Other Voices 11-26-19

(Top Row L-R) John Collee, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Anupam Kher; (Bottom Row L-R) Jason Isaacs, Nazanin Boniadi, Armie Hammer and Dev Patel speak onstage at the "Hotel Mumbai" press conference during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sept. 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The film, which had already been released in the U.S., just opened in India on Nov. 26, 2019. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — Tuesday, Nov. 26 marked 11 years of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks – one of the most sordid chapters of modern Indian history. In 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba sneaked into Mumbai and gunned down over 160 people. Over the course of their attack, nine of them were killed while one – Mohammed Ajmal Kasab – was arrested and finally executed in November 2012. Arriving in Mumbai from Karachi, Pakistan, by a fishing trawler, the 10 terrorists unleashed mass destruction at the city's hubs such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Cafe Leopold, Cama and Albless Hospital, Nariman House, and Oberoi-Trident Hotel.

While Anthony Maras' internationally-produced "Hotel Mumbai" opened this week in India – after already having been released in the U.S. – to narrate the tale of terror at Taj Mahal Palace hotel during that fateful tragedy, there has been just one film in all these years that recounts the story of Mumbai attacks – Ram Gopal Varma's "The Attacks Of 26/11.”

Terrorism and nationalism have been themes that Bollywood filmmakers explore often. While most stories of terror on the Hindi screen are works of fiction based on real tragedies, very few have tried creating drama by documenting real incidents. Bollywood's reluctance to portray reality without using actual names or situations is mostly an outcome of the industry's trepidation over controversies.

We take a look at the prominent films based on terrorism that Bollywood has churned out over the years.

‘THE ATTACKS OF 26/11’ (2013)

Ram Gopal Varma's 2013 release is the only film in Bollywood that has officially traced the incident and its aftermath. Starring Nana Patekar as Mumbai top cop Rakesh Maria – who handled investigations – the film had its moments of brilliance.

‘KURBAAN’ (2009)

In this Karan Johar-produced thriller, a Hindu professor (Kareena Kapoor) marries a Muslim colleague (Saif Ali Khan) and they relocate in the U.S. Soon, the wife discovers their Muslim neighbors are terrorists, and her husband is not who he claims.

‘NEW YORK’ (2009)

The Kabir Khan film – starring John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh – traces how the aftermath of 9/11 affects the bonds between three friends of different faiths. The film spoke of the ostracism that even innocent Muslims faced following the tragedy.

‘A WEDNESDAY’ (2008)

The 2008 release was toplined by Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher and Jimmy Sergill. Neeraj Pandey's directorial debut, said to be based on a real incident, is about a man who calls the cops to informs them he'll set off serial blasts in Mumbai unless four terrorists are set free.


Subhash Ghai's film drew its core idea from the Hollywood film, "The Devil's Own.” Starring Anil Kapoor and newcomer Anurag Sinha, the film was about a terrorist who arrives in Old Delhi with plans to blow up Red Fort.


Anurag Kashyap's film released in 2007 after years of delay owing to various hassles. The film remains the definitive portrait of the investigations following the 1993 serial Bombay bomb blasts, narrated through the tales of police, terrorists, victims, and middlemen.

‘FANAA’ (2006)

Aamir Khan played a Jihadi who lives in disguise as a tourist guide in old Delhi, but has a nefarious secret motive that could spread widespread disaster. The blockbuster also starred Kajol and was directed by Kunal Kohli.

‘DUS’ (2005)

An Indian team of anti-terror operatives must prevent a Jihadi militant from carrying out an operation of mass destruction in Canada in this Anubhav Sinha film, starring Sanjay Dutt, Zayed Khan, Shilpa Shetty and Pankaj Kapoor.

‘16 DECEMBER’ (2002)

On Dec. 16, 1971, India won the war against Pakistan, liberating Bangladesh. In the fictional set-up of Mani Shaknar's technically-glossy thriller, Pakistani Jihadis pick the date years later to attempt a nuclear explosion in Delhi.

‘DEV’ (2004)

Amitabh Bachchan played the title role of Joint Commissioner Dev Pratap Singh, and the Govind Nihalani film was a disturbing drama that talked of the Muslim identity in post-Gujarat riots scenario. The film also featured Kareena Kapoor, Fardeen Khan and Om Puri.

‘FIZA’ (2000)

Khalid Mohamed's debut directorial feature cast Karisma Kapoor as a girl who sets out to track down her brother (Hrithik Roshan) who went missing during the Bombay riots of 1993, and who might have become joined forced with a terror outfit.

‘DIL SE’ (1998)

A romantic tragedy set against the backdrop of terror, the Mani Rathnam film, starring Shah Rukh Khan, had Manisha Koirala essaying a suicide bomber. The film is more recalled for AR Rahman's music and its spectacular cinematography.

‘MAACHIS’ (1996)

Gulzar's film recounts the wave of terror in Punjab of the eighties, and traces how police brutality creates terrorists out of innocent youngsters. The film won Tabu her first National Award as Best Actress.

‘BOMBAY’ (1995)

The happy married life of a Hindu man and a Muslim woman, played by Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala, and their twin kids, is threatened by the 1993 Mumbai riots in this gripping Mani Rathnam drama.

‘ROJA’ (1992)

The Mani Rathnam film was an absorbing drama set against the backdrop of terrorism. Madhu played a just-married Tamil bride whose husband (Arvind Swamy) is kidnapped by terrorists in Kashmir. In a daring gesture, she decides to go all the away and rescue her husband.

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