The footage of smoke billowing from the Hotel Taj during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks is etched in many people’s memory. Since then, several documentaries have shed light on the 26/11 attacks offering perspectives from the security forces and people who were basically in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, once again a sense of rage and distress engulfed me as I watched the first two episodes of Stage of Siege 26/11, the latest offering from ZEE5.
Starting before the dawn of November 26, Stage of Siege 26/11 covers the three days of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The narrative switches back and forth to show how the terrorists conducted the attack and how the security forces prepared to fight them. It really does capture what it feels like to have gun-wielding men walking towards you and watching dead bodies lying around you.
Amid this tension and horror, the web series takes you to the police headquarters and the headquarters of National Security Guard commandos and documents how the armed forces worked towards thwarting the plans of the terrorists. It also touches upon the loopholes in the security of landmarks such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, Cama Hospital, Leopold Cafe, Taj Hotel and Tower and Oberoi-Trident Hotel.
As real-life events unravel, you are reminded that there are certain aspects which are dramatised. Such as NSG commando Mani, played by Arjun Bijlani, goes into flashback mode when his mistake led to fellow commandos dying. Then, you are introduced to family members, tourists and people at the hotel who eventually lose their lives. In building this story, the pace of State of Siege 26/11 suffers.
State of Siege 26/11 gives you a stirring visual account of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Since we know it is not only about the victims but also the armed forces, it compels you to keep watching to understand how the security forces of the country came together to save the lives of people, kill nine terrorists and capture Ajmal Kasab alive.
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