We all know the anxiety we faced during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Each of us was glued to out TV screens trying to make sense of the terrifying 60 hours. Web show State of Siege: 26/11 reimagines and recreates these attacks in November 2008 but there is a lot more emotion to it than you think.
And when Richard Henkels, was asked how he approached the show visually, the veteran cinematographer speaks about his experience and what spawned his style for the show.
“It’s a really great experience to be a part of it and I know how much this series, or the whole situation and the subject means to the Indian community. I was in New York during 9/11 and that whole situation really is very close and dear to my heart. I lost two really good friends in the 9/11 incident. But time heals and we all gathered together as a country and as a world and I think that this was kind of the next closest thing next to 9/11 especially for Asia and definitely for India. So, you know, the director and I were really sensitive to that and we were really careful about not wanting to over glorify the situation. That’s why we didn’t want to make it a big Hollywood movie, or a big Indian feature in the sense of over glorifying the explosions and the guns in the military sense. That’s what spawn our whole style, through the whole show. I mean, we have all seen a lot of big action movies and we most certainly didn’t want to go down that route, because it’s a lot of people, it’s affected everyone“, he says.
Created by Abhimanyu Singh and directed by Matthew Leutwyler, the eight-part web series on Zee5 systematically sets up the key players in this life-changing and horrific event: the terrorists at the attack sites, the handlers in Lahore, the victims, the police on the ground and in the control rooms, the National Security Guard commandos prepping and strategizing for the final encounter, and the media that breathlessly chased breaking news.
On the topic and how he tackled the tricky parts, he added, “It’s unfortunate. I mean it’s like you have these world wars, they brainwash and train these young minds, they are just sponges at the time and they really just don’t know any better. We really hope that that came across. We had to streamline a lot of the set-up of Kasab. We had a lot more that was woven in there that was going to explain that the groundwork of Kasab really was just coming from an abusive dysfunctional family and he didn’t feel like he had a place. He was just a teenager going through teenage emotions and his father just didn’t know how to handle it and was just abusive. I mean we had that in the series but there is a lot that we cut out to shorthand the time”
As Mumbai struggles to contain its count of Covid-19 cases, the show took us back to a day more than 11 years ago when the country’s financial capital was besieged by a terror attack and how it emerged victorious after 60 nerve-wracking hours, thanks to the heroics of our National Security Guard (NSG).