A thriller enthusiast – then Abhay and State of Siege: 26/11 should definitely be on your watch list | #StayHomeToZEE5

Thrill

The lockdown has led many of us to ask:

  • Which thriller should I watch?
  • Which must-watch thriller should I binge watch?
  • What are some of the suspense thrillers worth watching?
  • What are the thriller shows that are worth binge-watching in lockdown?

If you are looking for an answer to the best thriller web series, I have got two  for you:
Abhay and State of Siege: 26/11 on Zee5.

Why should you watch Abhay?

First, its produced and conceptualised by the same man who introduced India to good quality thrillers on TV – Mr BP Singh! If you are a fan of CID and Aahat, then BP Singh needs no introduction to you. However, one thing you need to know is that with Abhay, he has taken the game a notch higher.

I love thrillers and I understand that there is a lot that goes into making a thriller, right from good performances to brilliant writing to good direction, slick editing and a racy background score – everything is critical to the success. If the pace is not up to the mark or the story is badly directed, I just switch to another show. But Abhay kept me at the edge of my seat with several twists and turns.

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Its a great crime thriller much better than what we have seen in the similar genre on television, web or in a movie theatre. The dramatization is very good & the performances are superlative. Kunal Khemu does justice to his debut role as an intense and intelligent cop who is fighting his inner demons while nabbing criminals. There are 8 episodes and each one revolves around a particularly heinous crime inspired by true events. While Kunal is solving each crime there is a subtle personal storyline that is also running in the background.

In the second episode, the story – Who’s the Daddy Now:  Anshuman Jha’s performance will make you hate him every time he comes on the screen. His spine chilling performance is extremely convincing and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The best part about Anshuman’s performance in the second episode is that he plays a negative character that doesn’t remind you of any previous villains on the screen – that makes this episode a must-watch.

Namit Das plays the main villain in Kunal Khemu’s personal life. His cute face displays innocence while his round beady eyes will scare you. Namit’s performance leaves you wondering what new trick he has in store and one waits for him to appear on the screen. Brilliant performance indeed!

Each and every character in the show have done justice to their role. Sandeepa Dhar’s expressions are good & she supports Kunal well as a sidekick. However, I believe Manini Dey & Elnaaz Norouzi could have been replaced by someone else who could have done better.

Overall, the background score is really good and the editing is slick – it keeps the viewer gripped.

If you are looking for an episodic thriller with edge-of-the-seat entertainment quotient then Abhay should be on your thriller watchlist in 2020. 

Why is State of Siege: 26/11 a must-watch thriller?

What new can be told about a story that has been told several times in print articles, news shows, documentaries and even movies? Well, you will be surprised to learn that State of Siege: 26/11 is by far, the best-told story of the horrific Mumbai Terror Attack. It tells the audiences about what was going on inside the siege from the angles of the hostages, the terrorists, the police, NSG and the media.

The 8-episode series was created by Abhimanyu Singh and helmed by American director Matthew Leutwyler. It is based on Sandeep Unnithan’s book Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11.

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The conversations that are taking place between various characters in the situations are amazing and heart touching as well. There is a heart-breaking scene at Taj where a rich senior citizen is tied up and drags himself to offer water to an injured bell boy. They both lose consciousness after that.

There are so many unsung heroes who have been covered in State of Seige: 26/11. It’s astounding to learn that there were so many of them who continued to selflessly work in order to get the situation under control. e.g. the nurse who took care of the lady in labour at Cama Hospital even as the terrorists were walking through the corridors, the watchman at Cama Hospital who used his quick thinking and locked the gates & switched off the lights, the assistant at Taj who took the police inside minutes after the coffeeshop firing incident, the policemen who worked hard at Chabad house to keep the public safe. There are so many more, you need to see the web series to know more.

The web series also shows what goes into the making of a terrorist. What kind of training do 8 men receive that in teams of mere 2 & 4, they are able to fight the Mumbai police, the Marine Commandos and the NSG team? There has been a brave attempt by the directors to humanize the terrorists by depicting their individual natures, quirks and challenges. There comes a point in the web series where the viewer would applaud them for their bravery and at the same time hate their guts. Only an amazing director & story-teller can bring out such a complex reaction from the audience.

The web series mainly deals with the 3 biggest sieges of the 26/11 attack – Taj, Trident & Chabad house. It shows how these three places were identified and targetted so that maximum damage could be done & mileage could be sought through sustained terrorist efforts.

It also presents a different take where instead of celebrating, one is left thinking about how ill-equipped we are to handle situations of this magnitude. It attempts to convey the importance of investing in technology & sophistication to solve or prevent such heinous crimes. A wonderful take indeed.

The performances of each and every character are beyond superlative. Right from the smaller characters to the main ones, they have done full justice to their roles. Right from their expressions, dialogue delivery & body language – everything is simply perfect. Mukul Dev, Shoib Kabeer & Arjun Bijlani’s performances stay with you for long, even after the web series is over.

The irresponsible and selfish role of the media during the Mumbai Terror Attack and the inability of the government to control the media has been effectively highlighted in this web series. At the same time, the irresponsible behaviour of onlookers and public forms an important component in the Chabad House scenes.

If you love thrillers that contain highly racy depictions of real events, then State Of Seige: 26/11 is for you. Grab a popcorn and a hot chocolate and settle in for an entertaining day during the lockdown. #StayHomeToZEE5

I have seen and enjoyed both the shows and have based my reviews on my own personal opinions. Viewer discretion is advised while choosing to watch these as they also contain graphic and violent scenes. Avoid seeing these with your children because the language is a bit out of line with several fits of abuse dotting the characters’ dialogues.

Penned by:

Mayura Amarkant 

 

 

 

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