Surviving Mumbai

Told almost entirely from the perspective of the survivors of the Mumbai terrorist attack, this is the revealing story of the emotions we experience, the decisions we make and the desperate actions we take when death is staring us in the face. 

Nomination: Best Historical Documentary, News & Documentary Emmy Awards 2010

Certificate of Merit for Documentary: 2010 Hugo Television Awards

1 x 60 minutes for More4, History UK, ABC, Thirteen and WNET/PBS, Discovery Asia. A Furnace co-production with Electric Pictures. The UK title is ‘Terror Attack: Mumbai’

Confronting death at the hands of violent fanatics

At Mumbai, hundreds of people survived 60 hours of horror, ordinary workers and travelers who suddenly found themselves confronting death at the hands of violent fanatics.

Unlike the victims of most terror attacks, in Mumbai the chosen victims had a chance to do something about their plight. Told in their own words, through voicemail messages, texts and improvised user-group postings made during the attacks, this is also the story of how today’s consumer technology became a crucial ‘life or death’ factor in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Using impressionistic POV camerawork and an ambitious audio mix, the film places viewers inside the experience as it was lived by our key survivors, delivering a visceral, present-tense film style. Every person caught up in the horror of those 60 hours in Mumbai has a story – and from among them, we have chosen the most remarkable and revealing accounts of what drives the choices we make – the actions we take – when death is staring us in the face.

Sales & licensing

Surviving Mumbai is available for international sales via ABC Commercial, Level 8, Ultimo B,
700 Harris Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia

tel: +61 2 8333 1500
fax: +61 2 8333 1051


  • This documentary relies exclusively on the personal recollections of a handful of survivors who were given a glimpse of Hell and whose survival borders on the miraculous. Their descriptions of fear, helplessness, horror, confusion and love have a harrowing intensity.

    The Times
  • Recreates the chilling sense of fear and uncertainty during the prolonged terrorist attacks that left 170 people dead and brings the cold bloodedness of these attacks home with a shocking force.

    Daily Mail
  • As the graphics and file footage unfold, and the people tell their stories, remind yourself, this is not an action film, these are not actors. The fear they describe is real. The matter-of-fact style of the interviews and the dignity of the subjects capture the tension of the attacks.

    Melbourne Age
  • The film concentrated on the surreal, nightmarish ordeal of the ordinary people caught up in the attack. This put us squarely in their shoes, forcing us to imagine – uneasily, explicitly – how we would cope in such a harrowing situation. Without wishing to tumble into a trough of cliché, these survivors displayed a quiet triumph of the human spirit, to which this necessarily disturbing programme paid powerful tribute.

    The Scotsman
  • I’ve been proud of a lot of the films I’ve worked on, but Mumbai is definitely right up at the top of my list. This is a film than can truly have an impact on our audience.  It was an honor to be a part of it.

    Jared Lipworth, Editor, Secrets of the Dead