Bollywood film recreates Mumbai attacks of 2008

Fri Mar 1, 2013 4:08pm EST
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A dramatized Bollywood account of the Mumbai attacks of 2008, when 166 people died in a three-day rampage, opened in Indian cinemas on Friday to present an unusually emotive tale told from the perspective of a police officer.

"The Attacks of 26/11" chronicles the events that began on November 26 2008, when 10 gunmen went on a killing spree throughout the coastal city, attacking two luxury hotels, a train station and a Jewish center, among other places.

It is the latest in a recent spate of Bollywood movies taking inspiration from real-life incidents, a practice that used to be unusual. Just over the last few years, there have been films on the gruesome murder of a model and a daring bank heist.

The film's director, Ram Gopal Varma, said he decided to make the film to try and answer questions about how a small handful of attackers was able to lay siege to a vast metropolis the size of Mumbai.

"How can 10 men hold a city of 1.5 crore (15 million) people to siege? That is something everyone should know," Varma told Reuters.

The film focuses on the city police and their response to the attacks, for which India blames the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, with veteran actor Nana Patekar playing a high ranking Mumbai police officer referred to only as "joint police commissioner."

Patekar's character, based on a real policeman, narrates the film, which portrays in graphic detail how the hapless police force, caught completely unawares, struggles to cope with an attack of such enormity.

At one point he frantically tells a government official, "I don't know what to do."   Continued...

People walk underneath a promotional billboard for Ram Gopal Varma's film "The Attacks of 26/11" by a roadside in Mumbai February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash