BOTTOM LINE: A Slick And Riveting Recreation Of 26/11 Attacks
|Platform: ZEE5||Genre: Action|
What Is the Story About?
State of Siege 26/11 is a web series that focuses on the terrorist attack of Mumbai. It recounts the three days of attack from the perspective of the National Security Guard’s (NSG). How they tackled the threat and neutralized it is what we see in the series.
The series consists of multiple actors who have equally important roles, but ultimately it is told from the perspective of the NSG’s, and hence Arjan Bajwa is the lead thematically. He is brilliant and commanding in the role of Col. Kunal Sahota.
The part requires Arjan Bajwa to fit and powerful, and he does it all with grace and charm. All his confrontation scenes with higher officials and explaining the importance of NSG’s, stand out. It is a dominant role portrayed powerfully without going over the top. All along the way intensity is maintained.
Abhimanyu Singh creates State of Siege 26/11 based on the novel by Sundeep Unnithan. Mathew Leutwyler is credited as director. The story of the series is rather predictable in that we know the happenings. It is how the known details are presented is where the show creates the impact.
The first thing that stands out is making. It is slick with superb cinematography. It once again makes one question why some of the series (particularly the ones with good content) out there are made to look so cheap. The vision is mostly absent in them. Here in the State of Siege 26/11, there are clarity and intensity that is seen in the best works.
The second thing is the casting and narrating the whole event in a gripping fashion. The real incidents are etched in our minds, and we know several details through anecdotes. There are a few movies made on the terrorist attacks as well. The presentation from the NSG point of view is what separates this from the rest.
The combat and shoot out scenes are brilliantly captured. They are some of the best on Indian movie or webspace. Even though we are watching digitally, the slickness reminds us of the quality of big-screen war movie like Uri – The Surgical Strike.
The opening of the show is a bit slow, but it gets better with each episode. The small bureaucratic layers added to the proceedings make the highly lean narrative a bit meatier. Like the one where the NSG team has to wait an hour for a minister to arrive before they start or a tea boy guiding them to a location. Small touches like these make the series more than regular army versus the terrorist’s thing.
There is also a media angle mixed into the narrative. It is alright. It could have been handled better at the start. But, its purpose is served in the final account as it gives a breather at required intervals.
As said before the shootout scenes are a major highlight. The one at the end is riveting and the edge of the seat stuff. It is handled in a real and thrilling way without the cartoonish effect.
Overall, State Of Siege’s problem is its predictability concerning the story. If that is not an issue, it is a slickly made thrilling work that deserves a watch, for sure.
Various artists essay many real-life roles. The selection has been perfect from the casting departments. Each actor does his part well with intensity and responsibility. It also makes the whole narrative tighter.
Arjun Bijlani as Mani is superb. He has less screen time, but his impact can be felt. Similarly, Shoaib Kabeer as Ajmal Kasab is terrific, more so in the block where we get to see his past. Sid Makkar is the only person who seems to be out of sync with the rest. He overacts in crucial moments. Tara Alisha Berry is alright. Mukul Dev looks unrecognizable but shines nonetheless in the brief role that appears in between. The rest, which includes the Mumbai police parts and other terrorists are also neatly casted and enacted.
Music and Other Departments?
The background score is fantastic, barring one recurring bit that is supposed to rouse patriotism. It comes the first time when Mani gives a speech to his men before take-off. It is the only segment that comes across as a bit tacky. Then there is The Dark Knight inspired musical cue bringing tension and thrill whenever it plays. The cinematography by Richard Henkels is a massive asset to the series. It is wonderful. The same is the case with editing. The dialogues are crisp and to the point with very less banality for the most part.
The Media Angle In Parts
Some Corny Moments
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Review by Siddartha Toleti