26/11 attacks become lucrative commercial venture

26/11 attacks become lucrative commercial venture

New Delhi: The Mumbai attacks have spawned books, films, paintings and even comics as India’s creative minds look to cash in on an event still fresh in Indian minds.

So far at least 10 books have been published related to the Mumbai attacks, in which 166 people died during a bloody three-day rampage by 10 Islamist gunmen.

One of the books, “Warzone Mumbai," by novelist Mrityunjay Bose, recalls the horror experienced by those caught up in events last year.

Another is called “Mumbai under Siege," written by Indian television journalist Nikhil Dixit and providing a minute-by-minute account of how the assault unfolded.

The 10 heavily armed militants stormed two luxury hotels, a tourist restaurant, a Jewish centre and a railway station last November.

Soon after the attack, scriptwriters, directors and producers rushed to register over 30 projects with the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association, assigning them titles like “The Taj Encounter" and “Taj Terror."

One movie “Total 10," focusing on the lone gunman captured during the attacks, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, is set to hit movie screens soon while a number are in production.

“The Mumbai attacks are still fresh in the mind of people. They’ll be attracted to anything made about them," said Sushma Shiromanee, vice-president of the association.

Artists have also staged at least two dozen exhibits with works focusing on the attacks.

Painter Subodh Kelkar, who is based in the western Indian city of Pune, recently held a show of his oil works in New Delhi, using “terror and anguish" as the theme.

“It’s very good Indians are recording the incident in unique ways," Kelkar said.

Two computer games, “Operation Mumbai" and “Mumbai Rescue," have been launched in which players aim to kill the militants and rescue the hostages.

And last month, Raj Comics released a 77-page book in which a superhero wages war against the militants.

In the comic book, a green-coloured muscular fighter called “Nagraj" or snake king, chases the militants, helps the police and finally kills the attackers.

Cartoonists who worked on the comic strip say they wove fiction and reality together for their heroic tale.

“Using the Mumbai attacks as the subject was a challenge but I am glad we did it and our readers loved it," said Sanjay Gupta, creative director of Raj Comics, which sold over 80,000 copies of the book.

Marketing experts say any product related to the attacks is hot because of the public fascination with them.

“Even a bad product on the 26/11 will find buyers," said Dinesh Kapur, a senior marketing executive at an advertising firm in New Delhi.