Medical drama Mumbai Diaries 26/11 has enough tension to set the pulse racing
If you know Mohit Raina only as the rugged Lord Shiva in the mythological show Devon ke Dev … Mahadev, you might be startled by his latest avatar as the diligent but often stressed-out Dr Kaushik in Mumbai Diaries 26/11 (streaming on Amazon Prime Video). As the bandana-wearing chief of trauma surgery in a south Bombay government hospital, Raina is among the pleasant surprises in this series.
His entry scene has him treating an emergency case as three young surgical residents—it’s their first day—watch open-mouthed. The chaos of the moment is artfully captured through the performances as well as the many long takes and the constantly moving camera (among the show’s trademarks). But what no one knows is that this will be a far from routine day. Tension levels skyrocket as the first few victims from what is initially thought to be a gangland war come in, and minutes later news channels confirm that a massive terrorist attack is underway; it is the night of 26 November 2008.
Internationally, the medical drama has been a popular TV sub-genre for decades, and the eight episodes of Mumbai Diaries follow some familiar tropes, cutting between the personal and professional lives of doctors and nurses, while offering a ground-level view of a terrifying real-life situation.
While hospital staff like Chitra (Konkona Sen Sharma) deal with their own personal demons, Kaushik’s wife Ananya (Tina Desai) tries to keep guests in the Palace Hotel safe from the terrorists, and an ambitious journalist (Shreya Dhanwanthary) causes trouble for everyone. Not every character or backstory is compelling, but on the whole this is a suspenseful, well-structured show.