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State Of Siege 26/11 ( Zee 5) Review: It Relives What We Don’t Want To Remember!

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State  Of Siege 26/11(Zee5, 8 Episodes)

Starring: Arjun Bajwa, Arjun  Bijlani, Mukul Dev, Tara Alisha Berry

Directed by: Matthew Leutwyler

Created  by  Abhimanyu Singh

Rating: ***(3 stars)

 Films  on  global terror attacks walk that very  slender line between exposition and exploitation . We never know how many films on  9/11,26/11, Nirbhaya , the Nazi holocaust or  the Bhiwandi riots we are in for. And  frankly, we  don’t really hold our breath for these  recreations of historic  catastrophes.

I’ve seen  three previous films on  the  9/11/2008  terror  attack on Mumbai .Ram Gopal Varma’s  The Attacks Of  26/11 in 2013  was authentic but showed the  director’s post-Urmila Matondkar  obsession with his new muse Nana Patekar. Mumbai Hotel last year was a fine albeit fictional replay  of  the actual attack. But the  sight of Dev Patel in a Sikh turban took the shine away  from the film’s  sincerity. And   then there was a smaller  international  film called  One Less God directed by Lliam Worthington which ended  up showing the 26/11 siege’s end with a celebration of Holi on  the streets of Mumbai.

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Holi in  November????

The  new  well-researched though a tad selfconsciously designed web series on 26/11 for Zee5  keeps us  watching through the episodes through a pacy  and well-executed  plot plan . The 8 episodes  move at a brisk  no-nonsense pace  leaving us with  a mildly compelling view  of what felt like to be at one of  the  places attacked by intruders from across the  border on  that fateful night in November.

The  research based on Sandeep Unnithan’s book  Black Tornado The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11is impressively nervewracking in  telling us   just how ruthless the attackers were in their  game-plan of  bloodied  mayhem ,The  counter-terrorism  heroes are justifiably larger than  life. The series shows Colonel Kunal Sahota (Arjan Bajwa) and  Major Nikhil Manikrishnan (Arjun Bijlani) making  split-second decision unheedful of whether  protocol  is strictly being followed or not.

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 The  vulnerability of the  police  force and the army fighting the sophisticated weapons  of  the  terrorist with obsolete artillery  is also brought  out in the course of what turns out to be a  gripping  if somewhat  conventional  anti-terror thriller. The two Arjuns in the lead , Bajwa and  Bijlani strike  suitably heroic postures.Mukul Dev  with a beard as  false as his accent has done much better in negative roles in the past.

The performances specially of  the actors playing  terrorists is  suitably  over-the-top.

To match the characters’ ambitions, I  suppose.

Oh, and  the media, represented by a Arnab Goswami –styled rabble-rouser (played by Sid Makkar) is  shown  to be  selfserving sensation-mongers  giving out confidential  information  on television that aided  the terror outfits in their  mayhem plan.

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Some would say  making a series about a traumatic  incident in history  is also a fairly selfserving exercise.