The Seige: 26/11 is a part of ZEE5’s strong line-up of shows set for a January release. The Seige has a strong cast of Arjun Bijlani, Arjan Bajwa and Mukul Dev among others. But what really sets this show apart is the involvement of Retd. Lt. Col Sundeep Sen who collaborated as an advisor on the show. He was the second in command (2IC) during the anti-terrorist operation on 26/11. His experience and inputs proved vital in making the show as close to the real deal without, in his words, ‘any melodrama’. Here’s how he summed up his first experience on sets to us.
Int: This is the first time you are bringing your story to the screen. Why did you choose this show (The Seige: 26/11)? Since there are already a lot of movies made on the subject already…
Col. Sen: I read the book Black Tornado written by Sandeep Unnithan. I read it and found the book very close to what happened. Also, this is the first time that the story is being told from the perspective of the NSG. The other stories tell the Mumbai story, but no one has specifically focused on the special forces. That’s why I chose to do this show.
Watch the trailer for Hotel Mumbai, another masterful movie about the 26/11 attacks here.
Int: You’ve been a part of the show as a consultant since the beginning. Did you tell the actors how to act like NSG commandos?
Col. Sen: The ironic part is I didn’t have to tell them, they only came up to me asking for advice. I got so much love and support right from the spotboy to the actors. They came and asked what would our state of mind in a certain situation be like. I offered advice on the technical aspects like how to hold the guns and all. The mental aspects they would ask me.
Int: What steps did you take to make sure the series is true to life?
Col. Sen: From my side, I see that the drills are correct. Whatever is shown is close to reality. There’s a firefight going on or a grenade blast, I’m there to make sure it looks authentic. There should be no melodrama, I make sure it is all professional. Because the show itself is very close to reality. It is only dramatised in a few instances, because otherwise it will be very black-and-white or plain. That’s the director’s call. I don’t get much of a say in that.
Int: What was your experience like on the set? Helping the script come together? Helping the actors get it right? How was that?
Col. Sen: Oh it was a Herculean task. I used to think that making movies and shows is easy, but I realise now how much work goes on behind the scenes. It’s almost like one of our operations, only in our operations we don’t get re-takes (laughs).
Int: They are both shooting, but one is very different from the other. (Laughs) What did you do during breaks on shoots?
Col. Sen: What breaks? You hardly get any breaks (laughs). We used to break off at 3:30 in the morning. So no real breaks on set.
Watch out for this almost true-to-life recollection of the events of 26/11 and the brave accounts of heroism from the NSG commandos, in The Seige: 26/11 soon releasing on ZEE5. Watch the song Bharat Salaam, saluting the heroes of 26/11 from the movie Hotel Mumbai.