Surviving Mumbai

Surviving Mumbai, airing on THE PASSIONATE EYE, Sunday, Nov. 29, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, reveals the life and death decisions made by people who were caught in the terrorist attacks one year ago in Mumbai, India, and the dramatic role that modern communications played. Cell phones, Blackberries and 24-hour television news provided the key to many people’s survival.  But that same technology was just as vital to the gunmen looking for them.

The attacks began on Nov. 26, 2008, when 10 young Pakistani men sailed into the financial and cultural heart of India armed with AK47s, grenades and explosives, as well as satellite phones and GPS units connecting them to their controllers in Pakistan. Within an hour, 100 people were dead in strikes across the city—at the Victoria Train Station, Cama Hospital and the legendary Leopold Café.

The gunmen moved on to the historic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Oberoi-Trident Hotel, where they opened fire, threw grenades and set fires. Hundreds of guests and hotel employees scrambled to hide. During the 60 hour-long siege, they waited in silence and in the dark, their cell phones and blackberries providing a lifeline to the outside world where friends, family and security agencies provided news, updates and support. However, in a deadly game of cat and mouse, cell phones and live news coverage also provided information to the killers who were methodically hunting them down. This gripping documentary includes readings from transcripts of phone calls between the gunmen and their commanders intercepted by Indian intelligence, and gripping CCTV footage from the hotels security cameras.

Husband and wife Seyfi and Meltam Muezzinoglu, Muslims from Turkey, were taken hostage early on and spent eight hours in the gunmen’s close company. They offer an extraordinary insight into the brutality and surprising naivety of the young gunmen. Indian woman Anjali Pollack and her American husband Michael, who hid in the Chambers at the Taj Mahal, tell how their mobile phone saved their lives and how the same phones almost gave the gunmen the information that could have killed them. Surviving Mumbai is an Eclectic Pictures Production, written and directed by Victoria Midwinter Pitt. 

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