Is ‘Mumbai Diaries’ Based On True Stories?

Both seasons of Nikkhil Advani’s Mumbai Diaries have garnered critical appreciation as well as love from the audience. Both seasons of the show are based on true major events that rocked the city of Mumbai in two different years and on how the people of the city came forward to help each other out in times of adversity. In a densely populated city like this, many found good samaritans, and in the case of Mumbai Dairies, it was the doctors and the staff of the Bombay General Hospital that showed the utmost resilience at the peak of the disaster.


The first season of The Mumbai Diaries is based on the attack of 26/11 carried out by terrorists who had assistance from across the border. Nikkhil Advani made sure to accurately present the story as the tension around the city increased manifold once incidents kept increasing. Nikkhil Advani resurrected the real Cama Hospital and rechristened it Bombay General Hospital, where all the drama, including the climactic showdown, took place in the first season.

However, the placement of the scene in the screenplay is different from the actual incidents. The ATF Chief’s death happened inside Bombay General Hospital in the first season, while Hemant Karkare was actually killed right outside of Cama Hospital. Several high-ranking police officers were outside the hospital because terrorists had barged into the premises. Meanwhile, in season one, terrorists stormed into the Bombay General Hospital to rescue their lone captured associate.


On the actual night of November 26, there was no scenario where the remaining terrorists made it a point to liberate Ajmal Kasab from the designated hospital where their comrade was admitted. Everyone is aware of the bravery of Constable Tukaram Omble, who willingly took all the bullets just so that Ajmal Kasab could be captured alive. This scene was recreated to convey the amount of sacrifices the Mumbai Police made to make sure at least one of the gunmen is caught.

Nikkhil Advani captured the attack on the CST terminus and Leopold Café with utmost accuracy. The first season portrayed that a lot of wounded people from the attacks were sent to the Bombay General Hospital. The nucleus of the show is this hospital and the Taj Palace Hotel. The attack on the Taj Palace Hotel is based on the siege of Hotel Taj, the prestigious landmark of Mumbai and a highly revered 5-star hotel that caters to tourists from around the world.


The siege of the hotel went on for a few days as the terrorists found shelter in one of the many rooms and had unending access to the vantage points thanks to the live coverage done by the news channels. The state and central machinery had to request the media cease it to make their operation a success. The makers of Mumbai Diaries went ahead and presented the same scenario.

Hotel Taj’s staff gave their lives and made sure the guests at the hotel survived the ordeal as they were surrounded by gunmen. They became the unsung heroes who had no weapons yet still managed to save many. In the show, Nikkhil Advani did not hesitate to present this scenario in detail. The courageous staff, including the chefs of Hotel Taj Palace, willingly became the wall in front of their guests so that not one soul was mercilessly killed.


Nikkhil Advani did a good job of presenting the ordeal by adding plenty of fictional characters and allowing the viewers to witness all the events from the perspective of the people who are caught in the crossfire and trying hard to save as many people as they can. This could be about the staff of the Bombay General Hospital or the Taj Palace Hotel.

The second season of the Mumbai Diaries is based on the flood of 2005 that nearly brought the city to a standstill. The flood situation in the second season of the show takes place eight months after the attacks of 26/11. The actual flooding of the city happened three years before the terrorist attacks. One was a man-made act of war, while the other was a natural calamity.


The flood of 2005 in Mumbai was caused by a cloudburst followed by record-breaking rainfall that caused the local Mithi river to overflow. The main cause of the flood was the rampant construction that destroyed many mangroves that were a part of the river system. A mangrove is a crucial part of the ecosystem, which stops many life-threatening calamities such as floods.

Nikkhil Advani in the show did not go into the nitty-gritty of what caused the flooding in the first place. The makers brushed upon the subject through the journalist Mansi, who wants to bring attention to the story of how construction companies dump their waste into rivers, which comes back and ends up clogging the drainage system as well. Her reports on the show claim that these are one of the main reasons behind the flooding, which affected the low-lying areas and the suburbs the most. Mansi ends up presenting a full segment on this matter of concern, but at the cost of her job.


During the 2005 flooding, many people in the city came forward to help those in dire need of clothing, shelter, and food. This was the pre-internet and social media era. The city found good Samaritans in citizens who went out of their way to make sure people stuck in the waterlogged areas were rescued. Sadly, the casualty number was very high, as per the official records. Mumbai, ever since, has not faced a flooding situation as frightening as the one in 2005.

Nikkhil Advani took the core of this scenario and placed Dr. Kaushik’s heavily pregnant wife at the scene of adversity. This subplot showcased the power of the citizens who went out of their way to make sure Ananya and her unborn child remained safe and away from the contaminated flood water. Ananya was given shelter inside a chawl by a group of women who made sure she was given enough support for her to feel comfortable. This was the spirit of Mumbai, and Nikkhil Advani made sure this feeling came out in the most crucial part of the show.


The entire staff at the Bombay General Hospital emulated what was happening out in the city. All the lead characters saved many patients by helping them face their demons and move past it. Nikkhil Advani and the writers only wanted to focus on the events unfolding inside the hospital, with the floods only acting as a catalyst. Just like the entire city was almost knee-deep in water, the hospital was flooded as well, and they ended up losing plenty of medicinal and other crucial supplies as well. Mumbai Diaries, both seasons, did a good job of recreating the storyline around two major real-life incidents.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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