Attacks of 26-11

Written by: Ram Gopal Varma & Rommel Rodrigues
Directed by: Ram Gopal Varma
Starring: Nana Patekar, Sanjeev Jaiswal

Ram Gopal Varma is back with his new movie The Attacks of 26/11. After a spate of non-performing movies, he helms the project which deals with the sensitive topic of one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on Indian soil. It happened in Mumbai, leaving over 166 people dead and more than 250 people injured. Given the theme, which is so sensitive, the movie is a huge risk and can result in a massive backlash from the critics and public alike if not presented well. So how does it fair? It does pack a punch, but it had the potential to do much more.

For starters, the movie does not exactly trace the entirety of 26/11's events. It concentrates entirely on the lone inhuman terrorist Kasab, who was captured alive by the Mumbai Police. In the movie, the entire sequence of events that happened through the attack is explained by the Joint Commissioner of Police (Played by Nana Patekar) to a Bench comprising of his seniors. The movie traces the path of the terrorist Kasab from the point he gets onboard a boat en route to India to wreck havoc in Mumbai, to his self realization and his end--hanged as a repenting prisoner disowned by his land (Karachi, Pakistan) and guilty of committing mass-murder.

The first half of the movie is excellent and engrossing. The screenplay is gripping. The sequence of events depicted in the movie would make any human being's heart cringe given the fact that what's being shown on screen actually happened. As per reports, the sequences shown in the movie have been extremely well researched and reconstructed and one can definitely feel the pain of the innocent victims who were involved in the tragedy.

Acting-wise, Nana Patekar--who has most of the screen time--performs very well and fits the role perfectly. His dialogue delivery and the effect it has is amazing. Special note to the sequence towards the climax where he takes Kasab to the morgue to make him meet his nine dead partners...and also when he explains the "The Holy Quran" and its actual meaning to Kasab. The biggest disappointment of the movie was Sanjeev Jaiswal, who played Kasab. During the first half, he emotes a lot through his eyes, and makes one hate him to the core. However, he overacts and goes totally overboard during the interrogation scene, which made me sit back and get disconnected from the proceedings. This is a shame, as until then the movie absorbs one totally into it!

The background score is apt and works well. As the disclaimer right at the beginning says: the movie is about a few people who do not have any religion or cannot be called humans due to their barbaric acts and it rightfully treads that path. The dialogues are well written; adequate care has been taken by the writers and makers to ensure that the film does not hurt the sentiments of people of any religion. The dialogues towards the climax in the morgue are incredibly worthy!

Ram Gopal Varma delivers; this is one of his better works. His trademark camera angles are again a part of the movie which certainly adds a bit of discomfort! Also another sore point I mentioned earlier: thanks to the title, one expects to gain insight into the entire happenings of 26/11, but then the makers concentrate completely on the lone terrorist and totally ignore the sacrifices of the brave NSG Commandos who laid down their lives while smoking out the terrorists from the Taj.

Overall, the movie based on the tragedy that befell over the people of India is well made, makes your heart cringe at the loss of human lives, and displays the inhuman nature of the terrorists and how they are brainwashed into causing such mayhem. It has an engrossing first half, wonderful dialogues and an extremely good climax--the aberration being an over-the-top Sanjeev Jaiswal and the fact that it does not given an insight into the entire attack.