Secrets of the Dead: Mumbai Massacre

Air date: 03/20/2019

Secrets of the Dead: Mumbai Massacre airs March 20 on PBS to Coincide with the Theatrical Release of “Hotel Mumbai”

Documentary about the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks inspired the feature film

THIRTEEN’s Secrets of the Dead presents a special encore presentation of Mumbai Massacre airing Wednesday, March 20 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) to coincide with the March 22 theatrical release of “Hotel Mumbai”, distributed in the United States by Bleecker Street and ShivHans Pictures, a feature film directed by Anthony Maras who used the documentary as inspiration to tell the events of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.  The documentary will be available to stream the following day at and on PBS apps.

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 social media.  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.

Originally broadcast in 2009, Secrets of the Dead: Mumbai Massacre brings viewers first-hand survivor accounts, closed-circuit footage of the chaos from within the hotels, and the actual words spoken by both victims and terrorists. Actor Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) narrates.

Secrets of the Dead is proud to join Bleecker Street and ShivHans Pictures in sharing the stories of courage and heroism that occurred during the terrifying hours of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks,” says Stephanie Carter, executive producer of Secrets of the Dead. “The events captured in the documentary and in Hotel Mumbai highlight the important role technology and social media plays in modern society’s responses to terrorist attacks.”

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, 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. Jared Lipworth was executive producer of Secrets of the Dead in 2009 when Mumbai Massacre was originally broadcast. Stephanie Carter is currently the executive producer of the series.

Funding for Secrets of the Dead is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by public television viewers.


About WNET

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.



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DoP Jim Frater and Director Victoria Pitt film in Mumbai. Photo by Digvijay Purohit.

Taj Hotel and People, Mumbai. Photo by Digvijay Purohit.

Taj Hotel, Mumbai. Photo by Digvijay Purohit.

Alison holds fallen Doug. Photo by Luke Martin.

DoP Jim Frater films. Photo by Luke Martin.

Hostages silhouetted along corridor. Photo by Luke Martin.

Hotel Chef checks for terrorists. Photo by Luke Martin.

Hotel guests texts for news. Photo by Luke Martin

Terrorist and hostages in smokey fire escape. Photo by Luke Martin.

Terrorist and hostages silhouetted along corridor. Photo by Luke Martin.

Terrorist and hostages silhouetted along corridor. Photo by Luke Martin.

Terrorist stands with gun. Photo by Luke Martin.