Mumbai, November 26, 2008. What began as a typical day in a bustling, cosmopolitan city turned into a horror-filled 60 hours of orchestrated chaos when terrorists infiltrated the city and rampaged through the train station, cafes, a Jewish center and two of India’s most famous five- star hotels. As police struggled to coordinate a response and journalists clamored to cover the story from the streets, victims trapped inside the hotels began making contact with the outside world using cell phones, text messages and Twitter. Their urgent and heart-wrenching messages begged for information and painted a gruesome picture of indiscriminate killing, unfettered brutality and mass confusion. But the victims weren’t the only ones communicating with the outside world. The terrorist leaders in Pakistan were watching the coverage of the attacks on the news and relaying crucial information about the whereabouts of the victims back to their operatives on the ground.
“This film offers an unprecedented, inside view into the attacks,” says Jared Lipworth, executive producer of Secrets of the Dead. “It not only reveals how the victims and terrorists acted during the massacre, it highlights how consumer technologies and social media gave the victims a chance to survive, while also putting them directly into the line-of-fire of the terrorists who were hunting them down.”
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Timed for broadcast on the first anniversary of the attacks, THIRTEEN’s Secrets of the Dead: Mumbai Massacre brings viewers first-hand survivor accounts, closed-circuit footage of the chaos from within the hotels and actual words spoken by both victims and terrorists. The film premieres nationally Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). Actor Liev Schreiber (Taking Woodstock and X-Men Origins: Wolverine) narrates. Secrets of the Dead is a production of THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG – one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.
Told completely from the perspective of the victims, Mumbai Massacre places viewers inside the maelstrom, where they become witnesses to the critical events and decisions that meant the difference between life and death. Incredible stories include: a Muslim architect and his wife who were forced to watch as two different groups of hostages were executed at their feet; a tourist whose husband died in her arms as they were shot trying to escape; an American cameraman whose mother in Texas texted him a map of the hotel; and a married couple who split up during the chaos to increase the likelihood that at least one of them would survive to take care of their children. The film also reveals the remarkable heroism and dedication of the hotel’s staff, documenting a restaurant manager who returned to the hotel to take care of his guests, and cooks who gave up their own lives to keep the terrorists away from their hidden visitors.
THIRTEEN’s Secrets of the Dead: Mumbai Massacre was produced by Electric Pictures and Furnace for THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG, Screen Australia, ScreenWest Inc., Channel 4 (UK), The History Channel UK and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Victoria Pitt is writer/director, Andrew Ogilvie is executive producer for Electric Pictures and Phil Craig is executive producer for Furnace. At THIRTEEN, Jared Lipworth is executive producer. William R. Grant is executive-in-charge.