Films | Movie Reviews | Attacks of 26/11 – Movie Review

Attacks of 26/11 – Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on March 2, 2013 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Parag Sanghavi
DIRECTOR – Ram Gopal Varma
WRITER – Ram Gopal Varma, Rommel Rodrigues
CAST – Nana Patekar, Sanjeev Jaiswal, Atul Kulkarni, Ganesh Yadav, Saad Orhan, Ravi Kale, Asif Basra
MUSIC – Rooshin Dalal, Amar Mohile, Vishal R Khosla, Sushil R Khosla, Mohan Khan

For an event that shook our nation’s conscience by its sheer audacity and heinousness, the attacks of 26/11 make a story worth telling. It was an event whose precedent was set in the multiple regional, religious and political events the world had experienced over decades. It was not a story of India and Lashkar-e-Toiba alone, it was a crime against humanity.

In his reconstruction of the events that happened on the fateful night, Ram Gopal Verma chooses to place his camera behind the lens of a humane perspective. His spokesperson is the Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police (Nana Patekar), modelled on Rakesh Maria. The events unfold from his perspective as he narrates his story to a panel enquiring his handling of the situation. Bit by bit he reconstructs every event in painstaking detail and we watch them unfold interspersed with his account.

It is clear the intention of the film is in the right place. It has a very sober tone that underlines the stark pointblank multiple murders and the ferocity of the evil unleashed. The film is clear that it is a telling of the events of that day alone, and does so at a deliberate pace but without any panache. In real life, the attacks were covered in so much detail that as spectators nothing was left to the imagination. Inherently, the day’s events aren’t surrounded by any curiosity for us. Yet, there is no careful build-up of tension and drama to sustain the narrative and the effect then is flat and plain. Such is the unimaginativeness of the staging that what is rousing in our memories leaves us cold and desensitised while watching it onscreen.

Everything around Nana Patekar falls flat making him tower over the cardboard cutouts he is surrounded with. Even his own performance, although nuanced and balanced, is clearly not what we know him to be capable of, but even in the mess he holds the film together. As for the others, the acting is simply abysmal and mostly a case of wrong casting. There is even Atul Kulkarni wasted on a completely useless role; one wonders about the inspiration behind that casting.

Among the shambles of RGV’s favourite over-the-top music score and in-control but still truant ‘rogue’ camera, one thing strikes home and that is the sincerity with which the maker has balanced the rhetoric of the film. Speaking and mourning from a humane perspective, the film chooses to stay away from the larger religio-political issues and limits itself by focussing on the misplaced idealism of jihad. In a somewhat simplistic narrative treatment, the spokesmen of each sides get his turn at the dias, first the terrorist – the perpetrator of evil and then the Commissioner – the upholder of justice. Their speeches are carefully written, the writing and direction espousing a pleasant objectivity. Unfortunately, it leads to no good, with the entire ship sinking fast, this rather important exchange, which could have become the crux of the story, simply gets waylaid.

Despite Ram Gopal Verma’s good intentions, all we are left with is an extremely amateurish film that acts neither as a spur nor balm and says nothing new.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

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