OTT platform Amazon Prime Videos has done it again after the reality-defying web series Tandav. Mumbai Diaries 26/11 falsifies what happened in 2008 when 10 Pakistani terrorists landed in the financial capital of India, held its people hostage, killed at will and took full advantage of a clueless UPA government led by the INC. In fact, two web series have been made on the 26/11 incident on the OTT platform, attracting eyeballs. Following is a review by Laxman Chaurasia of Newstrack:
The first is State of Siege: 26/11 which was released on Zee 5 in March 2020 while the second is the recently released Mumbai Diaries 26/11 released on Amazon Prime. Mumbai Diaries 26/11 narrates the happenings from the perspective of doctors, nurses, ward boys, security guards, policemen, journalists who acted patiently and courageously on the day of the terror attack. The web series stars Mohit Raina and Konkona Sen Sharma who have performed well. Nikhil Advani and Nikhil Gonsalves are its directors. However, Mumbai Diaries 26/11 gives more importance to a pluralistic message than terrorism.
Muslims have been glorified with a portrayal of a soft-hearted doctor, Ahaan Mirza. The makebelieve character is the epitome of virtue. He offers a spiel on why Islam is a religion of peace.
The Maharashtrian male nurse, Samarth, is intolerant. Then you have the ramblings of Mansi Hirani, played by Shreya Dhanwanthary, in the last episode on why the 26/11 attacks were “not jihad”.
The script is a well-crafted scheme of portraying the nauseous terror attacks that shook the foundations of India’s democracy as a one-off incident that should not be seen through the prism of religion. The age-old ‘terror has no religion’ claim that has been pushed for years.
Mirza, played by Satyajeet Dubey, a soft-hearted Muslim junior resident doctor, is tolerant, kind and merciful. On his very first day at work, he faces the mighty challenge of saving the life of a nurse who is injured badly at the CST shootout.
Mirza is so emotional and nice that he even enters the morgue and offers prayers for the deliverance of the nurse’s soul.
Contrast that with the Maharashtrian male nurse, Samarth, who is suspicious of Mirza’s actions. Samarth is unkind, intolerant, and overtly communal. He even roughs up the poor Muslim doctor on a couple of occasions.
The ‘bad Hindu, good Muslim’ narrative is pushed so hard that only a dumb viewer will miss it. The character assassination of the Hindu does not stop there. He is shown to be uttering some expletives against the jihadis who went on a rampage at the government hospital in Mumbai, in this case, the Bombay General Hospital.
Beeji, the grand old lady admitted to the hospital under the social care scheme, persuades Samarth to believe Islam is not bad. It is a “religion of peace” and “tolerance”, she says.
The pontificating Beeji goes on to reminisce her experience of the 1984 riots in Delhi where she and her family had to bear the brunt of “Hindu mob violence”! The guilt of Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress is altogether missing here.
Samarth’s ‘communal’ soul is finally quietened and he makes peace with Mirza and realises that Islam is indeed a religion of peace.
Terror has no religion when terrorists are Muslim
Mansi Hirani, the brave journalist who goes an extra mile or two to get at the heart of the story, is seen indulging in a soliloquy in the last episode of the series:
Jihad toh insaan ke antarman ki ladayi hoti hai na jo woh apni khamiyon se ladta hai. Humari aankhon ke samne jo hua woh jihad nahi ho sakta
The journalist gives her final verdict in what can be called the most whitewashed, woke version of “jihad” which has very clearly been defined in the Quran as an armed struggle against the infidels.
The demarcation between Jihad-e-Akbar (greater jihad against the impurities of the self) and Jihad-e-Asghar (exertion of power through violence) holds no meaning in the context of an all-out war that has repeatedly been perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists not only in India but also globally.
The inane attempt to downplay the injunctions of Islam which not only promote violence and bloodshed but also direct every true Muslim to fight against the infidels and subdue them comes across as a deliberate endeavour.
Mumbai Diaries 26/11 could have been a tolerable series but for the lies and abject rejection of reality which has made it a laughable attempt at showcasing the 26/11 attacks. The brilliant performances and stories of unity and resilience could have made for an enjoyable treat but for the exasperatingly awful attempt at whitewashing Islamic jihad and the forced, hollow trope of ‘terror has no religion’.
When the perpetrators of the attacks had no qualms in admitting that they were indulging in jihad, what can possibly justify the “this was not jihad” dialogue. The terrorists had a clear agenda, ‘jihad’ against India. What happened on 26/11 was jihad and it was engineered and executed by jihadis from Pakistan. The makers of Mumbai Diaries could’ve done a better job by showing the attacks exactly as what they were, instead of trying to be apologists for Islamic terrorism and shoving the same old sad secularism story down everyone’s throat.