For most part of the film I was angry, I did not want to see these events again. I was living in Bombay during the attacks. The streets were chillingly empty, the atmosphere was excruciatingly tense. For weeks we were glued to the news or hearing horrifying anecdotes. Do we want to relive that again? I did not wish for old wounds to be reopened. If nothing, wounds should be healed. Filmmakers must understand mass tragedies are not the best subjects for films. Nobody wants to see it all again unless you have some sadistic wish of hitting the raw nerves, or actually squishing and badgering them.
It seems Ram Gopal Varma has no idea about any of this. Sure some catharsis is offered in the end but is it really? Adding to that, filmmaking skills are entirely abandoned. The scenes are directed so poorly I was having a hard time believing this was one of India's best filmmakers at a point. Lots of intense music and over the top ideologies being thrown back and forth. It's not that it doesn't work, given the subject, but it doesn't work well either... given the subject.
Nana Patekar plays a police commissioner. We seem him speaking to an inanimate committee about the events that occurred. This framing device literally spoon-feeds the audience with what they should feel. He talks in histrionics, telling us what to feel and when. Really now? We already had a sense of what happened in 2008, now we are going to be told to feel something? Don't we already feel strongly about it? At a point in the film Nana Patekar fixes himself in front of TV screens showing the news and he just looks on, not knowing what to think or what to do about it. RGV expects the audience to be zombies like this. We don't need to think, just watch the images with our mouths open.
There are 4 scenes which show the actual shootings, one at Leopold Caf\xe9, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus and Cama Hospital. These scenes are just sensational visual reconstructions. These are distressing sequences but must I see a child crying in the middle of this mayhem while the terrorists wait and let Ramu have his dramatic moment? Why must I see a scene where terrorists ask innocents for water and then shoot them? Probably because Ramu showing a couple of terrorists shooting people and then going into their house to get water wouldn't be dramatic enough. The intermission comes at a point where a police constable looks at the carnage at CST and sits down to weep uncontrollably. This angered me to the bone. What sort of sadism is this? Why is he bawling like he was in an episode of a melodramatic and tacky television soap manipulating his way into the audience's vulnerable emotions? I refuse to believe that the events occurred like this.
Ben Affleck said in an interview recently that a filmmaker's career can be like a tuning fork. You hit it and it buzzes for a while and then it stops. When they hit their peak, they produce their best work (Unless you are Stanley Kubrick and tread carefully and turn everything you touch into gold). Ram Gopal Varma is the prefect example. His period ended with Sarkar (2005). Good movies came occasionally, like Rann (2010). He had the perfect opportunity to redeem himself and salvage his career from utter ruin but it's clear as day that his time is over. I wonder if this film was made during his peak, if we could have actually got a good film.
The tricky part with a film like this is if you give it a bad review it could be taken in the wrong way. I am only talking about the quality of the film here. I wish I was recommending it because I thought it was a great film, but it isn't. Using a country's collective trauma and amplifying it is not my idea of a film. Shame on RGV.