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'The Sense Of Grief, Shock And Disbelief Was Palpable': Konkona Sen Sharma On 26/11 Terror Attacks

Actors Konkona Sen Sharma and Mohit Raina remember the horrific night of 26/11 and how they prepared for their role in ‘Mumbai Diaries 26/11’.

'The Sense Of Grief, Shock And Disbelief Was Palpable': Konkona Sen Sharma On 26/11 Terror Attacks
Konkona has played very strong characters in the past, but playing Chitra Das was very different from her previous roles
'The Sense Of Grief, Shock And Disbelief Was Palpable': Konkona Sen Sharma On 26/11 Terror Attacks
outlookindia.com
2021-09-06T15:21:12+05:30

'Mumbai Diaries 26/11’is a medical thriller set in the Emergency Room of a hospital. The series explores the challenges faced by the medical staff with the backdrop of the Mumbai terror attack. In this battle to save lives and heal others, the web show highlights the scene in government hospitals and how the medical staff handle the situation with limited resources. The web show is slated to release on September 9 on Amazon Prime Video. 

Playing the role of a social service director was not an easy task for Konkona Sen Sharma. Talking about her role, Konkona says, “I play somebody called Chitra Das. She is the social services director of this government hospital in Mumbai. She is not somebody who is actually a doctor, but has a medical background.”

The character of Chitra Das that Konkona plays shows that she is very vulnerable and has her own issues and baggage to deal with. 'Mumbai Diaries 26/11' clearly shows that these doctors and nurses were not expecting to deal with such a crisis and such an emergency situation. So, they are also ordinary people who are put in extraordinary circumstances.

Konkona has played very strong characters in the past, but playing Chitra Das is very different from her previous roles. She explains, “Chitra is not a very strong or get goer kind of person. She does underestimate herself. There is some growth that you see in her and ultimately as the series progresses, she becomes courageous. This is a role which is very different from my previous roles and I feel that I don’t have to play characters or women who are very strong all the time. I think it is very interesting to see women who are going through some kind of a transition or growth. This vulnerability can be a strength sometimes and this quality helps you treat others with compassion and that is a strength.”

'Mumbai Diaries' is a fictional retelling of the terror attack. Talking about her personal experience of the Mumbai terror attack, Konkona narrates, “It is very different from my own 26/11 experience. The day the terror attack happened; I was not in town. I came back and could feel what the city had gone through. The sense of grief, shock and disbelief was palpable. The silence said it all and what Mumbai went through was very heavy on everyone. But we lived with it and survived it.  But I never thought of it from the insider’s point of view like from the point of view of a frontline worker so that was something I couldn’t have ever imagined to be honest.”

The lives of the staff of government hospitals are tough and it is all the more difficult because they work in very difficult circumstances. Even when there is no 26/11 or COVID, it is tough. There is a shortage of beds every day, there are patients who are lying in the corridor, families camped outside. The scene is horrific. There are people who have sold their land and camped outside on the streets. It is very difficult for doctors and nurses to work under such circumstances when they don’t have the infrastructure.  

Mohit Raina plays the role of Dr Kaushik Oberoi who is the head of trauma surgery. He is a passionate doctor. When it comes to work, he follows what his heart says.

Mohit says, “We all went through an intense workshop. It was the first of its kind medical drama that our director, Nikkhil Advani wanted to make with the backdrop of Mumbai terror attacks. So, we went through intense workshops with doctors so that we know how to handle the instruments and how they are used. We were also taught how to use the right medical terminology.”

It was emotionally draining for the actors because it is based on one night and an event which lasted for three days. So, just holding on to that emotion and those testing times of three days through a web show, was not an easy task.

Mohit says, “The story of Mumbai attacks has been made through different perspectives. It has been seen through the eyes of cops, journalists, and the people in the hospitality industry. But the Mumbai terror attack has never been seen from a doctor’s perspective or from the medical fraternity’s perspective before.”  

All of us are connected to this incident in a different way, but the silence that was there in the city after three days was scary. The spirit of Mumbai was in complete pause mode. Mohit concludes by saying, “I am from Kashmir and I have seen what terrorist attacks can be like. But to see the financial capital of the country in shatters for three continuous days, it was heart-breaking!” 

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