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I wanted to celebrate the brave Cama doctors who had saved the day-Nikkhil Advani

Nikkhil Advani
Giving the finishing touches to his web series Mumbai Diaries 26/11, Nikkhil Advani discusses retelling the 2008 terror attacks with sensitivity
Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; May 6, 2020)

Konkona  Sensharma in a still from the seriesAmong the most promising shows on Amazon Prime's slate this year is Nikkhil Advani's Mumbai Diaries 26/11. The eight-part series, starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Mohit Raina, offers a fictionalised account of the terror attack that took place at the Cama Hospital, among other venues, on November 26, 2008. Though the show was earlier titled Bombay Hospital, Advani says it was a unanimous decision to rechristen it. "There is a hospital in south Bombay called Bombay Hospital. Our show is not only about what happened at the [Cama] hospital that night; it also deals with the overarching theme of humanity. We had to come up with a title that sums up the theme," reasons the director.

With the release of Dev Patel-starrer Hotel Mumbai last year, the recreation of stories as sensitive as the 26/11 terror attacks has been widely debated. Is it judicious to tap into those memories? "We Mumbaikars still discuss where we were on that [fateful] night. I hope we have treated the story with sensitivity. The show plays out in a hospital, and little has been said about the hospital staff in our stories of 26/11. I wanted to celebrate the brave doctors who had saved the day."

The drama, which went on floors last August, was wrapped up only days before the Coronavirus lockdown was announced across the country. Counting himself among the fortunate few whose projects remain unaffected, the director is working with his post-production team remotely to meet the deadline.

"Luckily, the show was shot in sync sound, so we don't have the problem of dubbing. Given the subject, it is likely to release around November 26. People talk about how editing from home is a challenge, but it isn't. My editor puts the edited content on Vimeo for the post-production supervisor and me to see. We are constantly on Zoom calls, telling each other what works, and what doesn't," he shares, adding that his 2013 offering, D-Day, too was edited remotely.

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