When I first heard about Amazon Prime Video's series, Mumbai Diaries 26/11, I, like many others did have my own set of apprehensions about it. My first thought was what new would the makers bring in to a topic on which content already exists. However, the trailer and the perspective that Nikkhil Advani and company decided to pick, was enough to grab eyeballs. As they present a fictionalized tale of what went through in the government hospitals in Mumbai on that unfortunate day. This show focuses on frontline workers, but also takes into account various subplots, and the layered narration makes for smart storytelling.
There's not a lot that we don't know from that day, but if we look from a fresher perspective, there is so much more. Hence, we will dive right into the performances, what we think works for the show, and what could have been done better.
Mohit Raina as Dr. Oberoi is an absolute show-stealer. While he is truly an acting genius, he turns out to be an equally genius doctor in this story. There are scenes that require a certain sense of drama and were rather easy to seem over the top. However, trust Raina to perform them as smoothly as one can. He is intense but he makes sure to not overdo it. Another shining star is Konkona Sen Sharma, who might not be the central character of the series, but her strong screen presence allows her to own every scene that she is in.
Mrunmayee Deshpande, Natasha Bharadwaj, and Satyajeet Dubey, have managed to put together a well-written and well-done performance, each with significant bits in the narration. Mrunmayee, undoubtedly, is everyone's favourite, and the fact that her character is written so well only enables her to do better. Another character that stands out is that of Shrey Dhanwanthary, who takes the role of a journalist once again. However, this time, it is different for various reasons, primarily because of how it provides us with a different take on the turn of events, and yes, the makers talk about the wrongs that the media did during the attacks.
Meanwhile, the supporting cast holds the show just as well, and they manage to put together a great story. Though limited in presence, actors who play the terrorists could have done better.
One of the strongest and most pivotal plus about Mumbai Diaries 26/11 is the fact that it is written very well, and has been executed with just as much beauty. Right from the character arcs to the narration, to take into account some topics that could have otherwise, gone unnoticed, the series does it all. They talk about the class divide, gender inequality, and a few more aspects not just in brief, but in a way that creates a difference to the story.
The production, direction, and music, all fall right into place, and those are things that need to be in place for that is not the loophole you want to find out in a story like this. Given the fact that most of the things fall into place, and the show boasts of great performances, everything is indeed perfect on paper. They strike a chord with the viewer because emotions are at the right place, with well-written dialogues and well-acted sequences.
There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the show, but the beginning and the end kind of fall flat in an attempt to stuff all the good in the middle. Though the good is done extremely well, but there are bits that falter, and kind of make you want to not watch it anymore. While you add the show with a feeling of satisfaction about what you watched, you do feel every now and then that things could have been done better. While the fine line between intense and OTT is mostly maintained, it does oscillate here and there.
Well, I did like watching it, and for someone who was in Mumbai during the events, it only does strike a chord at a different level altogether. If you can keep an open mind, then you should watch Mumbai Diaries 26/11 for its strong performances, a well-written story, and the emotions that it is most likely to stir.
Ratings: ***1/3 (3.5/5 stars)