State of Siege: 26/11 REVIEW: Arjun, Arjan, Vivek's show is an unapologetic & REAL portrayal of Mumbai attack

As we practice Janta Curfew today, Arjun Bijlani, Mukul Dev, Vivek Dahiya, Arjan Bajwa's State of Siege 26/11 is a perfect way to spend your quarantine period. Read our review for the show.

State of Siege: 26/11 REVIEW: Arjun, Arjan, Vivek's show is an unapologetic & REAL portrayal of Mumbai attack
State of Siege: 26/11 REVIEW: Arjun, Arjan, Vivek's show is an apologetically REAL portrayal of Mumbai attack

As India registers over 315 cases of coronavirus, we live in a time when living isolated is not a privilege but the need of the hour. This has left many uncomfortable and at unease. But don't forget, we are all in this together! If you are bored and looking for something good to watch, State of Siege: 26/11 starring Arjun Bijlani, Vivek Dahiya, Mukul Dev,  is perhaps the one show you would want to catch up on as you practice #JantaCurfew today. 

Every Mumbaikar will vividly remember the 26/11 dastardly terror attack in the city, which targeted 6 different spots (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, Cama Hospital, Leopold Cafe, Chabad House, Taj Hotel and Tower, and Oberoi-Trident Hotel), leaving at least 160 people dead and over 300 injured. The operation which then ensued, went on for 60 hours to eliminate 10 terrorists who had infiltrated the city, is a picture none of us will forget for years. The Zee5 series takes us back to those 3 sleepless nights, staying true and focused on its plot. 

The show opens to heartening visuals of common people doing their daily chores, travelling, planning dinners, just being themselves in the mundane life, unaware of what's to come as the terrorists enter the shores with devastation in mind. The narrative then swings 180s degree with the calm now turning into a storm as we get hit, and hard. Initially touted to be a 'gang war' it takes some time for the policemen to realize the gravity of the situation. What we absolutely loved is the show doesn't try to build heroes of our security forces. It unapologetically questions and depicts several security lapses. 

The camera moves from the Police Control room to the National Security Guard base to the Defence Ministry distributed amongst 8 episodes. It is by far the most real and raw portrayal of the 2008 Mumbai attack. The makers don't paint the main leads as heroes or badass who engage in over the top action sequences, or the Mumbai police as the saviors. As NSG commander, Arjan Bajwa is a delight to watch as he keeps the tension, the determination and the dilemma real. Arjun Bijlani plays his role of Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan to perfection. He is vulnerable, commanding at the same time, extremely brave. Mukul Dev as the LeT ring commander plays his role well. Vivek Dahiya to adds his spunk perfectly. But, what is refreshing is the narrative shifts to all spectrum without keeping one person in the center focus. 

The show is not trying to be politically correct and highlights all the possible things which went wrong with the way things were handled. From NSG discussing budgets, police not having enough manpower, outdated weapons, not being well occupied to handle intel, lack of preparedness to handle such critical situations, procedural loopholes and so on. It perfectly makes us question if we are well equipped to engage in such situations today? Are we? Well, that is a good question to start with! Not just this, one of the episodes also focused on the dark minds and conditions in which common people get brainwashed into taking up weapons in the name of 'jihad'.

Not just that, the media's role in the entire operation was also highlighted. The overexposure to sensitive issues and giving away important details for TRPs was something everyone of us needed to introspect. The conflict in the media room was real and the tension was palpable. 

The makers have done their research pretty well and have tried to shoot at real locations and in natural light giving us a realtime account. The screenplay doesn't seem fictionised, adding to its credibility. Keeping the use of Nokia phones and Blackberry, they have kept it as real as possible but of course, it has its own flaws. The entire episode on Ajmal Kasab (the only captive terrorist, who was later hanged till death in 2012) could have been shortened.  The pace in the middle seemed a bit slow but the terror and anguish it makes you feel are REAL. Every character, including the supporting cast, dominates the frame.

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