‘The Attacks of 26/11’ Gets Mixed Reviews from Critics

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By IB Times Staff Reporter | March 2, 2013 8:44 PM EST

"The Attacks of 26/11" directed by Ram Gopal Varma is crime-thriller based on 2008 Mumbai attack. Sanjeev Jaiswal, who has worked in TV serials, plays the controversial character of Ajmal Kasab. The film has received mixed reviews from critics.

Here is what critics have to say about RGV's "The Attacks of 26/11":

Tushar Joshi of DNA said: "Remember those images of Ram Gopal Varma at the Taj hotel after the 26/11 attacks? The director was at the site of the terrorist strike to do research, but was tagged as insensitive for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. One would have hoped that perhaps he would have used that knowledge and understanding as a reference for this film.

"Unfortunately, The Attacks of 26/11 ends up being a confused piece of work that has neither the well researched methodology of a documentary nor the dramatics of a feature film.With the first eight minutes of the film already released in advance, we know the story is narrated as a deposition of the Joint Commissioner of Police (Nana Patekar) in front of a jury.

"The Attacks of 26/11 feels like a over decorated half baked dish that has the right ingredients and toppings but lacks the taste to titillate your appetite."

Trisha Gupta of Firstpost said: "Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, who infamously managed to gain access to the Taj Hotel-the most well-known site of the Mumbai attacks-a mere three days after, has now directed a film that recreates the events of that first fateful night. Varma's terror-tourism may have been in shockingly bad taste, but as he has repeatedly said, his visit has had no role to play in the making of the film, which contains absolutely no actual footage and relies instead on the dramatic recreation of events.

"Varma leaves absolutely no doubt as to where his affiliations lie: he tells the story not through the eyes of any of the hundreds of victims or survivors, but through those of the Joint Commissioner of Police (the real-life Rakesh Maria, here given a fictitous name and played by the dependably theatrical Nana Patekar). No matter that Maria was not actually witness to any of the events he is "describing" to an enraptured investigatory committee - which, conveniently, never asks a single question, allowing Patekar to hold forth in a series of magisterial monologues, interrupted only when Varma shifts to showing us people dying, at Leopold Café, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the Taj Hotel. The Leopold segment offers up the bizarre frisson of reenactment, because Varma has managed to get the café's actual owner Farhad Jehani to play himself during the shootout. 

"If you want to watch a gripping film on 26/11 that shows you what actually happened and leaves you with a lasting sense of unease - instead of letting us pat ourselves on the back for sacrifice and moving patriotically on - Terror in Mumbai is available on the internet. Watch it."

Taran Adrash of Bollywood Hungama said: "Ramgopal Varma's The Attacks of 26/11 is a cinematic interpretation of the barbaric attacks on 26/11, with the maverick film-maker unfolding the attacks on Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Leopold Cafe, Taj Mahal Hotel and Cama Hospital. Also incorporated in this motion picture is the arrest of Ajmal Kasab, the sole attacker who was captured alive, and his execution by hanging at Yerwada Jail in Pune last year.

"RGV restricts the film to the night of the incident, recording episodes between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., when Kasab was caught at Chowpatty. The movie grabs your attention from the inception itself, when the terrorists hijack an Indian trawler, Kuber, kill the fishermen on board and compel its head to sail towards Mumbai. Though it's impossible to chronicle the events in 2 hours, RGV films the brutal attacks with ferocious passion, conjuring up images that seem straight out of real life. The audacious shootout in the lobby of Taj [replicated at another hotel], the slaughter and mayhem at CST, the blood and gore, each and every sequence that unfolds on screen gives you the goose bumps [this could be a deterrent for those who get put off by too much blood and gore].

"On the whole, THE ATTACKS OF 26/11 is akin to watching the barbaric act in rawest form. The film not only chronicles the terror attacks, but also pays homage to the sentiments of the people of India and especially the heroes and victims of 26/11. A powerful retelling of a regrettable event in history. Do not miss this one!"

Shilpa Jamkhandikar of Reuters said: "Just before the intermission in Ram Gopal Varma's "The Attacks of 26/11", a police constable stumbles around with a rifle, searching for the two gunmen who had just wreaked havoc at Mumbai's busiest train station. He slumps to his feet on the blood-stained floor and lets out a cry of anguish.

"Varma's re-telling of the 26/11 attacks is shown from the point of view of a senior city police officer giving a statement to a government committee set up to investigate the attacks.

"Skip this film and if you really want to know what happened in Mumbai that night, look for the Channel 4 documentary "Terror in Mumbai". Now that's how you tell a story." 

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